LOGAN CUP MATCH: MID-WEST RHINOS v MATABELELAND TUSKERS
Day 3: 29 November 2012, at Kwekwe Sports Club
Close of play: Mid-West Rhinos (65 and 491) v Matabeleland Tuskers (216 and 91/4)
Magnificent Waller innings sets Tuskers heavy defeat
A magnificent double century by Malcolm Waller, hitherto out of form this season, brought Mid-West Rhinos right back into their Logan Cup match with holders Matabeleland Tuskers, after falling behind on their first innings by 151 runs.
At the close of the third day, Mid-West Rhinos are now favourites to win the match, although this season in particular nobody can take anything for granted in Logan Cup cricket.
Mid-West Rhinos resumed on their overnight score of 341 for four wickets, 190 runs ahead of their opponents. Waller had 132 and Simon Mugava 24. So determined were they not to throw away their wickets that it took almost 10 minutes for the first run to come. Apart from Mugava’s first runs of the day, an uppish stroke through the covers, there were no lapses of concentration by the batsmen, who were determined to grind out the runs their side needed from them.
Mugava reached his fifty off 88 balls, and just before lunch he and Waller in turn recorded their highest first-class scores, previously 52 and 174 respectively. They batted throughout the morning session, against good bowling on a pitch still giving a little to the bowlers, although Matabeleland Tuskers were handicapped in that Keegan Meth had a sore arm and Glenn Querl could not bowl during the morning session after being off the field the previous afternoon.
Querl came on after lunch, but Moeen Ali broke the stand, coming round the wicket to bowl his off-breaks and having Mugava caught at slip for an invaluable 58, scored off 128 balls. The pair had added 139 for the fifth wicket. Then, predictably, the notorious Mid-West Rhinos tail began to crumble, and the last five men contributed 30 runs between them. It was enough to get Waller to his 200, though, despite his extreme caution throughout the 190s. A quick single to mid-on brought him to the landmark with number 10 Edward Rainsford at the crease. When the innings closed, he had an unbeaten 208 to his credit, off 369 balls with 17 fours and four sixes. It was an outstanding innings, and great credit must go to his partners Brendan Taylor and Mugava. The other eight batsmen had little to offer.
The total was 491. The champions needed 341 runs to win in four sessions with rain unlikely – not impossible but a big task.
They could scarcely have made a worse start. The motto for this Logan Cup season by all franchise teams appears to be, “If in doubt, collapse.”
Richard Muzhange found his lethal inswinging yorker in his first over to shatter Brian Chari’s stumps, while Rainsford moved the ball away from Ali, who was caught at the wicket: one run for two wickets. A low full toss, no doubt another intended yorker, from Muzhange burst through Craig Ervine’s defences, shattering his off stump for one: total – four for three. And Mid-West Rhinos were ecstatic.
Sean Ervine decided that counterattack was the best option, and proceeded to hammer Muzhange for 18 in an over, racing to 25 off the first nine balls he faced. Presumably this was a temporary and successful ploy to hit the dangerous Muzhange from the attack, for he proceeded to treat the amiable medium-pace of Muzhange’s replacement Njabulo Ncube with considerable respect. He and Terrence Duffin were beginning a recovery, but Duffin’s innings was cut short at 22 by a brilliant diving catch in the covers by Waller off Nkala.
Sean Williams replaced him and left most of the scoring to Ervine, who reached his 50 off 51 balls. They remained together until the close, when the score was 91 for four, with Ervine on 55 and Williams on four.
They have a large mountain to climb, but they do have the batting to achieve it.