PRO50 MATCH: MOUNTAINEERS v MATABELELAND TUSKERS
At Mutare Sports Club, Saturday 8 December 2012
Result: Matabeleland Tuskers (211/7) beat Mountaineers (210) by 10 runs (Duckworth-Lewis).
Matabeleland Tuskers translated their good Logan Cup form into what may be a one-day revival with a close and exciting victory over Mountaineers at Mutare Sports Club.
No individual performance stood out on either side, but perhaps the most crucial contribution was made by Christopher Mpofu of Tuskers, who took four crucial wickets at vital moments for 43 runs.
Gavin Ewing, the official Matabeleland Tuskers captain, was able to play his first match of the season after injury, but Mountaineers were missing Hamilton Masakadza.
Tuskers began badly by losing the toss to Tinotenda Mawoyo – an unusual experience for the latter – and being required to bat in uncertain weather on a pitch that gave some help to the bowlers. Ewing was not happy to be given out caught at the wicket for 2. The bowler, Tendai Chatara, quickly removed Craig Ervine (0) and his brother Sean (9), although Sean should have been caught at the wicket before scoring. The score was 22 for three, the batsmen struggling against the movement off the pitch.
The Worcestershire professional, Moeen Ali – who opened the innings – survived the carnage at the other end and batted very well for 48, including nine fours, before he was bowled by Donald Tiripano for 48 off 48 balls. Sean Williams also batted well for 48, and he was sharing a valuable partnership with Keith Dabengwa when rain stopped play at 131 for four off 27 overs.
They had played on in a drizzle for some while, but these circumstances worked against Matabeleland Tuskers, as when they returned there had been enough water on the pitch to make the ball skid through, and both batsmen were out within three balls of the resumption, Shingirai Masakadza being the fortunate bowler.
From 139 for seven, Charles Coventry and Glenn Querl steadied the innings and began to attack, Querl actually scoring most of the runs, although Coventry hit a huge six over midwicket before a heavier burst of rain arrived. The innings was thus brought to an end at 211 for seven after 47 overs: Coventry on 29 and Querl 38.
The Duckworth-Lewis target when play restarted was 220 in 43 overs. Mawoyo and Mark Pettini gave Mountaineers a sound start with 45 in 10.3 overs, at which point Mawoyo was caught down the leg side for 28, having faced most of the bowling. Pettini fell soon afterwards for 19, both being victims of Mpofu. This was the point when the match was lost.
Kevin Kasuza took 18 balls to make three, while Gregory Lamb began his innings in similar fashion. Timycen Maruma briefly looked like breaking the shackles, hitting Njabulo Ncube for 14 runs in three balls, but was then given out caught at the wicket for 28. Lamb immediately followed, caught at fine leg for six off 22 balls, making the score 92 for five.
With a required run rate of over six, victory for the hosts became an unlikely scenario.
Kudzai Sauramba and Dan Hodgson fought nobly, but the required rate was over seven when Hodgson departed for 24, quickly followed by Sauramba – both to Mpofu – for a fighting 40 off 39 balls. Shingirai Masakadza and Natsai M’shangwe hit out boldly and desperately, and when 13 runs came from an over from Keegan Meth, suddenly only 23 were needed from the last four overs with two wickets left, and 11 from the last three.
Then M’shangwe was trapped leg-before-wicket for a gallant 28 off 19 balls, bringing the last man Chatara out to join Tiripano. Sadly for Mountaineers, he was run out first ball in a risky attempt to give the strike to his partner, and Matabeleland Tuskers were triumphant.