Logan Cup, Day 2 in Masvingo: Sothern Rocks 266 & 95/2; Mashonaland Eagles 147.
Masvingo Sports Club seemed to have a fair contest on its hands at the beginning of the first Castle Logan Cup match between Southern Rocks and the Mash Eagles. Some brilliant bowling from the hosts and a meagre batting performance from a highly potent Eagles outfit gave the hosts a 214-run lead with eight wickets at hand.
Southern Rocks added just four runs to their overnight score to finish their first innings at 266 all out in the morning session of day two. Mash Eagles made a lot of wise purchases for this season, importing players like Sikandar Raza and Stuart Matsikenyeri into the franchise – ironically, both from Southern Rocks . Rocks did the same and Tinashe Panyangara, one of their new signings, yet again played with the pedigree of an international bowler, claiming three wickets from Mash Eagles’ most experienced batsmen.
Simbarashe Gupo was the first to depart, for a duck after being trapped lbw by Panyangara in the third over. This was only the beginning of the Eagles’ day two demise. Gupo’s opening partner, Raza, suffered a similar fate, this time Prince Masvaure dismissing him after scoring a single. The runs trickled in slowly for the struggling Eagles when disaster struck again. Forster Mutizwa (6), who had been the hero in their six-wicket victory on Saturday, was caught behind of Masvaure’s bowling.
Mash Eagles captain, Stuart Matsikenyeri, came in at number four, only to have his partner Regis Chakabva (4) bowled out by Panyangara. This was the nature of his innings as wickets fell around him and he found no worthy top and middle-order partner during his hard-fought 44 from 62 balls. His departure left the Eagles at a very precarious 75 for the loss of eight wickets – rather a disappointing sight considering that only 25 overs had been bowled. This left the bowlers to do the batsmen’s work. Trevor Garwe and Tinotenda Mutombodzi then formed a 72-run partnership that avoided a further embarrassment for the Eagles.
Both Garwe (38) and Mutombodzi (34) are known to have a limited number of strokes, but needless to say they saw off the Rocks’ aggressive bowling attack, the same attack that had wreaked havoc in their top order. It was a surprising that the pair played with such heart after four players walked off with ducks. Accordingly, the Eagles were all out for 147, giving the hosts a first-innings lead of 119 runs. The pick of the bowlers was Tinashe Panyangara with three for 33 runs in eleven overs, while Taurai Muzarabani, Prince Masvaure and Robertson Chinyengetere took two wickets each.
Garwe struck early for the Eagles in the first over, removing Roy Kaia without scoring. Masvaure’s exit in the 15th over almost made the Rocks’ second innings a replica of the Eagles tragedy. Mark Vermeulen and Chamunorwa Chibhabha closed off the day with an unbroken 58-run partnership. Chibhabha ended day two with 57 runs from 101 balls after hitting eight boundaries. His partner played the supporting role with a slow and patient 23 from 61 deliveries. At stumps Southern Rocks were 95 for the loss of two wickets.