Logan Cup, Day 3 in Mutare: Matabeleland Tuskers 306 and 186; Mountaineers 294 and 40/4.
This Logan Cup match is following a similar pattern to that of the thrilling Logan Cup final last April, where Mountaineers, set 247 to win, fell just short in the face of marvellous bowling by Keegan Meth. This time, set 199 to win, they look likely to lose again, with Meth having made the early breakthrough. The fat lady has not started singing yet, but with the home side at 40 for four wickets, with their two international batsmen both gone, Matabeleland Tuskers will be hoping to wrap up the match before lunch on the final day.
The day opened with Matabeleland Tuskers beginning their second innings, having scraped a lead of 12 runs on the first innings. From the start the Mountaineers bowlers were right on target, and they never relented. It was mostly seam before lunch, and Donald Tiripano was perhaps the most impressive of the bunch. The openers did not contribute much. After 30 minutes Shingi Masakadza beat Terry Duffin’s solid defence and hit his off stump; he had made 2 out of 13 for one. Without addition his partner Paul Horton shouldered arms to a ball from Tiripano that jagged back sharply off the crack in the pitch and took out his off stump.
Gavin Ewing and Craig Ervine dug in, but if they were waiting for the moment when the bowling relaxed and they could score freely, they were to be disappointed. Ervine struggled to 14 off 55 balls before edging a catch off Silent Mujaji to the keeper just before lunch; 50 for three. After the interval Ewing, also frustrated with only 25 off 75 balls, lashed out at a ball from Shingi Masakadza outside the off stump and edged it to the keeper. Matabeleland Tuskers slid deeper towards trouble when Steve Trenchard departed for 5, also edging the same bowler to the keeper.
The backbone of the innings was now Keith Dabengwa, who as in the first innings was playing soundly and sensibly, rarely looking troubled and keeping the score moving by skilful batting. But he fell victim to a clever ploy by the Mountaineers’ captain Timycen Maruma: he deliberately left a gap in the field through backward point, luring Dabengwa into attempting to take advantage of it, only for him to step back to steer the ball into the desired area and be out bowled for 33. At 100 for six the innings was in trouble, although on this crumbling pitch Mountaineers would not be able to chase with real confidence.
Keegan Meth, if unable to contribute much with the ball in the first innings, was determined to make his innings count, and he played a sound innings, selecting his shots wisely and keeping the board ticking over. He found a useful partner in Tafadzwa Ngulube in a stand of 47, before the latter also fell victim to Maruma, trapped lbw while sweeping. This left only the three rank tailenders that prop up the Matabeleland Tuskers batting. For the second time in the match, though, Chris Mpofu responded well to the giddy heights of number nine by reaching double figures (13) before being run out; 169 for eight.
There was some controversy as the umpires reprieved Njabulo Ncube when the fielding side claimed a juggled catch off Netsai Mushangwe, and Ncube promptly hit the next ball for six; in Mushangwe’s next over he holed out on the leg side for 8. John Nyumbu was immediately yorked by Masakadza, his fourth wicket, leaving Meth stranded with a valuable 41. The total was 186, which left Mountaineers to make 199 to win, no simple task on this pitch. Masakadza finished with four for 49.
The Matabeleland Tuskers bowlers made life as hard for the home batsmen as it had bee made for them. Only 7 runs had been scored when Bernard Mlambo (4) edged a ball from Meth low to first slip. Very much now depended on the two batsmen in possession, Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza. The Matabeleland Tuskers threw everything but the kitchen sink at these two batsmen in an effort to break this vital stand, giving them a torrid time. Meth seemed right back to his best; he was extremely difficult to score from, and he did the trick for his team by ripping a ball through Mawoyo’s defences to bowl him for 5 off 27 balls. Mountaineers were 18 for two in the ninth over and looking vulnerable.
Jethro Maudzi held firm with Masakadza, and Meth took a break after an opening spell of 7-3-7-2. His replacement, Ncube, soon struck by having Maudzi (6) edging low to second slip; 34 for three. Then came the vital wicket they wanted: Mpofu forced Masakadza on to the back foot, playing the ball on to his stumps for 14, and the match looked as good as over at 34 for four. Maruma is still there, with Shingi Masakadza still to come, but somebody will need to do something startling to pull the match out of the fire for Mountaineers now.
Thursday, 29 September 2011 06:23
Former Zimbabwe batsman Dave Houghton has returned to Derbyshire as batting coach. Houghton, 54, was the county's director of cricket between 2003 and 2007 and has also held coaching roles with Worcestershire and Zimbabwe.
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.
Logan Cup, Day 2 in Mutare: Matabeleland Tuskers 306; Mountaineers 294.
The match between Mountaineers and Matabeleland Tuskers is still too close to call after two days, although Matabeleland Tuskers may claim a slight advantage in that they will not have to bat last on this pitch after gaining a slender first-innings lead of 12. Superb bowling by Chris Mpofu spearheaded the Matabeleland Tuskers’ bowling, and he finished with figures of five for 55 off 23 overs.
The second day looked likely to be a stern battle between Keegan Meth bowling for Matabeleland Tuskers and the batting of Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza. It didn’t quite work out like that, as Meth, who at the tea interval could not contain his frustration, was not quite at his best and bowled without luck until taking the final wicket. This time he had to bow to the other bowlers in his team, who made Mountaineers fight for runs all the way, even when wickets were not falling. Mawoyo scored only 13 and was the first batsman to go, clipping a low catch to midwicket off Chris Mpofu. Mpofu was the most impressive bowler of the day, slowing his pace and using his intelligence to adapt to the vagaries of the pitch, and he deserved his figures.
John Nyumbu also bowled very well, although at first Hamilton Masakadza tried to hit him out of the attack, smacking two leg-side sixes in an over. Masakadza and Bernard Mlambo survived until lunch, and when the score reached 113 with only one wicket down Mountaineers had a strong platform on which to build. Unfortunately for them the afternoon session saw them steadily lose this advantage, as the persistent Matabeleland Tuskers bowlers worked their way through the batting. Nyumbu, in successive overs, clean bowled Mlambo for 38 and Jethro Maudzi (1). He does not have an actual doosra but these were both splendidly disguised straight balls among deliveries that often turned sharply, and the batsmen totally failed to pick them.
Then Masakadza fell for 75, groping outside the off stump to a ball from Mpofu and edging to the keeper, a major blow for his team, as it always is. The next two batsmen were also bowled out, Timycen Maruma for 17 and Shingi Masakadza for 3; the bowler was Njabulo Ncube this time, who was helped by the pitch, as in both cases the ball jagged back in low and fast from outside the off stump before they could adjust to it. The pitch is certainly playing its part in this match and is likely to do so more than ever as time goes on.
The player to survive the afternoon slump was the immensely talented 18-year-old Kevin Kasuza, who played the bowling with great skill and maturity. However, he became stuck just short of his fifty, and finally played on to a ball from Mpofu for 46. At this point the score was 227 for seven. The wicketkeeper Benjy Katsande had shared a good stand with him of 55 and he continued to fight hard, but a wild swipe by Natsai Mushangwe cost him his wicket, Mpofu’s fifth of the innings. Silent Mujaji, however, gave him sterling support for the last wicket and scored 21 not out in a stand of 39. Katsande fell lbw to Meth for 45 in the final over of the day, leaving both teams with all to play for and a result very likely in this match.