LOGAN CUP MATCH: MASHONALAND EAGLES v MOUNTAINEERS
Day 2 at Harare Sports Club, 27 February 2013. Close of play: Mashonaland Eagles (222 and 31/1) v Mountaineers (259)
Some fine bowling from Raymond Price, well supported by the seam bowlers, gave Mashonaland Eagles a rather better day at Harare Sports Club against Mountaineers, who had their expected large first-innings lead cut to just 37 runs.
The experienced Price, who in 18 overs took three good wickets for only 20 runs, tied down and broke through the middle order during the afternoon session, and Mountaineers never recovered.
Dan Hodgson held together the early batting, but the bowlers deserve great credit for the way they prevented Mountaineers from running away with the game. At the close, Mashonaland Eagles were six runs behind with one second-innings wicket down – almost on even terms.
Mountaineers resumed at their overnight score of 57 for one wicket, with Hodgson (28) and Kevin Kasuza (11) at the crease. Kasuza’s was the first wicket to fall – rather fortuitously – as he played back to a ball from Taurai Muzarabani that rolled back on to his stumps, perhaps off his foot. Mark Pettini, the Mountaineers’ acting captain with Tinotenda Mawoyo in the West Indies, never looked comfortable. With his score on two, he was dropped at backward point, and then caught at the wicket for six off Nathan Waller.
Hodgson, however, was playing a fine innings, scoring rather more freely than he has done for most of the season, and reached his fifty off 98 balls. He went in to lunch on 78, and with the score at 144 for three Mountaineers could consider they had done well during the morning session.
Perhaps Hodgson was unnerved at the prospect of scoring a century, as he did not look the same confident, capable player after the interval, and eventually flashed at a wide ball from Waller to be caught in the slips for 79. He faced 143 balls and hit 10 fours. Not long afterwards there was a major mix-up between Timycen Maruma and Kudzai Sauramba, who managed to find themselves both at the same end, but an even bigger mix-up by the fielders meant that they escaped being run out.
The innings was nevertheless in slow decline, with Price the main demolisher. Maruma (34) tried to be too clever, reverse-sweeping a ball straight into the hands of Sikandar Raza Butt, the slip, who anticipated the stroke very well. Sauramba played a good innings of 43, only to be stumped off Price just before tea. His partner for a while had been Alec Muparura, a left-hander who scored 14 but did enough to show that he could be a useful player for Mountaineers in the future.
Price dismissed all three of the batsmen, bowling in quite attacking fashion, not pushing it through too quickly in one-day style but using all his experience and accuracy to tie the batsmen down and frustrate them, and they could not find a way to counter him. His captain should perhaps have used him for more than just 18 overs.
The score at tea was 222 for seven, the scores level, but Mountaineers would have expected to have more than three wickets left. They did little better after tea, with fine and generally attacking batsmen like Shingirai Masakadza and Donald Tiripano having few strokes to offer against either pace or spin. There were 37 more runs scored off 19 overs before the innings faded out for 259.
Taurai Muzarabani was on the whole the best of a good Mashonaland Eagles seam attack, despite bowling too many short deliveries, and he finished with figures of