Eagles canter to victory over Mountaineers in Logan Cup opener

Mountaineers – 171 and 147 all out in 65 overs (Tony Munyonga 41, Donald Tiripano 40, Joylord Gumbie 39; Faraz Akram 4/30, Brad Evans 4/38, Wessly Madhevere 1/35). Eagles – 172 and 148-4 in 40.3 overs (Wessly Madhevere 44*, Kudzai Maunze 44, Rodney Mupfudza 25; Wellington Masakadza 3/42, Dion Myers 1/12). Eagles won by six wickets

Batting looked quite easy for almost the first time in this Logan Cup match as identical innings of 44 by Wessly Madhevere (not out) and Kudzai Maunze took Eagles to a comfortable six-wicket victory over Mountaineers at Harare Sports Club this Friday.

Mountaineers began the third day of this match on 22 for one wicket in their second innings, with Joylord Gumbie on 17 and Dion Myers four.

The talented Myers is perhaps at the moment struggling to adjust to first-class cricket, as he groped uncharacteristically at several deliveries before edging one that almost carried to slip, and then edged the next that was well caught low down by the wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva off Brad Evans; not a run had been added yet.

After almost 10 minutes the first runs came, as Gumbie sliced a ball through backward point for four. Tanaka Chivanga was the other bowler, working up some pace but bowling too many bouncers.

Timycen Maruma did not last very long, scoring eight runs before he cut a ball from Faraz Akram rather too softly and was caught low down at backward point; 43 for three. Gary Chirimuuta did not look comfortable, and he was given out lbw to Akram for two runs, making the score an uncomfortable 53 for four wickets, of which Gumbie, apparently playing the role that Kevin Kasuza took in the first innings, on 35 — the only batsman so far to reach double figures.

However, that was as far as he went, as he became rather bogged down for a couple of overs, and then fell over on the crease in attempting to play a ball from Akram, and was out lbw still for 35.

Tinashe Chimbambo was not happy to be given out caught at the wicket first ball off Akram, and at 58 for six wickets Mountaineers were in deep trouble. Tony Munyonga and Donald Tiripano now dug in, but bare survival seemed to be their plan, as scarcely a run was scored — a dangerous tactic, as it often leads to the bowlers getting completely on top.

It came as a great surprise when Tiripano suddenly pulled a short ball from Evans for four. Finally the off-breaks of Tapiwa Mufudza persuaded the batsmen to start looking actively for runs.

Finally, after more than ten overs of blocking, the runs began to come, and the team 100 came up in the 39th over. They were still together at lunch, when the score was 105 for six wickets, with Munyonga on 23 and Tiripano 22.

After lunch the partnership continued to flourish, with both batsmen playing very well, until they put on 83 together and the score was 141 for six. Then Munyonga, on 41, dared to risk a stroke in the air, trying to hit a ball from Evans straight back over his head, but skyed a catch to mid-on after a fine fighting innings.

Perhaps that broke Tiripano’s concentration, because in Evans’s next over, without addition to the score, he was bowled off stump for 40. One run later Victor Nyauchi followed, somehow lobbing a high ball towards mid-off and being very well caught by the bowler, Madhevere; suddenly Mountaineers had sunk to 142 for nine.

The last pair scrambled five runs before the innings ended for an inglorious 147, leaving Eagles that exact same number to make to win the match, after taking a one-run lead on the first innings. Among the runs were Gumbie 39, Tiripano 40 and Munyonga 41; the other eight scraped just 21 runs between them.

The great recovery by Munyonga and Tiripano put Mountaineers in a great position to set Eagles a difficult target, but it was partly wasted by such a poor finish to the innings. The pace bowlers Akram and Evans took four wickets each and bowled very well.

Five overs were bowled before the players went off for the tea interval, and Eagles scored 16 without loss in that time, Kudzai Maunze scoring two of them and Gareth Chirawu eight. The batsmen played positively after tea, as if intent of finishing the match tonight; for once no rain was threatening.

They put on three before Chirawu was caught at the wicket off Wellington Masakadza for 14 and the total now 32 for one. Maunze was batting positively now, shedding his strokelessness of the first innings, and pushing the score along well, although Rodney Mupfudza found difficulty in getting the ball away.

Maunze moved to 44 off 79 balls, and then got himself in front of a straight ball from Myers, out lbw at 82 for two. Mupfudza scored 25 before he was third out at 115, caught at the wicket by Gumbie off Masakadza. Madhevere was in with him, and he was obviously intent on finishing the match today, with the help of the extra half-hour.

Regis Chakabva went for five, caught at short leg off Masakadza, to make the score 127 for four. Tino Mutombodzi was also eager to finish the match, hitting his first two balls for powerful fours. Then Madhevere finished the match with another powerful boundary and Eagles were home.

Rhinos – 245-8 declared in 85 overs (Takudzwanashe Kaitano 86, Charles Kunje 33, Neville Madziva 32; John Nyumbu 4/45, Ernest Masuku 2/50, Steve Chimhamhiwa 1/29). Tuskers – 205-5 in 47 overs (PJ Moor 59, Craig Ervine 39, Aarsh Jha 19; Brandon Mavuta 2/38, Tafara Chingwara 2/41, Carl Mumba 1/33). Day 3 – Stumps: Tuskers trail by 40 runs

PJ Moor put his dismal time of last season behind him today with a powerfully hit innings of 59 not out for Tuskers against his old team, Rhinos, in the other Logan Cup match at Old Hararians Sports Club today.

For a pleasant change the weather stayed dry and at last the teams were able to get down to a proper game of cricket. In two days, batting first, Rhinos had been able to face only 47.5 overs and began this morning on 152 for two wickets, with Takudzwanashe Kaitano on 75 and Remembrance Nyathi yet to score.

Things did not go too well for Rhinos, as Kaitano soon went for 86, lbw to Ernest Masuku. Nyathi was out for 24 and Ryan Burl for eight, and it was left to Neville Madziva to push the score along with an innings of 32.

With only two tail-end wickets left, Rhinos declared in an effort to force a result. John Nyumbu, who also did poorly last season, began the new season well with four wickets for 45 off 23 overs, a most encouraging performance.

Tuskers made a bad start, with Brian Chari and Bright Phiri both out for eight. Craig Ervine and Aarsh Jha had to get their heads down to steady the innings, and they took the score past 100.

Ervine made 39 before he was bowled by Brandon Mavuta, and in the following over Jha was caught off Tafara Chingwara for 29, to make the score 106 for four wickets. Now Moor took charge, and he did so handsomely.

He was not prepared to let the bowlers dominate the proceedings, and attacked in fine style. He hammered 59 off only 41 balls, with six fours and two sixes, taking the score to 192 for five before he was caught and bowled by Mavuta.

His more cautious partner was Milton Shumba, who is still there with 19 not out at the close, having seen the score past 200. With him is Luke Jongwe on three, so there is still enough batting to come to take the first-innings lead if they can do it tomorrow.

The second-highest ‘scorer’ in the Tuskers innings so far is Extras, with the ridiculous figure of 40 – 22 byes have been given away, and 17 no-balls, with Madziva (7) and Chingwara (5) the worst offenders.