Northerns – 256 and 272 all out in 70 overs (Wessly Madhevere 90, Clive Madande 82, Sikandar Raza 36; William Mashinge 5/48, Prince Masvaure 2/36, Wellington Masakadza 2/84)
Southerns – 102 and 238 all out in 64.3 overs (Tafadzwa Tsiga 95, Kudzai Maunze 94, Brian Chari 24; Victor Nyauchi 3/33, Sikandar Raza 2/5, Wessly Madhevere 2/41)
Northerns won by 188 runs
Four men – Wessly Madhevere, Clive Madande, Kudzai Maunze and Tafadzwa Tsiga – will all remember this day with mixed emotions.
Rarely can four batters, all on the same day, have batted so well and come so close to scoring a century, but been dismissed within 20 runs of that milestone – three of them in the nineties.
These were among some remarkable occurrences that took place on Monday, the third and final day of the first regional match scheduled for five days between the select teams Northerns and Southerns at Harare Sports Club.
The end result was that Northerns won the match by 188 runs.
Overnight, the Northerns second-innings score was 251 for five wickets – Madhevere had 85 and Madande 74, and their sixth-wicket partnership had already put on 128 runs.
Madande started the day by hitting the first ball bowled, from William Mashinge, easily through the covers for four.
But the bowler soon afterwards took his revenge, as Madande on 82 edged a catch to Milton Shumba at second slip, ending a fine partnership of 140.
Madande had faced 105 deliveries and hit three sixes and five fours and after his dismissal the score was 263 for six wickets.
Unfortunately, Madhevere also failed to reach his century, as Richard Ngarava produced a fine delivery to knock out his middle and off stumps with his score on 90.
He had faced 170 balls, but remarkably hit only four fours.
Mashinge then had Tendai Chisoro out lbw for three, before whipping through the weak Northerns tail.
To the credit of Southerns, in about 50 minutes this morning they took the last five Northerns wickets for only 21 runs – in fact, after the sixth wicket fell only another nine runs were scored.
Mashinge had the best bowling figures of five wickets for 48, but he did enjoy some easy victims at the end.
There were two wickets each for Wellington Masakadza and Prince Masvaure.
This left Southerns with an almost impossible target of 427 runs for victory – realistically they could now only play for pride and it was up to them to fight hard and at least last out the day.
Victor Nyauchi had other plans, though, as he opened the bowling with Tanaka Chivanga.
Masvaure and Maunze began the innings fairly comfortably with 18 runs on the board by the seventh over, Nyauchi’s fourth.
Then he struck for the first time, moving the ball in to trap Masvaure lbw for three.
His fifth over was disastrous for Southerns, as Craig Ervine, who had not scored, tried to glance his fourth ball down the leg side, and was shocked to be given out caught at the wicket.
Two balls later, Nyauchi moved the ball back in to beat the bat of Shumba, who was then adjudged to be lbw, with the score now 18 for three wickets – he had now dismissed three international batters within seven balls.
Tsiga came in next and, seeing a defensive innings in these circumstances was quite pointless, set about fighting hack with Maunze still at the other end.
Tsiga took a particular liking for the bowling of Steve Chimhamhiwa: in one over he hit him for three fours in four deliveries, and in his next for three successive fours, followed by a two and another four, the last boundary bringing him his fifty off only 43 balls.
Chimhamhiwa retired with figures of none for 41 in five overs, and Tsiga cooled down and played a more normal game against the other bowlers, while Maunze continued his steady innings.
Against expectations, the partnership continued to flourish, and by tea they had taken the score from 18 for three wickets to 141 for three – by this stage Maunze had 54 and Tsiga 75.
They took their partnership to 162 before Northerns finally claimed another wicket, as Tsiga, after looking good for a hundred, was out lbw to Madhevere for 95, with the score 180 for four wickets.
Mashinge came and went for one, but Brian Chari attacked the bowling to score 24 off 30 balls, with three sixes and a four, before Sikandar Raza was finally given a turn with the ball, and bowled him out; 223 for six.
This began another collapse, as Masakadza (3) and Ngarava (1) both fell quickly to Chisoro, so eight wickets were down for 228.
Maunze, running out of partners, knew he should accelerate to try to make sure of his century.
He hit Chisoro for two fours in succession, but was then caught off Raza for 94 – the fourth man of the day to fall just short of three figures.
With Richmond Mutumbami unable to bat due to injury, the match came to an end at this point.
Nyauchi with his early burst finished with figures of three wickets for 33, while the spinners Chisoro, Madhevere and Raza took two each.
Another bizarre statistic is that in this Southerns’ second innings, only three batters made scores of more than three, with the other eight batters scoring eight runs amongst them.