Kasuza, Mutumbami power Southerns to victory in regional clash
Northerns – 160-6 in 24 overs (Chamu Chibhabha 47, Spencer Magodo 30, Shingi Masakadza 29*; Keith Jaure 1/9, Tinashe Muchawaya 1/26, Brandon Mavuta 1/27)
Southerns – 164-2 in 22.3 overs (Kevin Kasuza 80*, Richmond Mutumbami 51*, Prince Masvaure 12; Faraz Akram 1/16, Tawanda Dzikiti 1/26)
Southerns won by eight wickets
Kevin Kasuza found his best one-day form as his excellent innings of 80 not out, in partnership most of the time with Richmond Mutumbami, brought an eight-wicket victory to Southerns over Northerns in the first regional Pro50 Championship match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Saturday.
A wet outfield delayed play for so long that this match had to be reduced to 24 overs per side, making it little more than a T20 game.
Northerns won the toss and decided to bat, but got off to a bad start, which was to eventually cost them dearly.
They lost Tadiwanashe Marumani, who scored eight runs and was then caught at the wicket, all in the first over from Victor Nyauchi.
Tanu Makoni scored 14, but Tafara Mupariwa became badly bogged down, scoring only a single in 15 balls before he was out at 30 for three in the eighth over.
Chamu Chibhabha and Brian Chari improved matters, with Chari scoring 18 off 17 balls and Chibhabha, the Northerns captain, going on to make 47 off 36 balls.
His dismissal made the score 117 for five in the 20th over.
Spencer Magodo and Shingi Masakadza then took over, with Masakadza as so often being the most destructive batter on his team, scoring 29 not out off 17 balls with a six and three fours.
Magodo was run out off the last ball of the innings for 30 off 33 balls, giving Northerns a total of 160 for six wickets.
Five bowlers took one wicket each, with Keith Jaure the most economical, taking the wicket of Mupariwa for nine runs off his four overs.
Southerns quickly lost the wicket of Takudzwanashe Kaitano for three, as he slogged a catch to midwicket off Faraz Akram.
Prince Masvaure scored 12 off 22 balls before he was out after nine overs with the score 43 for two.
Kasuza, who opened with Kaitano, had sometimes struggled recently in limited-overs cricket, but this time round he was in superb form.
He formed a vital partnership with Mutumbami as the two batters mastered the bowling, pace and spin alike, and soon the only question was whether they would still be together when victory was achieved.
They were indeed, with Mutumbami scoring the winning runs with a big six over cow corner off Magodo, to bring up his fifty at the same time, scored off 42 balls (three sixes, three fours).
Kasuza was deservedly unbeaten with 80, taking only 67 balls for it, and he hit a six and eight fours.
The unbroken third-wicket partnership between the pair was worth 121 runs, and they won the match with nine balls to spare.
Akram was the most economical of the bowlers, taking one for 16 off four overs.