Marumani stars as Northerns level regional series

Southerns – 244-8 in 41 overs (Timycen Maruma 54, Richmond Mutumbami 48, Carl Mumba 47*; Faraz Akram 3/32, Nkosana Mpofu 3/58, Ainsley Ndlovu 1/35) 

Northerns – 245-5 in 38.2 overs (Tadiwanashe Marumani 71, Nkosana Mpofu 55, Spencer Magodo 41*; Tashinga Musekiwa 3/42, Victor Nyauchi 1/44, Keith Jaure 1/54)

Northerns won by five wickets

Tadiwanashe Marumani once again showed his one-day batting skills, playing a destructive innings of 71 off 41 balls to lead the way for Northerns as they beat Southerns by five wickets in the second match of this regional Pro50 Championship series at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Monday.

Again, a wet outfield delayed the start of play and this time the match was reduced to 41 overs a side.

Richmond Mutumbami, captaining Southerns, decided to bat on winning the toss.

In contrast to his brilliant form in the first match, Kevin Kasuza struggled this time round for 17 balls to score only two runs before he was lbw to a swinging ball from Faraz Akram.

He opened with Tafadzwa Tsiga, who scored 16 before being bowled by Tawanda Dzikiti in the 10th over at 36 for two.

Timycen Maruma, promoted to number three, was in fine form and shared a vital partnership with Mutumbami which took the score to 118 before the third wicket fell in the 27th over.

He scored 54 off 65 balls, while Mutumbami soon followed for 48 off 57, both to the left-arm spin of Nkosana Mpofu.

There was rather a slump in the middle order at this point, and after 33 overs the innings was in danger of melting away at 147 for six.

Johnathan Campbell was batting well to make 36 off 31 balls, but once again the main figure in the lower order was Carl Mumba, who smote the ball in his usual powerful style and in less than six overs, when Campbell was out, the score had shot up to 205 for seven.

Mumba finished the innings with 47 not out off only 23 balls, with four sixes and two fours, the final total being 244 for eight when the 41 overs were completed.

Akram was the most successful bowler with three for 32 off seven overs, while Mpofu also took three wickets, but they cost him 58 runs off eight overs after he had received some unwanted attention from Mumba’s bat.

In reply Northerns got off to a flying start, which is always possible when Marumani strikes form.

His partner Brian Mudzinganyama was first out for 20 after seven overs, the score at this stage being 71 for no wicket, with Marumani now on 43 off only 18 balls.

Marumani went on to reach his fifty off only 22 balls, but then seemed to lose a little steam – he was finally caught at long-off for 71 off 41 balls.

He had hit a six and 12 fours, and the score at this point was 128 for two in the 16th over, having built an excellent platform for the later batters to achieve victory.

The bowler was Tashinga Musekiwa, who proceeded to take the next two wickets to fall, those of Chamu Chibhabha for 17 and Brian Chari for three – 162 for four in the 22nd over.

Mpofu was still there batting steadily and Spencer Magodo supported him well to take the score past 200 in the 32nd over, before Mpofu was bowled by Keith Jaure for 55 after facing 73 balls and hitting two sixes and four fours.

William Mashinge joined Magodo, and these two played steady cricket without the pressure of a high required run rate, thanks to Marumani’s trail-blazing innings at the start.

Magodo finished with 41 off 46 balls, Mashinge with 15 off 26, both not out, as the two saw Northerns home in the 39th over quite comfortably.

Musekiwa with three for 42 was the most successful of the bowlers.

Both teams have now won a match, so the stage is set for the series decider on Wednesday.