Mutumbami back in form with fifty but SA ‘A’ dominate day two

Zimbabwe A – 344 all out in 105.4 overs (Milton Shumba 74, Dion Myers 69, Richmond Mutumbami 51; Daryn Dupavillon 5/69, Lutho Sipamla 3/76, Senuran Muthusamy 1/50). South Africa A – 257-2 in 64 overs (Ryan Rickelton 105*, Edward Moore 93, Dominic Hendricks 21; Roy Kaia 1/24, Tanaka Chivanga 1/52). Day 2 – Stumps: South Africa A trail by 87 runs

Zimbabwe A wicketkeeper-batsman Richmond Mutumbami showed a good return to form by scoring an invaluable fifty before taking a brilliant catch behind the wicket to break South Africa A’s opening partnership on the second day of this four-day match at Harare Sports Club.

By the close of play, the tourists were on 257 for two wickets, with Ryan Rickelton having reached an unbeaten century.

Zimbabwe A resumed their innings on 253 for five wickets in the morning, with Mutumbami the one not-out batsman on nine, as Milton Shumba had been dismissed with the last ball of the first day.

Mutumbami was partnered by Roy Kaia, who had retired hurt on the first afternoon, but was now fit to resume his innings with his personal score on 23.

Mutumbami opened the score with a handsome drive through the covers off Glenton Stuurman for four in the first over, while Kaia pulled a short ball from Daryn Dupavillon for another boundary, and then dabbed the following delivery for another four backward of point.

Runs continued to flow freely, as a cut by Mutumbami off Stuurman brought another boundary – 19 runs came off the first three overs of the day. However, Kaia then fatally tried to cut a ball from Dupavillon and edged a catch to the slips, out for 32 with the score now 272 for six wickets.

Brandon Mavuta scored five before Lutho Sipamla had him caught at backward point, with the score 295 for seven, which brought in Carl Mumba, who had shown remarkable batting form during the recent domestic T20 tournament.

Mumba did not disappoint: he wisely spent a few balls playing himself in, and then looked for the boundaries, racing to 28 off 18 balls, including pulls for four and six off successive deliveries from Sipamla. However, he then holed out in the deep as he aimed for another six, making the score 342 for eight wickets.

At the other end, Mutumbami was finally showing his true batting form, and in the next over he reached a well-deserved fifty off 68 balls. He soon lost Tapiwa Mufudza, backing away to be bowled middle stump by Sipamla without scoring.

But unfortunately Mutumbami was unable to do anything with the bowling while the last man Tendai Chatara stayed in with him, and was finally yorked by Dupavillon for 51, scored off 79 balls with nine fours.

The final total was 344, and Dupavillon finished with five wickets for 78 runs, while Sipamla had three for 76. The South Africans went in just before lunch, with Chatara and Mumba opening the bowling to two left-handers, Edward Moore and Dominic Hendricks.

Only two overs, both maidens, could be bowled before the players went in for lunch. After the break it took another nine deliveries before Hendricks scored a single off Mumba and South Africa A had their first run on the board.

Then both batsmen hit a boundary, and normal service was resumed. The opening pair relied on steady defence and waiting for the loose ball to hit for four, without looking to rotate the strike much.

They put on 45 together before Tanaka Chivanga bowled down the leg side – Hendricks (21) tried to glance it to fine leg, but only got an edge, which was superbly held by Mutumbami, diving to take the catch.

This brought in a third left-hander in Rickelton and he soon showed his intentions by hitting three fours in an over from Mumba, before Moore joined in, scoring 10 runs off Mufudza’s first over.

By tea they had moved the score along to 88 for one wicket, with Moore on 37 and Rickelton 19. Rickelton hit two successive fours off Chivanga to take the total past 100 in the 28th over, and then raced past Moore to reach his fifty off 45 balls.

Moore drove Mufudza for a straight six, and went on to reach his fifty off 106 balls. Both batsmen continued to concentrate and build a big score, with Moore more aggressive now, and the 200 was passed with still only one wicket down.

The two batsmen entered the nineties almost together, but Moore was not to reach the landmark – playing forward to a ball from Kaia, he unexpectedly missed it and was bowled for 93.

He had faced 170 balls and hit 14 fours and a six, and the score was now 224 for two wickets, with the partnership having put on 179 runs. Zubair Hamza came in after his long wait and immediately kept the scoreboard ticking over, while Rickelton took care with a century looming.

After spending an over from Wessly Madhevere on 99, Rickelton finally turned the ball for a single to leg to reach his century off 119 balls.

Both batsmen then played for the close, which they reached successfully, Rickelton with 105 and Hamza 19 of the total of 257 for two wickets. None of the bowlers troubled the batsmen unduly, although Chatara bowled very accurately for 16 overs to concede only 35 runs, but without a wicket, while Kaia’s deceptive off-breaks earned him one wicket for only 24 runs off nine overs.