Southerns – 114 all out in 28.4 overs (Sikandar Raza 36, Wellington Masakadza 26, Takudzwanashe Kaitano 16; Blessing Muzarabani 5/21, Ryan Burl 2/9, Donald Tiripano 2/15)
Northerns – 113-5 in 20.4/48 overs (Ryan Burl 29*, Regis Chakabva 27, Milton Shumba 14; Richard Ngarava 2/18, Sikandar Raza 1/21, Tanaka Chivanga 1/27)
Northerns won by five wickets (Duckworth-Lewis method)
A blistering spell of pace bowling from Blessing Muzarabani for Northerns tore the Southerns batting apart in this regional one-day match at Harare Sports Club on Monday.
His five-wicket haul saw Southerns dismissed for 113, setting a target that gave Northerns little difficulty as they won by five wickets.
Regis Chakabva, as captain of Northerns, won the toss and put Southerns in to bat.
Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Innocent Kaia opened the innings for Southerns, facing the bowling of Tendai Chatara and Muzarabani.
In his second over, Chatara took the first wicket by trapping Kaia lbw for five, with the score at 10.
Craig Ervine, captaining the Southerns team, joined Kaitano and all looked well for them as they took the score to 35 in the eighth over.
At this point Muzarabani had Ervine caught at the wicket by Chakabva for 15, and so started a disastrous middle-order collapse.
He then removed Wessly Madhevere lbw second ball without scoring, and in his next over it was Kaitano’s turn, as he too edged a ball to Chakabva for 16.
Tino Mutombodzi hit his first ball for four, but off his second he was out caught by Ryan Burl; 49 for five.
Worse was to come, as Donald Tiripano, who had replaced Chatara, caught and bowled Clive Madande and then bowled Luke Jongwe second ball, both without scoring.
Southerns were now reeling desperately at 58 for seven wickets in the 13th over.
Sikandar Raza was at the other end, however, and he was now joined by Wellington Masakadza.
They fought hard to see off the pacemen and put together a fighting partnership of 52, which almost doubled the score, in 14 overs.
At 110, though, the wheels came off for the final time, as the leg-spinner Burl broke the stand by having Masakadza caught by Tiripano for 26.
In the next over Raza followed, as Muzarabani returned to have him caught for 36, scored off 56 balls.
In Burl’s next over the innings ended with the dismissal of Tanaka Chivanga, bowled for two, while Richard Ngarava was not out with one.
The innings thus ended abruptly for 114, and only 28.4 overs were needed.
Muzarabani finished with the outstanding figures for five wickets for 21 in seven overs, while there were two wickets each for Tiripano and Burl.
Between the innings, rain showers came down and two overs were lost as a result, with the target now revised to 113 in 48 overs.
After a long lunch break to allow the field to dry, Northerns began their innings, with Kevin Kasuza and Chakabva making a steady start against the opening bowling of Ngarava and Chivanga.
They were doing well with 43 on the board when Kasuza, who had been playing very quietly, was caught by Mutombodzi off Ngarava for nine.
In his next over Ngarava inflicted the same mode of dismissal on Chakabva, who had made 27.
Northerns now began to look rather shaky, as Timycen Maruma was caught at the wicket by Madande off Jongwe without scoring.
Nor did Tadiwanashe Marumani last long, as he was bowled by Chivanga for 11, which made the score 63 for four wickets in the 15th over.
Milton Shumba was now joined at the wicket by Burl, who often takes several overs to get his eye in.
He was into the action immediately this time, though, hitting Chivanga for six and four in his first over at the crease, and then doing the same to Raza.
With Shumba also looking good, the score shot past the 100 mark, but then Shumba skyed a catch to Ervine off Raza and departed for 14.
Burl finished with 29 not out, while Tony Munyonga had six as Northerns wrapped up victory by five wickets with 162 balls remaining.
The best Southerns bowler was Ngarava, who took two wickets for 18 runs off six overs.
The two select sides will meet again at the same venue in two more one-dayers scheduled for Wednesday and Friday this week.