Myers, Marumani light up first one-dayer before SA ‘A’ prevail

Zimbabwe A – 319-9 in 50 overs (Dion Myers 96, Tadiwanashe Marumani 82, Chamu Chibhabha 37; Dwaine Pretorius 3/39, Lutho Sipamla 3/40, Reeza Hendricks 1/41). South Africa A – 320-4 in 42.5 overs (Theunis de Bruyn 113*, Janneman Malan 82, Reeza Hendricks 52; Tapiwa Mufudza 4/87). South Africa A won by six wickets

The first one-day match between Zimbabwe A and South Africa A saw two superb innings from the hosts’ two young batting stars, Tadiwanashe Marumani and Dion Myers, but their efforts were not enough to prevent the visitors from cruising to a six-wicket victory at Harare Sports Club this Saturday.

On a mild sunny morning, the tourists won the toss and put the home side in to bat. Chamu Chibhabha and Marumani opened the batting against the bowling of Glenton Stuurman and Lutho Sipamla.

They made an impressive start, and in the sixth over Chibhabha played an uppercut off Sipamla for six and a drive through extra cover for four. The team fifty came up in the eighth over, as Chibhabha cut Sipamla for four, taking his own score to 26 while Marumani, with less of the bowling, had 22.

The stand reached 72 in the 13th over before Dwaine Pretorius moved a ball in to Chibhabha and bowled him between bat and pad for a very good innings of 37.

The same type of ball also accounted for Tarisai Musakanda, who scored just two before Pretorius trapped him lbw at 84 for two. Myers came in next, and Marumani brought up his fifty, off 46 balls, and the team hundred in the 18th over with a six off Sisanda Magala.

The South Africans finally tried some spin for the 21st over, as the left-armer Senuran Muthusamy came on, much to the enjoyment of Marumani, who drove him for two sixes in the over.

A good partnership developed, but when Marumani had 82 he swept across the line and was bowled by the off-spinner Reeza Hendricks. His dynamic 82 had come off 73 balls and included nine fours and three sixes – the score was 164 for three in the 30th over.

Myers reached a steady, composed fifty off 66 balls, in company now with Roy Kaia, who batted in the same sound manner. They brought up the 200 in the 36th over with only four wickets down.

The batsmen kept the score ticking over with ones and twos, and then Myers began to hit out, blasting Andile Phehlukwayo for six, and then scoring two effortless leg-side sixes off Stuurman.

After 40 overs the score was 258 for three, and the stage seemed set for a final assault. Myers reached 96, but was then sadly run out, trying to run a quick single to mid-on, who threw the stumps down while he was a couple of metres short of the crease.

His runs came off only 91 balls, and he hit five fours and four sixes, an innings that confirmed his tremendous promise as a possible international star of the future.

He and Marumani are both still only 19 years of age, and their talent and maturity raise great hopes for their future in Zimbabwe cricket. Kaia went off the very next ball, spoiling a good innings of 28 with a cross-bat slog against Pretorius.

The score was now 271 for five and the good final assault that had been anticipated now looked doubtful, as Milton Shumba and Richmond Mutumbami had to start from scratch with fewer than eight overs to go.

Mutumbami quickly skyed a catch to mid-off for three, off Muthusamy, and then Luke Jongwe, after scoring nine with Shumba and taking the score past 300, popped up a catch behind the bowler Sipamla.

Shumba scored 30 before, in the final over, he swatted at a short ball from Sipamla and edged it to the keeper. Tendai Chatara came in to face the last ball and was bowled, leaving Zimbabwe A on 319 for nine wickets.

It was a good score that they would probably have settled for at the start of play, but rather less than had looked likely when Myers and Kaia had been batting so well.

This weak ending was to prove crucial. The most successful South African bowlers were Pretorius with three wickets for 39 runs and Sipamla with three for 40. Zimbabwe A opened their bowling with Chatara and Tapiwa Mufudza, while Janneman Malan and Ryan Rickelton began the South African batting.

Malan made a confident start, hitting a four in each of the first three overs, and in the fourth Rickleton (4) tried to turn a straight ball from Mufudza to leg and was out lbw; 19 for one.

Hendricks came in next and settled in, while Malan, in superb form, reached his fifty off 54 balls and then really began to climb into the bowling with some brilliant and powerful strokes, with the bowlers unable to contain them.

Mufudza, however, made the breakthrough when Malan rashly tried to scoop a straight ball to leg and was clean-bowled for 82 – he faced 76 balls with 11 fours and two sixes, and the score was 134 for two in the 23rd over.

Zubayr Hamza was the next man in, and he slashed his first ball backward of point for four. Mufudza struck again when at 147 he removed Hendricks to a catch at the wicket for 52; 147 for three in the 25th over, and Theunis de Bruyn came in.

This pair now settled in and then began to attack, with de Bruyn hitting Myers for two successive sixes – he went to his fifty off only 37 balls. When the score reached 271 in the 40th over it was obvious that the Zimbabweans’ only hope of victory now was some quick wickets, and they did get one when Hamza, on 49, swung across the line and was lbw to a straight ball from Mufudza, who struck again.

Muthusamy came in, only for Mufudza to bowl him a long hop first ball, which he pulled for four. In his final over Mufudza lost his length, enabling de Bruyn to pull two long hops for six. He finished his spell by taking all four South African wickets to fall, but at an exorbitant cost of 87 runs.

It was all cruising now for South Africa A and they completed their victory in the 43rd over, with de Bruyn not out with 113 and Muthusamy 12. Tanaka Chivanga was the most economical of the Zimbabwean bowlers, bowling seven overs for 35 runs, but without taking a wicket.