Southerns – 166-6 in 20 overs (Takudzwanashe Kaitano 61, Bright Phiri 40, Luke Jongwe 14*; Ainsley Ndlovu 2/19, Tendai Chatara 2/43, John Masara 1/16)
Northerns – 168-8 in 19.1 overs (Donald Tiripano 52*, Kevin Kasuza 19, Milton Shumba 15; Wessly Madhevere 2/27, Brighton Chipungu 2/30, Luke Jongwe 1/8)
Northerns won by two wickets
Donald Tiripano played a magnificent innings at Old Hararians Sports Club on Wednesday, scoring 52 not out off only 23 balls and snatching the most unlikely of victories for Northerns against Southerns when all had seemed irretrievably lost in the second men’s regional T20 match.
Southerns, winning the toss, had batted first, with Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Bright Phiri out of the blocks quickly, dominating the bowling and scoring at more than a run a ball.
They shared an excellent opening partnership of 89 and were not parted until the 11th over, when John Masara bowled out Phiri for 40, scored off 33 balls and including five fours.
The score passed 100 before the next wicket fell, that of Wessly Madhevere for nine, caught off Ainsley Ndlovu.
Tino Mutombodzi was caught off his first ball, and the middle order generally seemed now to be following the policy of hitting out at all costs.
Kaitano was fourth out, for 61 off 45 balls, with two sixes and seven fours.
The score then was 122 for four in the 16th over, and Richmond Mutumbami (8) and Clive Madande (11) quickly followed as they struck out boldly.
The most successful of the later batters was Luke Jongwe, who faced only seven balls but smote 14 not out, with a six and a four, to take Southerns to their eventual total of 166 for six wickets in 20 overs.
The most successful bowlers were the economical Ndlovu, who took two for 19 in his four overs, and the much more expensive Tendai Chatara, whose two wickets in four overs cost 43 runs.
Northerns had to follow a similar attacking policy if they were to win, and it did not go well for them for a long time.
Tadiwanashe Marumani was caught at the wicket off the first ball of the innings, delivered by Ernest Masuku, and wickets fell steadily after that.
No batter could make a stand, and when Ndlovu was out in the 12th over the score was 72 for six wickets, the highest scorer at that stage being Kevin Kasuza with 19.
Northerns looked doomed to certain defeat.
Then came an amazing fightback, with Tiripano at the centre of it.
Victor Nyauchi gave him good support and they added 49 together before Nyauchi was caught for 14 at 121 for seven.
Chatara played his part by scoring 12 off only seven balls before being run out at 142 for eight.
Masara, down to bat as last man, came in now with eight wickets down as Timycen Maruma had previously retired hurt for 12 – the target was now 25 off 15 balls.
In this situation he could not afford to play a defensive supporting role, so he took his chances, with success, hitting Masuku for a six and scoring 11 not out off just six balls.
Masuku’s final over cost 15 runs altogether, and for the first time a victory for Northerns looked possible.
As Tanaka Chivanga came on to bowl the 20th over, only three runs were now needed.
The triumphant Tiripano settled the matter by hitting his first delivery for four to secure a glorious victory against the odds, bringing up his own fifty at the same time.
In the first T20 played on Tuesday, Northerns beat Southerns by six wickets and the sides will now meet in the third and final match at the same venue this Thursday.