Craig Evans interviewed on his Zimbabwe record partnership in the Logan Cup
Craig Evans (153) and Dirk Viljoen (173 not out) set a new record for all Zimbabwean partnerships when they added 330 together for the fourth wicket for Mashonaland against Matabeleland in the recent Logan Cup match at Bulawayo Athletic Club. Here Craig talks to John Ward about the match.
JW: Craig, how has your season gone generally?
CE: I've had quite a good season this year; I think that's my third hundred this season. I've been playing pretty well, and mentally I've been batting better than I have for a long time. I was a bit slow this game, but I felt I batted nicely early doors and I thought I bowled pretty well at the end [four wickets for 5 runs], which was quite surprising as well.
JW: But the selectors haven't summoned you at all recently.
CE: No, I think the selectors now are starting to say I'm a bit past it, but hopefully in the next year I can rectify that by scoring loads of runs.
JW: You didn't have much luck in the first two Logan Cup matches.
CE: No, I think that was first of all lack of mental preparation for the game, and also lack of practice. I hadn't really practised for a while, but I think leading up to this game I've had quite a bit of practice and it paid off.
JW: So could you talk your way through this particular game?
CE: Well, we lost the toss, which wasn't great for us; we wanted to bowl first, but we ended up batting first. We didn't bat very well all round; we threw our wickets away, me included. Then we came back and we bowled pretty well at them; I thought we bowled very well, and ended up 80 runs behind. We lost a few quick wickets in the second innings, but we knew we had to get a lead of around 180 or 200 with a day to go, and fortunately myself and Dirk Viljoen got in, and we ended up getting a lead of 260 with a full day to go.
Dirk and myself planned this morning to try and get as many runs as we can as quickly as we can so we could have more overs to bowl at them, but as the day went on we didn't need that many runs because we bowled them out quite cheaply. We bowled very well today.
JW: So what was your personal game plan when you went in to bat yesterday, with the game in the balance?
CE: My game plan was just to play as straight as possible. I knew I was going to get probably one bad ball every two overs, maybe even one bad ball every over, so my game plan was to play as straight as possible and to hit the bad ball on the ground.
JW: You had a nice early let-off which helped!
CE: Very nice. I hit it quite nicely as well; it would have been quite a good catch, I think, but I capitalised on the mistake.
JW: Did you find any of the bowlers particularly troubling at this stage?
CE: I felt the left-arm spinner Engelbrecht bowled very, very well. I was very impressed with his line and his length, and he persevered very well.
JW: The absence of John Rennie obviously made a difference.
CE: Yes, it did make a difference, but I think the way Dirk and I were batting, I think the way the pitch was playing in the second innings, I don't think that he would have made a hell of a lot of difference. He would have made a difference, but not a hell of a lot.
JW: Dirk played most impressively for his innings.
CE: Yes, he struck the ball very well and he scored much more fluently than I did yesterday.
JW: And the Matabeleland second innings?
CE: Gus Mackay led us from the front; he bowled brilliantly up front early doors, and then left it up to myself and Dirk Viljoen to knock over the tail.
JW: They seemed to be making it pretty easy for you; you seemed to be bowling well, but not quite as well as four for five!
CE: I bowled some good balls, John - some credit! But it was quite a nice game for me - I enjoyed it. Next week hopefully we'll win again and get into the final.