Mountaineers v Tuskers, Logan Cup final, Mutare, 1st day March 30, 2011

Bowlers dominate opening day of Logan Cup final

ESPNcricinfo staff

Stumps Mountaineers 56 for 4 (Masakadza 18*, Maruma 0*, Meth 4-14) v Matabeleland Tuskers 195 (Mabuza 54, Mupariwa 34, Mushangwe 3-44, Chatara 3-58)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The bowlers dominated the opening day of the Logan Cup final between Mountaineers and Matabeleland Tuskers at Mutare Sports Club, with 14 wickets falling for 251 runs in the course of the day. Mark Mabuza's 54, and some stubborn lower-order resistance, took Tuskers to 195 after they had been reduced to 118 for 7. Mountaineers had the ascendancy after the first innings, but in less than a session swing bowler Keegan Meth brought his team strongly back into the game with four quick wickets to reduce Mountaineers to 56 for 4 at stumps.

Mountaineers had their full team fit and available, but Matabeleland Tuskers were badly depleted, especially in their top-order batting. Their regular captain Gavin Ewing has a dislocated shoulder, so Keith Dabengwa took over the reins. Terry Duffin and Sean Williams are yet to recover from injuries they picked up during the World Cup, while the English professionals Paul Horton and Adam Wheater, who had both done outstanding jobs for the franchise this season, have gone back to England for the start of the county season. Williams has only played three matches for the team, but the others are the four leading run-scorers for Matabeleland Tuskers in 2010-11 - a very serious blow.

After Tuskers won the toss and decided to bat on a hot, sunny day, the makeshift opening pair of Mark Mabuza and Brad Staddon began in defensive fashion, digging in deep, although both had lucky escapes when mistimed pulls dropped clear of the fielders. They seemed to have weathered the new ball and were starting to look actively for runs when, after almost an hour, Staddon's forward defence was beaten by a ball from Shingi Masakadza that took the edge and was taken by the keeper. Charles Coventry took a single from his first ball and from his next, the first bowled in the match by Natsai Mushangwe, he went for an extravagant drive and was caught at the wicket, a soft dismissal.

Wickets fell regularly thereafter, and 71 for 4 at lunch became 103 for 6 when Mabuza was finally out for 54, scored off 130 balls. He had played the anchor role very capably, but found no partner able to assist him for long. The seventh wicket went down at 118 and a total of 150 looked unlikely when Chris Mpofu came in at No. 9, but it proved to be the start of a fightback that was as good as anything that could be imagined considering the personnel involved. Mpofu played a good defensive role while Tawanda Mupariwa took any scoring opportunities on offer, choosing the right ball to hit and making 34 off 66 balls before being out just before tea.

After the interval Njabulo Ncube swung merrily to reach 29 off only 17 balls, his best score in first-class cricket, and finally holed out on the long-on boundary playing the stroke that was intended to take his team past 200. Despite the low score, the pitch had given the bowlers little or no help: their success came partly due to their own determination and persistence, and partly due to the largely unnecessary disintegration of the depleted Tuskers batsmen.

Mountaineers were also to make surprisingly heavy weather of their batting, as Tuskers bowlers fought back with great determination. Tino Mawoyo did not look comfortable and was struck on the helmet by a ball from Mpofu. Soon after, he edged a ball from Meth to second slip. Meth, in the opinion of the Tuskers coach Dave Houghton, has been the best bowler in the country this season (an opinion backed up by statistics), the only one who can swing the ball consistently either way, and he it was who brought Tuskers back into the game.

Bernard Mlambo did a good job in scoring 22 runs until he was beaten playing forward to Meth and trapped lbw. Next ball, Jon Beukes unwisely padded up to a ball swinging in and was also adjudged lbw. Mountaineers were battling on 38 for 3, and not long afterwards Meth also removed Donald Tiripano before the close for 7, taking 4 for 14 in his nine-over spell. He did not remove Hamilton Masakadza who is still there on 18, however, and much will depend on how he continues on the second day.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on March 31, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    Guys, the point about bowlers is that they hunt best in pairs - think of Steyn and Morkel for SA, or even our very own Price and Utseya. For our fast bowlers it should not be a case of replacing one bowler with another. Meth's ODI stats are skewed because he made an early debut when he was far too young and I think he is only more recently coming into his own as a decent swing bowler. I wish he could go play some county to hone those skills. But the point is that Mpofu did quite well in the WC and took wickets. His pace and accuracy should be further developed and Meth, Chatara and co should also be developed. We need right and left arm seam bowlers, swing and pace, to have a real chance especially in test cricket. Variety is the name of the game. So don't be quick to rubbish on guy and focus only on the other. Develop the whole group and we will see the rewards. I also think Shini needs to be developed as he is a genuine prospect if he can get accurate.

  • Bryton on March 31, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    ...and oh Mavusani...Meth from his 7 ODIs todate has 1...yes ONE wicket at 178! But hey if thats where you think Zim future be it.

  • Bryton on March 31, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    Mavusani I dont think we need knee jerk reactions. Accepted many didnt cover themselves in glory, but Mpofu was only second to Price, 7 wickets at 22.7, as much as you are critical of Alister, I think you must take a similar dose of the medicine you prescribe, patience and logic in approach. Alister and co. dumped Hami on the eve of the WC, you want to dump a bowler who is beginning to show promise, that is not logical, moresore that the players you suggest are untried (Meth). Take great care not to reverse gains as Alister and co, hopefully learned with the openning experiment. I'd say Ervine, Taibu, Taylor should be the core of future batting, the openning partner for Taylor needs to be sorted, (be it Raza, Ballance or prefebly Hami), then Elton needs to be relieved of captaincy, and fight it out with Butterworth and Coventry for no. 6. Williams is very promising. Bowling was hardly our weak point (not perfect) but not terrible. If you personally have issues with Chris...then...

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    meth is goin to replace mpofu in the odi squard eventualy.and come test cricket,half of the guys who went to the world cup and made a mockery of zim cricket wont be in that squard.that is of cause campbell is replaced as chief of sure if they gave the coach more room in team selection,we'd have a better team.

  • No featured comments at the moment.