Namibia and Matabeleland win
Namibia 220 for 7 (J-B Burger 61, Murgatroyd 52) beat Midlands 131 (van Vuuren 3-29, Keulder 3-22) by 89 runs
Namibia made a good start to their tour of Zimbabwe as the guest team in the one-day Faithwear Series, by winning their opening match against Midlands by 89 runs at the Harare Country Club, the home of the CFX Academy.
The most significant performance took place at the very start of the match: Jan-Berrie Burger where he left off on Namibia's previous visit to Zimbabwe by torturing the local seamers and some unimaginative captaincy with a blistering innings of 61. He faced only 47 balls, hit 11 fours, and shared an opening stand of 85 with Danie Keulder, who made 37. Later the spinners were able to limit the damage, and only Gavin Murgatroyd contributed much in the final total of 220 for 7.
Midlands were never in the hunt, losing their first six wickets for 50 and eventually being dismissed for 131. Keulder and Rudi van Vuuren were the main wicket-takers, but Karel Burger took the two crucial scalps of Vusi Sibanda and Alester Maregwede.
Matabeleland 275 for 9 (Vermeulen 75, Ewing 56*, Samunderu 3-42) beat Mashonaland 265 for 9 (Taibu 121*, Mpofu 6-42) by 10 runs
In an outstanding one-day match at the Harare Sports Club, Matabeleland beat the Faithwear champions Mashonaland by 10 runs, with the result in doubt until the penultimate ball. The match was dominated by two outstanding individual performances: by Chris Mpofu of Matabeleland, who took 6 for 42, and Mashonaland's captain Tatenda Taibu, who scored 121 not out and very nearly took his team to a miraculous victory.
Mashonaland, chasing 276, looked dead and buried at 25 for 5, thanks to the bowling of Mpofu, who took five wickets for five runs in his first four overs. Later they were 78 for 7, but Taibu was still there, and he almost turned the match with an incredible partnership of 134 with Kuda Samunderu (43). Then a brilliant return catch by Gavin Ewing turned the match again, and the task proved just too great for the gallant Taibu.
Matabeleland's 275 for 9 was set up by a dynamic 42 off 24 balls by Greg Strydom, and some more restrained batting by Ewing and Mark Vermeulen. Samunderu had also shown his skill as an offspinner, with 3 for 42.
This match was a wonderful opportunity for Zimbabwe cricket to promote itself. Unfortunately, thanks to almost non-existent marketing, only about ten spectators were present, and the chance was totally wasted.