Matabeleland make it four straight wins
Mashonaland 280 (Gripper 71, Ferreira 45, Mwayenga 3-86) beat Manicaland (Gada 62, Rinke 61, Strang 3-47) by 14 runs
Mashonaland, shocked by their position at the bottom of the heap after three successive defeats, invited rebel players Trevor Gripper and Neil Ferreira, both of whom have been doing well playing club cricket, to strengthen their battered team; it is not yet known whether Zimbabwe Cricket approved their selection.
In the event, the pair almost certainly made the different between victory and defeat for Mashonaland, who beat Manicaland by 14 runs with just four balls to spare at Mutare Sports Club. Ferreira, opening the innings, made a solid 45, while Gripper made a sound 71 batting at four. With Barney Rogers, who was captain in the absence of Tatenda Taibu who was preparing England's visit with national squad, scoring a brisk 35 and Chamu Chibhabha making an undefeated half-century from 41 balls, Mashonaland reached a daunting total of 280 for five wickets. Blessing Mahwire had bowled very well but took none for 41; in contrast, Waddington Mwayenga was erratic but took three wickets at a cost of 86 runs in 10 overs.
In reply, Manicaland fought hard being three wickets down for 46 and then six for 140. Only Piet Rinke of the top order flourished, with 61, before Mahwire hitting a belligerent 37 from number six. But the most surprising innings came from Patrick Gada, who nearly turned the match. Gada, normally cautious, hit 62 off just 49 balls. He received good support from the rest of the lower order, but in the final over Manicaland fell just short.
Matabeleland 222 (Williams 61, Nicolson 3-32, Chinyoka 3-31) beat Midlands 164 (Dabengwa 4-20) by 58 runs
A good team performance from Matabeleland ensured that they maintained momentum in the 2004-05 Faithwear Series, as they completed their fourth successive victory, a 58-run win over Midlands at Kwekwe Sports Club.
Matabeleland began badly after deciding to bat, losing their first four wickets for 43 runs before Charles Coventry batted with for 44 to steadied the ship with determined 44. Sean Williams provided the finishing touches, hitting 61 from 63 balls to boost the total to 222. Ian Nicolson, bowling with more discipline than usual, and Innocent Chinyoka took three wickets each.
Midlands's chase began well, as Alester Maregwede, made 37 off 37 in an quick opening stand of 58. Midlands then reached 132 with only three wickets down, but they proceeded to lose their last seven wickets falling for only 32 runs, a disastrous collapse. Left-arm spinner Keith Dabengwa was its architect-in-chief with four for 20, and ensured that after a brief scare, Matabeleland triumphed again.