Faithwear one-day series, 1st round January 30, 2006

Mpofu destroys feeble Mashonaland

Cricinfo staff

Christopher Mpofu: little resistance from the makeshift Matabeleland side © AFP
As feared, Mashonaland's second-string side was blown away by defending champions Matabeleland in the opening round of the Faithwear provincial one-day tournament at Harare Sports Club, crashing to a ten-wicket defeat. Mashonaland's selectors refused to pick players from any of their leading six clubs, and against the favourites they were simply not good enough in a match which did not last 50 overs in total.

Christopher Mpofu did the early damage to reduce Mashonaland to 39 for 6, and returned at the end with two more wickets after a seventh-wicket stand of 21 had at least staved off a complete humiliation. He finished with 6 for 8 off 8.3 overs, his best return in a one-day match, as Mashonaland scraped to 87. Terry Duffin and Tinashe Hove knocked off the runs in the 19th over with no alarms.

The performance was a slap in the face for Bruce Makovah, the head of Mashonaland's selection committee and the man who was appointed to act as head of national selection earlier in the month. His hardline policy in excluding almost all the province's senior players backfired, but ominously it could be a sign of things to come on the national stage.

The other match in the first round between Midlands and new first-class province Masvingo was abandoned because of a wet outfield.