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Steven Price in Harare
May 6, 2008
The great chasm in ability and experience continued to show in this year's Logan Cup with Gary Brent's all-round exploits spearheading Northerns to an innings and 92-run rout of Southerns inside two days in Harare. Southerns were bowled out for 141 on the first day but fought back well to reduce Northerns to 87 for 5 at the close. But Brent (51) and Ray Price (89) rescued the innings with a 133-run partnership for the ninth wicket to boost Northerns to 275. In a little over an hour after tea Southerns were blown away for 42, Brent, who finished with 5 for 21, starting the collapse by removing the top four.
Southerns, formerly known as Masvingo, were only awarded first-class status two years ago. They have not done too badly in the shorter-version, but have been clearly out of depth in four-day cricket. That, with ever-depreciating standards in the game in Zimbabwe, suggests that the prospects remain bleak for the country's Test future as most players are still a long way to master this form of the game. The lack of experienced players in matches like this is also a concern.
At Mutare, defending champions Easterns kept in touch with Northerns with a convincing 385-run win over Centrals. Easterns' batting was the difference between the sides, with Hamilton Masakadza's 205 ball hundred, and a breezy 67 in the second innings, leading the charge - but it was fireworks from Forster Mutizwa which lit up the game. The 22-year-old Mutizwa clubbed 102 from 92 balls with 13 fours and four sixes as Easterns set an almost impossible target of 492 in three-and-a-half sessions. Centrals mustered 169 and 107, with Prosper Utseya (5 for 28) doing the damage in their first innings and Steady Musoso (5 for 43) in their second. The only solace for Centrals was the performance of Brighton Mugochi, who finished with match figures of 8 for 158 with his left-arm spin.
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