Utseya leads Easterns to Logan Cup title
Easterns 227 (Mlambo 60, Maruma 52) and 155 for 9 (Cremer 4-57) beat Northerns 213 (Taibu 74, Utseya 4-38) and 166 (Utseya 6-55) by one wicket
Prosper Utseya's ten-wicket haul helped Easterns clinch a thrilling one-wicket victory in a low-scoring contest against Northerns at Alexandra Sports Club in Harare. The win helped Easterns secure the Logan Cup by finishing on 93 points, 16 clear of Northerns in second place. Chasing only 153 in the final innings, Easterns sneaked home with No 9 and No 11 adding the last 11 runs needed for victory.
Easterns never had any momentum during the final innings with batsmen falling at regular intervals. Hamilton Masakadza top-scored with 45 while Utseya contributed 24 but the innings was in disarray at 97 for 6. Shingirai Masakadza, however, scored an unbeaten 23 to take his team over the line.
A larger target would have proved beyond Easterns and it was due to Utseya that they had to chase only 153. Northerns had made a steady start to their second innings, reaching 78 for 1 before Utseya began to run through the line-up. He took four middle-order wickets and returned to mop up the tail to finish with 6 for 55.
The low scores of both teams in the second innings continued the trend set in the first. Northerns were dismissed for only 213 after choosing to bat with Tatenda Taibu top-scoring with 74. Utseya's 4 for 38 played a crucial role in restricting the batsmen.
Easterns made a superb start in reply, with their openers adding 104 but they lost ten wickets for 123 runs. Bernard Mlambo and Timycen Maruma scored half-centuries and gave their team a slender lead. It wasn't much but it was vital in the closest of finishes.
Centrals 299 (Tichana 65, Waller 61, Nyumbu 3-85, Takarusenga 3-26) and 280 for 7 declared (Nyathi 100, Mahlunge 66*) drew with Westerns 269 (Ngulube 48, Chibhabha 3-74, Kamungozi 3-34) and 44 for 3 (Takarusenga 25, Kamungozi 2-17)
A century from Remembrance Nyathi and excellent support through Tarisai Mahlunge's 240-ball 66 helped Centrals recover from a precarious situation at 88 for 6, and earn a draw against Westerns in Harare. The game had been closely-fought in the first innings, with Centrals earning a 30-run lead after bowling out the opposition for 269. Chamu Chibhabha and Tafadzwa Kamungozi toojk three wickets each as none of the Westerns batsmen were able to score a half-century.
Centrals, however, came close to squandering the advantage as the Westerns bowlers rallied well around Tawanda Mupariwa to strike at frequent intervals and threaten to squeeze a win by bowling them out cheaply. However, they were met with some dogged resistance from the Centrals lower order as Nyathi and Mahlunge grafted 165 runs for the seventh wicket to take the game out of Westerns' reach. They declared with a score of 280, and scored a moral victory by knocking off three wickets in the Westerns innings in what eventually ended as a tame draw.