Bad weather ruins seventh round
Match abandoned Matabeleland Tuskers 23 for 1 (Coventry 15*) v Desert Vipers 147 for 4 (Pretorius 48*, van Schoor 44)
February is often a very wet month in Zimbabwe, and this tournament had been blessed with six days of dry weather, but lightning and rain during the match between Matabeleland Tuskers and Desert Vipers at Harare Sports Club scheduled on the one half-day meant it became the first washed-out game. Desert Vipers reached 147 for 4 thanks to a steady 44 from Raymond van Schoor and a rather more violent unbeaten 48 from Dwaine Pretorius, and Tuskers had reached 23 for 1 in the fifth over when the match was abandoned.
After they won the toss and batted, van Schoor gave Desert Vipers a rollicking start, and after three overs they had raced to 30 without loss. Gavin Ewing, Tuskers' captain, brought himself and Keith Dabengwa on early, and with much less pace to play with from their flighted spinners, the run rate immediately dipped. Craig Williams hit both for a six, but he and van Schoor were out to successive deliveries, as Vipers reached 75 for 3 in the 14th over.
From then on, Pretorius took over, but he had quite a lot of ground to make up and not too much support. He used the Powerplay to good advantage, driving and pulling powerfully, and hit Keegan Meth for two successive straight sixes to end the innings. Ewing was Tuskers' most economical bowler, conceding only 19 runs off his four overs. He did not take a wicket, but his bowling undoubtedly changed the course of the innings.
Lightning and rain could be seen approaching during the Vipers' innings, but the umpires and players decided to ignore the drizzle and the bad light and continue the game. The Tuskers batsmen clearly struggled to see the ball up at the start, and yet another ridiculous mix-up saw Ewing run out for 1 as the rain grew heavier.
Charles Coventry was almost run out as well soon afterwards, but he soon began to locate the ball through the gloom and followed up with two boundaries in the same over. But the weather finally closed in and the players left the field in the fifth over with steady rain falling. There was never any likelihood of the match being resumed.