Mutizwa, Mpofu shine in wins
Matabeleland Tuskers laid down an early marker with a 106-run win over Mountaineers at Mutare Sports Club in their first Logan Cup match of the new season. On a pitch that became harder to bat on as the game wore on, Tuskers' seamers - led by Man of the Match Chris Mpofu - ensured that the hard work of their batsmen in the first innings did not go to waste, bowling Mountaineers out for just 92 on the fourth day.
Tuskers captain Gavin Ewing chose to bat on the first morning and after an early wobble against the new ball it was Ewing himself who helped shore up the innings, sharing partnerships of 133 and 60 for the third and fourth wickets with Craig Ervine (59) and Keith Dabengwa (67 not out). Ewing went on to reach a century - the first of the season - while Mountaineers legspinner Natsai Mushangwe picked up five wickets as Tuskers reached 306.
Hamilton Masakadza's 75 and contributions from former Zimbabwe Under-19 players Kevin Kasuza (46) and Benjamin Katsande (45) propped Mountaineers up but Chris Mpofu's five-for ensured a 12-run lead for Tuskers. The visiting batsmen struggled the second time round and Tuskers were thankful for Keegan Meth's unbeaten 41, which helped set a target of 199 for Mountaineers. Their chase never got close, however, Mpofu picking up a further four wickets and Meth finishing the remarkable figures of 3 for 19 in 14 overs as Mountaineers were bundled out for 92.
At Masvingo, Forster Mutizwa's unbeaten century carried Mashonaland Eagles to a remarkable three-wicket win over Southern Rocks. Mark Mbofana's career-best 5 for 41 in Southern Rocks first innings appeared to have gone to waste when Eagles were bowled out for just 147, conceding a lead of 119.
That was extended to 338 despite a robust second-innings effort from the Eagles attack, and when they were reduced to 3 for 2 by Tinashe Panyangara in their chase, all seemed lost. Mutizwa then sparked a remarkable turnaround, however, sharing in a partnership of 124 with Elton Chigumbura, who hit a patient 53. An 80-run stand for the fifth wicket with Trevor Garwe tilted the balance, before Nathan Waller's swashbuckling 53 - from just 34 deliveries - helped seal the match.