Northerns took over the lead of in the 2008-09 Logan Cup with a rousing innings-and-290-run thrashing of Centrals at Harare's Alexandra Sports Club.
Northerns massive first innings of 510 for 9 was built around Regis Chakabva's career-best 131 and good contributions from Brendan Taylor (95) and Tatenda Taibu (92). Taylor was playing in Zimbabwe for the first time since last year after striking a deal with board officials, but he is unlikely to feature again in the Logan Cup as he is due to leave to take up a club commitment in England in the next few days.
Centrals never looked likely to offer any serious resistance and were bowled out for 122 and, following on, for 98, losing with more than a day and a half to spare. In the first innings Ray Price returned fine figures of 8.5-6-6-5 and he added 4 for 28 in the second, with Admire Manyumwa chipping in with 5 for 25. Price leads the competition wickets tally with 23 from four matches.
Easterns slipped to second despite beating bottom side Westerns by 56 runs at Harare Sports Club. For a while it looked as if an upset could be on the cards as Westerns, set a target of 212, reached 117 for 4. But Hamilton Masakadza struck twice in three overs, and then the offspin pairing of Prosper Utseya and Timycen Maruma polished off the innings as the last four wickets fell for five runs.
Until then, Westerns had looked the better side. They bowled Easterns out for 200, John Nyumbu taking 5 for 78, and then took a first-innings lead of 65 thanks largely to a maiden hundred from Mbekezele Mabuza. He had only been in a brief time when Westerns slumped to 99 for 7, but he marshaled the tail to great effect and the last three wickets added 166.
Stuart Matsikenyeri ensured that Easterns stayed in the game, his 142 from 204 balls almost single handedly keeping them afloat. He came in at No. 4, saw his side slide to 143 for 6, but was last man out after he had helped them to reach 276. As it turned out, that was just about enough.