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The anticipated exciting finish to the Logan Cup match between Manicaland and Matabeleland duly materialised, with the final result in doubt until the last few minutes of the match. When the end came, it came quickly, with a few lusty blows eventually giving the Cinderella province of Manicaland a well-deserved victory by four wickets.
The third morning dawned comparatively clear, but there had been heavy rain during the night which delayed the start of play for 30 minutes while the outfield dried. Manicaland were 117 for three overnight, their last seven wickets needing another 93 to win the match, no easy task the way the match had gone on the first two days. They soon lost their night-watchman Terry Denyer, who had not scored when, failing to get quite in line to a delivery from Matthew Townshend, he was bowled, the ball just flicking the bottom of the off stump enough to remove the bails on its way through to the keeper.
He was replaced by Steve Lawson, who played one or two unorthodox strokes but concentrated well. Overnight batsman Patrick Gada hung in with great determination and showed more confidence in attacking the bad ball. When spinners Ian Engelbrecht and Stephen Brown came on the pressure increased on the batsmen, but they handled it well until Lawson, who batted patiently for a long time, decided to try to get on top of them. There was no real need to do so, as the fifty stand had been passed and victory was in sight at 180 for four. He swung once too often at the off-spin of Brown and lofted a catch to Wisdom Siziba near the leg boundary. He scored 24.
Three runs later, on the stroke of lunch, Gada (44) fell after an admirable innings. Padding up to Engelbrecht, he was given out lbw when well forward, a delayed decision in answer to a far from unanimous appeal. He had shown great determination and concentration, although beaten at times and having a lucky escape on 31 when he skyed a ball into a gap in the cover field. As the players trooped in, Manicaland were 183 for six and the match was in the balance once again.
The remaining 27 runs took only 20 minutes after lunch, however. Dion Yatras was wasting no time, and he played an array of aggressive strokes, a mixture of orthodox and agricultural. He quickly hit a huge six over long-on off Engelbrecht, which had the umpire signalling six long before it came to earth. He sliced a single uppishly but safely into the covers then, facing Brown, enjoyed a lucky inside edge for two which just missed his stumps, and then a six of lower trajectory over long-on. Townshend was brought back with four runs needed, but in vain; a two over mid-on off a no-ball brought the scores level, then a thick edge off another attempted on-drive sent the ball sailing over the slips for four. Manicaland were on 213 for six, and their victory took them to the top of the Logan Cup table with two outright wins.
Cinderella province of Manicaland earn victory
The anticipated exciting finish to the Logan Cup match between Manicaland and Matabeleland duly materialised, with the final result in doubt until the last few minutes of the match
Manicaland v Matabeleland: Exciting finish in prospect after two days.
This match is set up for what could be an exciting finish tomorrow morning, as Manicaland, set the highest total of the match for victory, 210, finished the day more than halfway there, on 117 with three wickets down