Manicaland 199 for 2 (de Grandhomme 96*, Matsikenyeri 80*) beat Namibia 198 for 8 (Bennett 4-26) by eight wickets
Namibia's triumphant run of success in Zimbabwe came to a sudden end as they went down to an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of Manicaland in the Faithwear Series at the Country Club. Three superb individual performances brought Manicaland a well-earned victory, although they were assisted by the significant absence of Jan-Berrie Burger from the Namibian team; he sustained an ankle injury against Zimbabwe A two days earlier.
Namibia batted first but lacked their usual impetus at the start of their innings. Ryan Bennett turned in a superb spell of accurate and thoughtful fast-medium bowling to neutralise their middle order, taking four wickets for 26 runs in his ten overs. Namibia totalled 198 for 8 in their 50 overs.
Manicaland began unimpressively, losing two wickets for 20. But their debutant opener Colin de Grandhomme, a former Under-19 player and son of the former national player Laurence, batted with remarkable skill and maturity to score 96 not out, aided by an equally fine unbeaten 80 from Stuart Matsikenyeri, who was dropped down the order after a run of poor form. They took Manicaland to victory without further loss.
Midlands 64 for 4 beat Mashonaland 63 (Nicolson 5-28, Chinyoka 3-9) by six wickets
Mashonaland turned in their poorest performance for many a long year as they went down by six wickets to Midlands in the Faithwear Series match at Takashinga Cricket Club in Highfield, Harare. The match was over before lunch as Mashonaland, who have won every provincial title for five seasons and still have the strongest team on paper, went down to their second successive defeat in the one-day competition.
At 55 for 3, with Tatenda Taibu on 16, there was no hint of the disasters to come, but the last seven wickets could manage only eight runs. The main beneficiary of rank bad batting was Ian Nicolson, quick but erratic, and perhaps flattered by his figures of 5 for 28. He was backed by Innocent Chinyoka (3 for 9) and Amos Maungwa (2 for 17). Top scorer was Extras with an imposing 24.
Douglas Hondo struck back for Mashonaland, dismissing both Midlands openers with just a single on the board, but Craig Ervine, with an aggressive 26, and Vusi Sibanda (24 not out) took Midlands home to a victory that must have astonished them.