Matabeleland 272 for 8 (Vermeulen 91) beat Manicaland 259 (Marumisa 66) by 13 runs
In a good close contest, Matabeleland beat Manicaland by 13 runs with three balls to spare at Mutare Sports Club. Mark Vermeulen, whose form has been inconsistent this year, led the way with an innings of 91, but it could be said that the match was settled by the inability of the Manicaland fielders to hold their catches.
Matabeleland began their innings in fine style, with Terry Duffin (34) and the normally stolid Wisdom Siziba adding 73 for the second wicket in less than 11 overs, and then Vermeulen took over. The main beneficiary of the dropped catches, he stayed until the penultimate over, adding 101 for the fifth wicket with Charles Coventry (41), and ensured Manicaland faced a daunting target. There were three wickets each to Blessing Mahwire and Patrick Gada.
Johnson Marumisa (66) gave Manicaland a sound start, and while Mahwire was at the wicket victory looked possible, as he boosted the middle order with a rollicking 58 off 43 balls. But tight bowling from Chris Mpofu (2 for 23) and Gavin Ewing (2 for 35) kept the pressure on the other batsmen, and Manicaland slowly slipped behind the clock.