Old Georgians shrugged off Mutare Sports Club's dominance of club cricket this season to win the Castle Lager National First League knockout final by 12 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method at Harare
Sports Club on Sunday 17 March.
The victory was, in a way, a consolation for OGs after they had narrowly missed out on the National First League title. They finished equal on points with champions Mutare but lost out by virtue of an inferior net run rate.
The environment at the international venue made a mockery of the final. There was a small crowd of not more than 100, with the majority housed in the new VIP stand while a few were having drinks at the Keg. A `Jumping Castle' mounted for the kids was largely deserted for the better part of the day and there was no need to operate the big scoreboards at the ground which were last used during the one-day series against England in October last year.
In the field all-rounders Gus Mackay and Craig Evans set up the Old Georgians victory with an outstanding display with both the bat and the ball. Evans, batting at number four, hit a six and six fours in making his 53. He had looked comfortable until the first ball of the 36th over when he was brilliantly caught by a diving Taylor at long on while attempting a six.
Mackay provided entertainment for the small crowd with an aggressive batting display that saw him score 87 off just 59 balls, smashing six sixes and three fours. Off the first ball of the 45th over, bowled by Guy Whittall, Mackay smashed a big six that landed on the roof of the VIP lounge, and it took almost five minutes for a groundsman to locate the ball. The umpires were already making arrangements for a new ball.
When play resumed Mackay smashed another huge six, which disappeared behind the VIP lounge but this time it was located quickly. When he tried another big shot off the third ball he only managed to reach Ian
Coulson at deep fine leg to leave the score on 237 for eight. OGs were eventually bowled out for 248 after 48.4 overs.
Richard Sims claimed three wickets for 32 off 10 overs while Whittall finished with expensive figures of 10-2-62-2.
Mutare's innings was then interrupted by a heavy downpour, which pounded the capital in the afternoon, resulting in 13 overs being lost. Their target was then revised to 213 off 37 overs.
The visitors lost wickets regularly with all-rounder Richard Sims being the only defiant batsman. Batting at number three, he scored 84 runs off 85 balls while the second-best contribution came from opener Neil Ferreira, who scored 31.
With Evans taking four wickets for 43 off eight overs, Mutare Sports Club could only reach 201 for eight off their allotted 37 overs to concede the match by 12 runs. The result meant that they could not emulate former champions Old Hararians' feat of claiming both the league championship and the knockout title.
While the game marked the end of Mutare's domestic club season, OGs still have a chance of grabbing another title when they take part in the Mashonaland Knockout Shield which starts on 20 April. OGs will take on Takashinga in the first round while Universals meet Harare Sports Club.
Old Hararians will meet the winner of the Universals/HSC match while Alex will play the winner of OGs/Takashinga in the semi-finals on 27 April. The final will be held on 4 May. The first round and the semi-final will be played over 35 overs while the final will be played over 40 overs.
NATIONAL FIRST LEAGUE KNOCK-OUT FINAL
MUTARE SPORTS CLUB v OLD GEORGIANS SPORTS CLUB
Played at Harare Sports Club on 17 March 2002
Old Georgians won by 12 runs
248 all out in 48.4 overs
Lance Malloch-Brown 29, Barney Rogers 30, Craig Evans 53, Angus Mackay 87, Glen Barrett 20
Leon Soma 1 - 17, Jonathon Brent 2 - 42, Justin Lewis 1 - 59, Guy Whittall 2 - 62, Richard Sims 3 - 32
201 for 8 wickets in 37 overs
Neil Ferreira 31, Richard Sims 84, Andre Soma 25, Jonathon Brent 17
Angus Mackay 1 - 31, Wadington Mwayenga 2 - 27, Craig Evans 4 - 43, Barney Rogers 1 - 26
Rain interrupted play when Mutare had score 99 for 4 wickets off 21.4 overs. 13 overs were lost due to the interruption and Mutare were given a revised target of 214 runs.