Mashonaland win by 2 wickets in Alexandra

The fourth and final day was by far the most dramatic with the hosts Mashonaland A winning by two wickets in a tight finish soon after lunch

Larry Moyo
The fourth and final day was by far the most dramatic with the hosts Mashonaland A winning by two wickets in a tight finish soon after lunch.
The day began with Mashonaland A claiming the remaining Manicaland wicket two overs into the first session. The visitors could only add one more run to their overnight total of 205 before number 11 batsman Ian Coulson was out, bowled for a duck by Rennie who finished the innings with three wickets from 49 off 21 overs.
This meant that Mashonaland A had the whole day to reach a victory target of 155. But it was not to be an easy target for them and it needed the experience of Board XI members Mark Vermeulen and wicketkeeper Alester Maregwede to claim maximum points eventually. Opener Vermeulen scored 43 off just 57 balls while Maragwede, batting at number six, topscored with 45 off 80 balls.
While the players had expected the final day to belong to spinners, it turned out to be the opposite as seamers Guy Whittall and Justin Lewis took the first seven of the Mashonaland A wickets to fall. Whittall ripped through the Mashonaland A top order as he claimed the wickets of opener Taylor (5), number three Andre Neethling (0) and number four Gavin Rennie (6) to leave them struggling at 51/3 after 12.5 overs.
Lewis then took over and claimed the wickets of Elton Chigumbura (15), Vermeulen and number seven Norbert Manyande (0), while Whittall returned to remove captain Henry Olonga (11) as Mashonaland A looked set for a disappointing finish at 118/7 after 36.4 overs.
With 37 more runs needed to with three wickets in hand Maregwede and 17 year-old Prosper Utseya added 22 runs with the former looking increasingly comfortable with the Manicaland attack. Just when Maragwede was looking at scoring a half-century he lost concentration and edged a Soma delivery to the wicketkeeper. Pressure returned to Mashonaland A as they still needed 15 more runs to win as number 10 David Mutendera went to the crease.
Mutendera hit two fours while Utseya added singles to leave the scores level after 49.2 overs. Needing a single to win, Mutendera was deceived by a Soma delivery and only managed to sky the ball. As Mutendera completed a run, Ferreira went under the ball and with everyone expecting a routine catch, the ball dropped between his gloves and the match went to Mashonaland A.
It was Mashonaland A's second win in three matches with Matabeleland and Mashonaland remaining while Manicaland are still looking for a win with just two matches against Midlands and Matabeleland remaining.