TEST batsman, Kevin Kasuza believes his maiden ton in the National Premier League will help boost his quest for recognition in the limited-overs game.
The 27-year-old opening batsman scored a blistering 121 runs, off 96 deliveries, as the Mutare-based Easterns romped to a comfortable six-wicket win over Queens at Masvingo Sports Club on Wednesday.
The feat, which earned him the man-of-the match award, meant a lot to Kasuza, who is often regarded more as a Test player than a white ball cricketer.
Kasuza, who made his Test debut this year with a brilliant half ton against Sri Lanka, told The Herald he is working hard to improve his statistics in the limited-overs game.
He hopes to fight for national team ODI and T20I places in future.
“Obviously it’s a good feeling to score a hundred and help the team win. But, this gives me confidence to carry into the season and into the national team in future, especially one-day cricket,” he said.
“I’m fighting for a position in the squad.”
Kasuza missed out on national team selection for the limited overs tour of Pakistan.
He has been the best player for Easterns in the NPL and the recent knock took his tally to 256 runs from seven games.
He is now the third highest scorer in the tournament after Mid-West Rhinos’ Tarisai Musakanda and Brian Mudzinganyama of Rainbow Sharks.
Cricketers have been criticised for their low scores in this tournament but Kasuza yesterday said he felt he was in the right direction as he now has a century, and a half ton, to his name.
He was central to the big win over Queens, after being set 193/8 to win the game.
He completely dominated a second-wicket partnership of 138 with Tinashe Chiora (34) and by the time he left the crease, he had done enough groundwork for the middle order to take Easterns home, with almost nine overs to spare.
Easterns, however, have fallen by the wayside in the title race and the best they can hope for is a third place finish.
They won four, and lost three, of their seven games.
They play Rainbow Sharks in their last game on Sunday.
“I think we lacked experience,” he said.
“We missed our senior players, Tendai Chatara and Donald Tiripano, but it’s good the young guys are getting exposure and it’s good they are improving with each and every game.
“I hope the form will carry on to the next game,” said Kasuza.
And, for the first time since the beginning of the NPL, there were two tons scored during the same round this week.
But, the highlight came from Takashinga who placed one hand on the title, with 50 points in the bag.
Second-placed Rhinos will finish with the same number of points, if they win their last game against Great Zimbabwe, on Sunday.
But, Takashinga have such an advantage on net run rate, the tie-breaker, that they will see them being crowned champions.
The magical ton from UK-based former Zimbabwe Under-17 batsman Nick Welch, who continued with a fine homecoming show, led Harare Kings to a deserved 31-run victory over Gladiators at the Harare Sports Club.
Welch was unveiled by Harare Kings, as their overseas player last week, and he immediately announced his arrival with a half-ton in the victory against Rainbow Sharks.
He bettered that performance, this week, with an unbeaten 132 against Gladiators.
He was ably supported by skipper Prince Masvaure, who weighed in with 38 runs on the way to a total of 214/7 in their allotted 45 overs.
Patrick Mambo’s 4/25 with the ball helped restrict Gladiators to 183 runs.
In another match, national team trialist Brian Mudzinganyama narrowly missed out on his maiden ton in the tournament but his brilliant knock of 95 not out was enough to propel Rainbow Sharks to an eight-wicket trouncing of basement side Great Zimbabwe Patriots.
He faced only 78 balls and hit 15 fours and a six.