Only a magnificent century from Hamilton Masakadza saved Logan Cup champions Mountaineers from an embarrassing day in their match against the bottom team, Tuskers, at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
The Bulawayo side played with spirit, while the champions, perhaps, had for the most part run out of adrenaline in their championship campaign and found it difficult to stir themselves up for a match that would make no difference to the final table.
Mountaineers rotated their squad, and it is a clear indication of their strength in depth that they could rest such players as Tafadzwa Tsiga, Roy Kaia, Victor Nyauchi and William Mashinge and still play a powerful, experienced team.
They certainly had some selection problems about whom to leave out of their matches, and for the first time this season, all three Masakadza brothers were playing in the Mountaineers team.
Mountaineers won the toss on a hot humid morning with a pitch their captain Tino Mawoyo described as looking “an absolute belter”, and decided to bat.
Kevin Kasuza and Mawoyo opened the batting against the bowling of Chris Mpofu and Sheunopa Musekwa.
Perhaps feeling some pressure at the expectation of making plenty of runs on this pitch, the batsmen started very slowly, scoring just four runs off the first five overs.
Tuskers decided to be positive and optimistic, posting three or four slips and a gully to their opening bowlers.
Their whole approach showed they were not downcast by their bottom position on the Logan Cup table, but they gave everything they had with energy and enthusiasm.
This energy also showed during and between overs, and they actually bowled 30 overs before lunch, a commendable but rare achievement for any team.
Mawoyo, out of form, tried to be positive, played a few good strokes, but again failed to make a substantial score — with 15, he jabbed at a ball from Ernest Masuku outside his off stump and edged a catch to first slip.
Mountaineers: 261-7 in 91 overs (Hamilton Masakadza 126, Donald Tiripano 44, Natsai M’shangwe 27; Ernest Masuku 3/73, Ainsley Ndlovu 2/73, Sheunopa Musekwa 1/50)
Source : The Herald