AFTER a rousing start to their innings by Cephas Zhuwao, Harare Metropolitan Eagles faded to be dismissed for 231 on the opening day of their Logan Cup match against Rising Stars at Takashinga Sports Club yesterday. By the close of play, Rising Stars had scored 52 for the loss of one wicket and they were trailing by 179 runs.
On a warm and largely sunny morning, Eagles won the toss and decided to bat on a pitch that was slow and gave little help to the bowlers.
Rising Stars were without the spearhead to their bowling attack, Blessing Muzarabani, who was unavailable due to a contract with an English club, and they were to struggle at the start.
Cephas Zhuwao studiously blocked the first three deliveries from Njabulo Ncube, before reverting to type and driving the fourth for six; two twos followed, to make it 10 runs off the first over.
Zhuwao proceeded to hit fours from the first two balls he faced from Mohammad Faraz Akram, before he returned to Ncube and plundered him for six, three fours and a two; he now had 38 runs off 15 balls.
Ncube then found a better length to quieten Zhuwao and dismissed his partner, Joylord Gumbie, who was caught at the wicket for three out of an opening partnership of 47.
Zhuwao now played a more restrained game, but reached his fifty off 30 balls. He seemed to have run out of adrenalin when he flicked at a ball from the debutant Tinashe Muchawaya and was caught at the wicket for 51 off 35 balls.
Zhuwao hit six fours and two sixes, and the score was now 65 for two, scored off 13 overs in just under an hour’s play.
The wicketkeeper Tafadzwa Tsiga picked up his third catch as Chamu Chibhabha edged a ball off another debutant, Davis Murwendo, and departed for five off 26 balls; 77 for three.
At lunch the score had reached 89 without further loss; Regis Chakabva had 23 and Tino Mutombodzi five. Afterwards the pair continued to bat soundly together, with Mutombodzi the more aggressive.
The score reached 163 before Chakabva, playing forward to a ball from the leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta, was given out lbw for 47.
Mutombodzi, on 49, failed to reach his fifty, as Mavuta bowled a ball that popped off the handle of his bat and was well caught by Ryan Burl diving at slip; 164 for five. — Zimcricket