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Carl Mumba’s eight-for lifts Rhinos to the top of Logan Cup table

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Results Summary

Zimbabwe’s domestic season is underway after the first round of Logan Cup matches in Harare and Kwekwe.

Fast bowler Carl Mumba burst back onto the Zimbabwean domestic scene with a match haul of 8 for 24 to demolish the reigning Logan Cup champions Mountaineers at Kwekwe Sports Club. Building on captain Tarisai Musakanda’s maiden first-class hundred, Rhinos reached 232 in their first innings, the highest score of the match.

Peter Moor‘s second-innings fifty helped Rhinos set Mountaineers 245 to win despite Donald Tiripano‘s 5 for 42. That total was well beyond them when Michael Chinouya’s incisions rocked the top order, and Mumba then tore through the tail to pick up the remarkable career-best figures of 6 for 7 in the second innings, Moutaineers crumbling to 140 all out. There is not much room for error in the six-match Logan Cup competition this season, and the pressure is on Mountaineers not to slip up again if they are to retain the trophy.

At Harare Sports Club, persistent rain had the final say in a closely-fought contest between Mashonaland Eagles and Matabeleland Tuskers. Having been put in by Eagles captain Tino Mutombodzi, Tuskers were carried by Craig Ervine’s 141 in their first innings, reaching 313. An all-round effort from the bowlers then restricted Eagles to 284, Chris Mpofu playing a vital hand by dismissing Cephas Zhuwao when the big-hitting left-hander had raced to a 45-ball 60.

Cunningham Ncube‘s battling 77 held Tuskers together in their second innings in overcast conditions well suited to swing bowling, with no other batsman making more than 14 in the innings. Eagles bowled Tuskers out early on the final morning, and their pursuit of 211 to win fired in fits and starts but was still on track when rain stopped play.

Eagles were 155 for 4 when the weather intervened, the captains eventually shaking hands for a draw when it became apparent no further play would be possible.

On the national radar

With a couple of the established names in Zimbabwean cricket away playing T20 (and even T10) franchise cricket elsewhere, the first round of Logan Cup matches was an opportunity for those on the fringe to start staking a claim. Mumba’s dramatic return will not have gone unnoticed, while in the same game Musakanda’s maiden first-class ton showed positive signs for his continued development, with Musakanda having made the runs batting out of position as an opener. Tiripano also recorded his fourth five-wicket haul in First Class cricket during the game in Kwekwe, while in Harare Ervine’s 10th first-class hundred (as well as some summer rain), helped Tuskers secure a draw.

Top performer

Mumba had not played any professional cricket since seriously injuring his knee in Hambantota during Zimbabwe’s tour of Sri Lanka last year. The injury required reconstructive surgery on his knee, as well as nine months of rehabilitation work, but his performance against Mountaineers suggests that Mumba has lost none of his zip, and he could well find himself back in the national set-up, especially with the pace cupboards a little barer since Blessing Muzarabani’s departure for Northamptonshire.

Admittedly, Mumba was also aided by a slightly spongy patch on the Kwekwe Sports Club pitch, but no bowler from either side was able to exploit the conditions as effectively as he was. His analysis is the best in Zimbabwean first-class cricket for any bowler taking six wickets in an innings, beating that of the great bowler Joe Partridge who took 6 for 13 for this country against North-Eastern Transvaal in Pretoria back in 1955-56. However, it does fall short of the amazing feat of left-arm spinner Keith Dabengwa, who in 2006-07 took seven wickets for just one run for Westerns against Northerns in the Logan Cup at Harare Sports Club.



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No changes, Bangladesh keep faith in original squad of 15

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There will be no changes to the 15-man provisional World Cup squad Bangladesh had announced over a month ago, with Minhajul Abedin, the chief selector, saying that the performances in the Ireland tri-series, which Bangladesh won, had convinced the selectors that the squad was the right one.

“There is much confidence on and within the 15-member squad currently in England,” Abedin, who was also the team manager during the tri-series, told ESPNcricinfo. “Everyone in the squad has shown that they are capable of performing at the highest stage, which is why we selected them in the first place.”

The question marks were mainly over Abu Jayed and Mosaddek Hossain, but both passed with flying colours. Mosaddek’s quickfire half-century against West Indies in the final helped Bangladesh clinch their first multi-team ODI trophy, while Jayed took 5 for 58 against Ireland in an earlier game.

Liton Das and Rubel Hossain, also not considered automatic starters at the World Cup, also did enough in their limited opportunities during the tri-series to stay in the squad. Liton hit a 67-ball 76 against Ireland in his only outing, while Rubel picked up 1 for 41 in the same game.

Four reserve players – Taskin Ahmed, Farhad Reza, Nayeem Hasan and Yasir Ali – had travelled to Ireland for the tri-series, but will now continue training in Dhaka along with the two other standby players – Imrul Kayes and Taijul Islam – in preparation for the July series against Afghanistan A, who will play two four-day and five one-day games.

Most of Bangladesh’s World Cup squad is now training in Leicester before the squad – including captain Mashrafe Mortaza and Tamim Iqbal, who were given a break – head to Cardiff for their two warm-up games against Pakistan and India on May 26 and 28 respectively.

Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Saifuddin, Abu Jayed, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain



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Northants get concussion sub for Alex Wakely after accident at home

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Alex Wakely, the Northamptonshire captain, has withdrawn from his side’s County Championship match against Sussex and been replaced with a concussion substitute after suffering a head injury at home.

The 30-year-old Wakely was taken ill before play on the second morning, telling medical staff at the club that he had hit his head on a low beam at his home. An assessment on the ground detected signs of concussion and determined that he could take no further part.

Northamptonshire have been given permission to replace Wakely in the team with a concussion substitute, in this case Josh Cobb, who has been cleared to take Wakely’s place as a batsman, although he will not be allowed to bowl.

David Ripley, the county’s head coach, said: “Alex actually drove to the ground this morning as normal but was sick after he got here and it was clear he was not well.

“He explained that he had banged his head on a beam last night and after an examination by our medical staff it was decided he was showing signs of concussion. He has not gone to hospital but clearly we are monitoring his condition to see how he progresses. His welfare has to come first.

“We were not sure we would be allowed a substitute as the injury did not happen during the game but the regulations do allow it and after we had spoken to the Sussex captain it was agreed that Josh Cobb could take his place.



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Opponents still scared, but ‘it’s not as easy as it was’ – Chris Gayle

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Chris Gayle believes opponents are still scared of him, but the 39-year-old West Indian opening batsman admits that it’s no longer as easy playing against youngsters as it used to be. Gayle, who is set to play his fifth – and last – World Cup, has been a part of the tournament each time it has been held since his ODI debut in September 1999.

“Youngsters coming at my head – it’s not as easy as it was like one time before,” Gayle told cricket.com.au on the eve of West Indies’ unofficial warm-up match against Australia. “I was quicker then. But they’ll be wary. They know what the Universe Boss is capable of. I’m sure they will have it in the back of their mind, ‘Hey, this is the most dangerous batsman they’ve ever seen in cricket’.

“Go ask them on camera. They’re going to say, no, they’re not scared. But you ask them off the camera, they going to say, ‘Yeah, he’s the man. He’s the man’. They’re going to say, ‘he’s the man’.

“But I’m enjoying it. I’m always enjoying the battle against fast bowlers, it’s good. Sometimes those things actually give you extra drive as a batter. When you have a battle, I like those challenges.”

“I just have to monitor it as much as possible and just get the mindset right”

Gayle hinted at ‘unretirement’ just ten days after he had announced his retirement following his strong form in the home series against England earlier this year. He had blasted 424 runs at an average of 106, including 39 sixes, in four matches and also brought up his second-highest ODI score, on the way to leading West Indies to their highest total in the format.

Prior to that, he had not played an ODI for 30 months after West Indies’ quarter-final exit from the 2015 World Cup, and while it seemed like his ODI career was heading towards an end, he returned to the West Indies squad in September 2017 ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. With qualification sealed, he featured regularly in the format and has been in great form since then, making 930 runs in 19 innings. He is also by far the most experienced player in West Indies’ World Cup squad, and has 10,151 runs from 289 ODIs.

He believes that it’s his passion and that of his fans that has been driving him to deliver.

“It’s the love for the game,” he said at a press interaction. “But sometimes sportsmen don’t know when to walk away. You might think you’re still at your peak but eventually, you have to leave the game at some point. But enjoying is important. I’m enjoying it and having fun. Especially with a great group of guys.

“All this is going to play a key part for me as an individual. These guys spur you on and the fans are always asking you for sixes and those sort of things give you the extra drive. There’s nothing to go and prove.”

Coming off an okay run of form in the IPL, where he made 490 runs in 13 matches for Kings XI Punjab, Gayle stressed on the importance of game-time and a positive mindset ahead of the big tournament.

“I am still in good nick,” he said. “I had a not-so-bad IPL, coming after the home series against England. The good thing about it is I’ve been playing cricket. It’s important for me to keep playing and get some games under my belt and come here to the UK and start with a few warm-up games to see where you are at.

“It’s a long tournament. For me, personally, I just have to monitor it as much as possible and just get the mindset right.”



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