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.
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.
No more ‘heads or tails’ – welcome to ‘hills’ or ‘flats’ in the Big Bash
There will be no more “heads” or “tails” at the toss in the Big Bash. Instead it’s “hills” or “flats” as an Australian backyard tradition takes center stage.
The coin toss has been replaced by the bat flip, with the winner of the call begin decided by which side up the cricket bat lands.
On the backyards around Australia the favoured call is “hills” because of the natural tendency for the bat to rest on the flat side, but in order to retain the fairness in the Big Bash a specially modified bat has been made which, it has been assured, won’t favour the call.
“For me it’s a great moment which reflects what BBL is about,” Cricket Australia’s head of the Big Bash League, Kim McConnie, told the ABC. “I’ve got it from great authority at our [bat maker] Kookaburra friends that this is a tested and weighted bat to deliver that equity.”
McConnie expected some resistance to the new method of starting a match, but believed in the tournament trying innovations.
“Some people don’t like change but I’d also challenge people to say when was the last time anyone watched the coin toss or really focused on it to a great extent?” she said. “Now we are making it much more relevant to families, we are creating a moment which is much more fitting with kids.”
The first captain to flip the bat will be Brisbane Heat’s Chris Lynn against Adelaide Strikers on December 19. Who calls “hills” or “flats” remains to be seen as Travis Head is the Strikers captain but he is involved in the Test series against India.
Peirson and Neser enable Queensland to conquer 414
Queensland 107 (Pyecroft 5-28) and 6 for 412 (Labuschagne 78, Neser 76*, Meredith 3-70) beat Tasmania 167 (Wade 63) and 353 (Bailey 109, Silk 54, Swepson 4-99) by four wickets
The Bulls were 6 for 271 when Sam Heazlett sliced Simon Milenko into the gully. Tasmania needed just four wickets for victory while the Bulls still needed 143, but Peirson and Neser produced 75 and 76 not out respectively to run down the monstrous target – the fifth highest successful chase in Shield history.
It was Neser’s fourth half-century of the season and the 10th of his career, continuing his impressive form with the bat in the Bulls’ lower order. He finished just one run shy of his highest first-class score. Peirson faced 169 balls for his unbeaten 75, his first fifty of the Shield season.
Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne added 20 to his overnight total before chopping on for 78.
Not long after, the Tigers took two wickets in three balls with Riley Meredith trapping Charlie Hemphrey plumb infront and then Alex Pyecroft zipping one back through Jack Wildermuth’s gate.
But the flat fourth day Bellerive surface did not give much more support to the home side as Neser and Peirson completed the chase with more than an hour of play remaining.
Bangladesh eye finishing blow over collapsible WI
Bangladesh are primed to win this ODI series against West Indies with a game to spare and although Roston Chase laughed off the possibility at the pre-match press conference, it is undeniable that his team has had a torrid time all tour. It is no stretch to imagine that they might suffer another batting meltdown on Tuesday.
Bangladesh have done excellently in all three departments over the past few weeks. In the first ODI, Mashrafe Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman shared six wickets between them to keep West Indies to a below par 195. And while Rubel Hossain bowled two poor overs towards the end, it didn’t take the gloss out of a strong performance. Tamim Iqbal’s outstanding catch to remove Darren Bravo also ensured that, ultimately, not a lot needed to be discussed about the three dropped catches.
Bangladesh’s recovery from 42 for 2 was also encouraging. Mushfiqur Rahim let Liton Das and later Shakib Al Hasan play shots while he provided the anchor role. Soumya Sarkar also struck the ball well during his short stay, before Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah brought them victory quickly.
However, runs – quick or slow – haven’t been forthcoming for West Indies. There were some encouraging signs in the practice one-dayer when they got a 300-plus total but they couldn’t deal with the lack of pace on the ball as Shakib and Mehidy Hasan bowled during the Powerplay, and then according to Chase, also had trouble against the pacers as the innings progressed.
With an attack that boasts two genuine fast bowlers and a bit of variety, West Indies must get a 240-plus total in Dhaka to seriously challenge the home side. Oshane Thomas and Kemar Roach can be a handful in any conditions but they need to be backed by runs.
Bangladesh: WWWWL (Last five completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies: LLLWT
In the spotlight
Mashrafe Mortaza became Player of the Match after two years, with his three-wicket haul boosting Bangladesh’s bowling in the first ODI. His combination of cutters and subtle seam movement continues to work for him in the last five years of his limited-overs career.
Shimron Hetmyer had a blip in the first game but he has so far had a better Bangladesh tour than all of West Indies’ batsmen. They would expect him to produce another quickfire knock in the crucial encounter.
Mashrafe is nursing a hamstring injury and Bangladesh’s team management will be concerned by that, even as they experiment with four opening batsman, using Soumya Sarkar at No. 6.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Liton Das, 3 Imrul Kayes, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Soumya Sarkar, 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Mehidy Hasan, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
West Indies have batsmen Chandrapaul Hemraj and Sunil Ambris, allrounder Carlos Brathwaite and left-arm spinner Fabien Allen to choose from, if they are looking to shake up things for the second game.
West Indies (probable): 1 Kieran Powell, 2 Shai Hope (wk), 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Roston Chase, 7 Rovman Powell (capt), 8 Keemo Paul, 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Oshane Thomas
Pitch and conditions
West Indies’ struggle on Sunday was not indicative that the pitch at Shere Bangla National Stadium is bowler-friendly. Bangladesh certainly showed that batting with a bit more purpose can pay off. Dew is unlikely to be an issue, neither is the weather.
Stats and trivia
Bangladesh won the first ODI with 14.5 overs to spare, their second-biggest margin of victory over West Indies in terms of balls remaining. The largest is 180, from when they chased down a target of 62 in Chittagong in 2011.
Mushfiqur Rahim has moved past Chris Gayle as the highest run-getter in Bangladesh-West Indies ODIs. He has now scored 670 runs in 20 matches, averaging 41.87.
“I think we go back to the drawing board, we look at our plans and we will look at where we fell down in the [first] match and improve on that. I will never say that the series is over. We are going to come back strong. We know the guys will be up for the challenge, so we are looking forward to the next game.” West Indies allrounder Roston Chase on whether Bangladesh are primed for a series win.
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