The Sunday Mail
RAINFALL came as the saving grace for the Mashonaland Eagles in the last session of day one in their Logan Cup match against the Mountaineers as they were left 153 /8 with a only the tail-end to bat at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Mountaineers were still riding high after Friday’s Pro50 victory and continued from where they left, taking three early crucial wickets and thus the upper hand in the morning session as cloud cover aided their bowling exploits after choosing to field first.
Eagles opener Sikander Raza had got off to an explosive start scoring 37 runs off 25 deliveries but his antics were nipped in the bud by Donald Tiripano who had him trapped leg before wicket in the eight over.
Raza’s opening partner Clement Rizhibhowa had played a supportive role playing, patiently giving strike and taking singles but he departed for nine runs after facing 40 balls.
Mountaineers stalwart fast bowler Shingirai Masakadza bowled with grit and amplified their position, getting Mark Vermeulen trapped LBW for a duck and by lunch time the homeside was reeling at 88 for 3. By the end of the second session, the Eagles had lost three more wickets with just 130 runs on the board, although there had been some resistance from Elton Chigumbura who looked solid on the off-side scoring 25 runs. The fast bowling duo of Donald Tiripano and Tatenda Mupunga was at the forefront of the Mountaineers bowling attacking and their joint effort was rewarded rightly as they had taken three wickets apiece when slight rains stopped play.
Mountaineers head coach Gary Brent is confident of a win and lauded the bowling pair whom he says gave the Mutare giants an early advantage.
“I think we are definitely in front, our seamers bowled particularly well and we owe it to them.
The rain gave us a chance to regroup and we sat down to discuss how we were to take the remaining two wickets.”
“The Logan Cup is every coach’s prime target and if we keep playing like we did in the Pro50 win on Friday then we will definitely boost our chances in the final,” said Brent.
The Eagles have their tail-enders at the mercy of the Mountaineers who can take the new ball a few overs after the resumption of the match. Prosper Utseya’s departure for 14 runs at the hands of Tiripano was the fall of the Eagles’ last line of defence.
The weather subsided an hour before the official close of play and groundsmen removed the covers, but the slight down pour continued and umpires called it a day.