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Matabeleland Tuskers are the new Logan Cup champions

by Byo24News
02 Apr 2011 at 18:44hrs | Views
Matabeleland Tuskers are the new Logan Cup champions. Depleted, without five of their key players, they beat the previously undefeated Mountaineers by 18 runs, a remarkable achievement.  The key factor was their swing bowler Keegan Meth, who has been steadily improving throughout the season and now seems to have instilled fear into the hearts of opposing batsmen with his deceptive swerve and accuracy.  In this match he took 13 wickets at a cost of only 108 runs, besides playing a second innings of 65 runs, and if ever one man won a match for this team, this was the occasion.

It was clear at the start of the day that the result of the match would most likely hinge on the result of the battle between Hamilton Masakadza and Meth - and Meth won handsomely.  Masakadza off-drove a single off Keith Dabengwa in the second over of the day to take the home side's total to 100, which brought him to face Meth in the next over.  He pushed fatally outside the off stump, edged a catch to the wicketkeeper and departed for 14, to scenes of jubilation from the fielders.  As it turned out, this was the point where they won the match.  Again, though, they were excessively noisy in the field, especially early on.

It was now the responsibility of the rest of the Mountaineers team to stand up and show they were not totally reliant on Masakadza in a tight situation √¢‚Ǩ‚Äú and this for the most part they dismally failed to do.  The experienced South African Jon Beukes was one batsman who might have stood in the gap for Mountaineers, as he ran to 16 confident runs off 14 balls, with three fours, but he was then given out lbw on the front foot to Meth, and now the middle order surrendered meekly.  Donald Tiripano, the night-watchman, had held an end up grimly for almost an hour, but edged a low catch to second slip off Meth to depart for 5 off 42 balls.  Prosper Utseya, who has often been a man for a crisis in the past, was this time another lbw victim to Meth for a single, and Benjy Katsande lasted only three balls before edging to the keeper.  Seven were now down for 125, the point of no return had been passed, and the last four wickets had fallen for seven runs in four overs.

Meth must have been tiring, but he kept bowling.  At last Timycen Maruma and Shingi Masakadza showed some defiance, keeping out Meth and starting to attack Dabengwa, who had been blocking up the other end.  Dabengwa as captain now faced the dilemma of whether to continue with Meth or give him a break for a while, but just as decision time was imminent, Meth struck again.  Shingi Masakadza had been trying to counter his movement and upset his length by going down the pitch to him, which brought the keeper up to the stumps; the batsman did it once too often and was stumped for 17; eight down for 155.

Maruma now decided to take advantage of the wearied bowler, now in his eleventh over, smiting him for two mighty leg-side sixes in succession.  In the meantime Dabengwa gave way to Chris Mpofu, but Tendai Chatara gave Maruma unexpected support, with five well-selected boundary hits off the fast man.  They survived until lunch, and then Tawanda Mupariwa replaced the exhausted Meth; he quickly produced a rising ball that Maruma, on 36, edged at an awkward throat height to the keeper, who dropped it.  After two overs by Mupariwa, Dabengwa brought back Meth, but he no longer had the power to terrorize; the batsmen could now play him like any other bowler and kept the scoreboard ticking over comfortably.  Mountaineers supporters began to entertain delusions of victory.

When Maruma reached an admirable fifty, only another 24 runs were needed to win.  But, tragically, a mix-up between the batsmen led to his being run out for 51 and the fighting partnership of 69 was ended.  Natsai Mushangwe tried to hit out, but was caught in the outfield off Mpofu and the Logan Cup went to Matabeleland Tuskers.

Result: Matabeleland Tuskers won by 18 runs

Source - Byo24News