Mountaineers – 182 all out in 56.1 overs (Richmond Mutumbami 51, Roy Kaia 50, Kudzai Sauramba 32; Cuthbert Kamusoko 3/17, Trevor Garwe 3/36, Tapiwa Mufudza 2/66)
Eagles – 102-4 in 32.5 overs (Wesley Madhevere 42, Chamu Chibhabha 28, Kudzai Maunze 13; William Mashinge 2/24, Tafadzwa Muzarawetu 1/21, Tinashe Muchawaya 1/28)
Day 1 – Stumps: Eagles trail by 78 runs with six wickets remaining in the first innings
Wesley Madhevere, hopefully part of the future of Zimbabwe cricket, played an impressive innings of 42 for Eagles on a day of rather disappointing batting overall at Harare Sports Club in the Logan Cup match against holders Mountaineers.
There were fifties from Roy Kaia and Richmond Mutumbami for the visitors, but generally it was a bowler’s day, without any one bowler being outstanding though.
This is a vital match in the Logan Cup, with both teams equal at the top of the table with three victories in three matches and 17 points each.
Both teams were depleted owing to the national side’s tour of Bangladesh: Eagles have two players on that tour and Mountaineers four.
The match began in the now traditional way for Eagles’ home matches — they won the toss and put their opponents in to bat.
Trevor Garwe, restored to his old role as spearhead of the Eagles attack, soon proved he deserves the honour, as a fine opening maiden over ended with a successful lbw appeal against Joylord Gumbie.
His opening partner, Tinashe Chimbambo, did not last long, either; he misjudged a ball from Richard Ngarava so badly that he shouldered arms and found his leg stump knocked out of the ground, also without scoring.
Kaia and Mutumbami now had to repair the damage, and both responded in positive fashion, attacking the bowling wisely and with Mutumbami even driving Garwe for six over long-on as the bowler lost some of his accuracy, and then did the same to Ngarava, both with perfect timing.
Mutumbami was playing incredibly well, as he lashed the bowling all over the field, scoring off most deliveries and driving Garwe again for a six into the sightscreen.
At this stage he had scored 31 off 22 balls, but now he either ran out of adrenaline or decided that he was in danger of burning his candle at both ends, and quietened down considerably.
Suddenly he aroused himself again, scored 10 runs in an over off Faraz Akram, and reached his fifty off 44 balls, the total then being 79 for two.
Unfortunately, he then threw his innings away, choosing the wrong ball from Cuthbert Musoko to hit, and gave an easy catch to long-on for 51, which contained three sixes and four fours.
Kaia meanwhile was batting steadily with 26 to his account, as he was joined by Kudzai Sauramba.
Sauramba struggled for 23 balls to get off the mark, but at lunch the score had reached 96 for three wickets, with Kaia on 37 and Sauramba three.
Kaia spent almost half an hour after lunch in reaching his invaluable fifty, which took him 97 balls.
He decided he should now be more aggressive, which proved almost immediately fatal, as he stepped down the pitch to attack Tapiwa Mufudza, and was easily stumped; 127 for four.
Gary Chirimuuta scored only a single before he clipped Garwe, now bowling his second spell, to be caught at midwicket.
William Mashinge, who has saved his side’s batting several times this season, came in next and played himself in with care, but he lost Sauramba, who had become bogged down again, lbw to Garwe for 32, to make the score 145 for five.
This time Mashinge never looked comfortable, though, and he took 26 balls to make five before he was given out lbw to Musoko, who had given Garwe a rest.
At 150 for six Mountaineers were in some trouble, but with the Masakadza brothers, Shingi and Wellington, at the crease, all was by no means lost yet.
Shingi played a couple of big shots, including a six off Mufudza, but he generally found it difficult to time the ball well, and he was eventually bowled for 16, trying to swing a straight ball from Musoko to cow corner; 169 for eight.
Tinashe Muchawaya came in, hit Mufudza for six and four, but was then caught at short leg off the same bowler for 11; 180 for nine.
Wellington was the last man out, being caught at midwicket from a half-hearted sweep off Wesley Madhevere for nine, and the innings closed for a disappointing 182, tea being taken at this point.
This time Mountaineers could not escape from the fragility of their top-order batting, and the all-rounders were unable to save them.
Garwe took three wickets for 36 and Musoko three for 17, while Mufudza took two wickets.
With the ball, though, Tafadzwa Muzarawetu quickly struck back for Mountaineers, as Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, opening the batting for Eagles, wafted at the second ball of the innings, without a run on the board, and edged a simple catch to the keeper.
Chamu Chibhabha, the Eagles captain, fought back impressively with positive batting, keeping the score ticking over all the time with well-placed ones and twos.
But, like his opponents earlier in the day, he failed to stay in for a big innings, skying a catch off Mashinge when he had scored 28 off 36 balls.
Kudzai Maunze scored 13 rather laboriously before edging a ball from Muchawaya to the keeper at 67 for three.
Madhevere, on his first-class début after a fine career for the Zimbabwe Under-19 team, batted very impressively, handling the bowling well and showing good judgment.
He scored 42 runs and was unfortunate to be out to a brilliant catch; he cut a ball from Mashinge hard but high, only for Wellington Masakadza in the gully to shoot his hands up and hold the ball.
The score at this stage was 102 for four wickets and Eagles did not have too much experienced batting to come.
Two more overs were bowled before a very late close of play due to slow over-rates, without a run being scored, and the match at present appears to be well balanced.
Across the city at Old Hararians, Tanunurwa Makoni top-scored with 35 before his Rangers side were bundled out for 128 in 48.5 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat against Tuskers.
Apart from Makoni as well as Johnathan Campbell (20), Davis Murwendo (14) and Dylan Hondo (11), no other Rangers batsman reached double figures.
John Nyumbu and Stephen Chimhamhiwa shared three wickets apiece, while Ernest Masuku claimed two.
Rangers however fought back with the ball, reducing Tuskers to 95 for five at stumps.
Charles Kunje contributed 29 runs to that total, while Arsh Jha and Brian Chari chipped in with 16 and 14 respectively.
At the close of play, Milton Shumba with 13 and Luke Jongwe 10 were still in, giving Tuskers hope to rebuild their first innings.
Campbell and Manson Chikowero finished the day with two wickets each.