Masuku’s five-for cuts short Rangers’ promising innings

Ernest Masuku

Rangers – 243 all out in 81 overs (Brian Mudzinganyama 68, Clive Imbayago 40, Johnathan Campbell 36; Ernest Masuku 5/23, Steve Chimhamhiwa 2/48, Shayne Nxumalo 2/73)

Tuskers – 113-4 in 40 overs (Charles Kunje 26*, Luke Jongwe 24*, Brian Chari 21; Kudakwashe Macheka 2/18, Davis Murwendo 1/24, Clive Chitumba 1/30)


Day 2 – Stumps: Tuskers trail by 130 runs


A fine return of five wickets for only 23 runs, his best return in first-class cricket, by Ernest Masuku for Tuskers cut short a promising innings by Rangers in their Logan Cup match at Harare Sports Club today.


Rangers, who passed 200 with only three wickets down, had their innings closed for 243, and by stumps Tuskers had scored 113 for four, which put the teams on fairly even terms after two days’ play.


The sky was still overcast but without the likelihood of imminent rain as Rangers resumed in the morning on their overnight score of 160 for three wickets, with Brian Mudzinganyama on 67 and Clive Imbayago six.


Mudzinganyama would have been run out — but uninjured — on 68 as the result of a mix-up between the batsmen, but for a poor throw.


The new Tuskers wicket-keeper, Allen Chigoma, collided badly with Mudzinganyama as he threw himself forward to get back in his crease, and both were injured.


The two players were taken by ambulance to hospital where they were both diagnosed with mild concussion.


Mudzinganyama also sustained facial cuts, while Chigoma was treated for soft tissue injury on his right shoulder.


It was 50 minutes before play could restart, with the score at 167, Marshal Takodza taking the place of Mudzinganyama at the crease, and Aarsh Jha keeping wicket for Tuskers.


Play was rather subdued for a long period, although Imbayago was nearly run out on 25 in the same way as Mudzinganyama should have been, except that the Tuskers fielder made an even worse mess of the throw-in which went nowhere near the stumps.


A few balls later, though, Takodza lost his wicket for 14, miscuing a drive off Shayne Nxumalo to mid-off, where the catch was well held by Masuku.


Imbayago began to push the score along more quickly after this, running well between wickets, but the lunch interval claimed him as a victim, as he edged the last ball before the break to the slips off Masuku to be out for 40; 223 for five.


Afterwards Alvin Chiradza lasted only three balls before being well yorked by Masuku without addition to the score.


Clive Chitumba was next to go, caught at the wicket off Steve Chimhamhiwa for 10, reducing the score to 228 for seven now.


Jha was getting plenty of work to do behind the stumps, as Davis Murwendo (4) was the next to edge a ball to him, also off Chimhamhiwa; 234 for eight.


The innings finally came to an end when Kuda Macheka was bowled by Masuku for four, giving a total of 243 all out, a disappointment for the Rangers after being 204 for three wickets at one stage.


Masuku did most of the damage from beginning to end, with his five wickets from 13 overs, and there were two wickets each for Chimhamhiwa and the debutant left-arm spinner Nxumalo.


Rangers soon struck back, though, as from the fourth ball of the Tuskers innings, without a run on the board, Jha was bowled by Macheka.


Brian Chari had scored six when he cut a ball from Macheka low to the gully, where Manson Chikowero claimed a low catch, which his team celebrated.


Chari refused to walk, though, and the umpires, after a long consultation, gave the benefit of the doubt to the batsman.


Chari only survived to make 21, though, when a good ball from Murwendo pierced his defence and bowled him out at 38 for two.


Two overs later, without a run added, Nkosana Mpofu, who had looked quite sound, cut a ball from Macheka uppishly into the gully, and this time there was no doubt about Chikowero’s catch.


Charles Kunje was now batting, partnered by Bright Phiri, who was now in the Tuskers team as a concussion substitute for the injured Chigoma.


Tuskers were looking none too good at tea with the score of 45 for three; Kunje had four and Phiri three.


Their partnership after tea was not particularly impressive and ended when Phiri was caught at the wicket off Chitumba for 14, making the total 60 for four.


Kunje played quite a passive innings, while Luke Jongwe was a little more active, but did not try to dominate the bowling.


However, their partnership grew steadily and they were still together when poor light brought the day’s play to a close soon after 5 pm, at 113 for four wickets.


Kunje was still there on 26, Jongwe on 24, and their partnership was now worth 53 runs as they live to fight another day.


Meanwhile, day two ended with Eagles on 92 for three, trailing Mountaineers by 372 runs, in the other Logan Cup match at Old Hararians.


The day started with Mountaineers adding 197 runs to their overnight score before their innings closed at 464, with centurion Joylord Gumbie contributing 137 runs to that total.


Roy Kaia and Wellington Masakadza chipped in with valuable knocks of 82 and 52 respectively.


Tony Munyonga, with a five-wicket haul, was easily Eagles’ most successful bowler, while Tapiwa Mufudza also impressed with four scalps of his own.


Eagles have, however, so far found the going tough with the bat, with their openers Rodney Mupfudza and Ashley Mufandauya scoring 27 and 19 respectively before they were both dismissed.


At the close of play, Tinashe Nenhunzi (18*) and the debutant Luke Oldknow (6*) were still standing and, trailing by 372 runs, the work is clearly cut out for Eagles as they seek to preserve their unbeaten run in the first-class competition.


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Byron Adonis Mutingwende