Rangers frustrate Tuskers to earn deserved draw

Logan Cup

Rangers – 243 and 241 all out in 83.5 overs (Marshal Takodza 60, Davis Murwendo 46, Tanunurwa Makoni 45; Steve Chimhamhiwa 3/53, Luke Jongwe 2/20, Ernest Masuku 2/26)

Tuskers – 292 and 123-3 in 14.3 overs (Brian Chari 51, Milton Shumba 30*, Nkosana Mpofu 27; Manson Chikowero 2/15, Davis Murwendo 1/36)


Match drawn

Marshal Takodza and Davis Murwendo saved the match for Rangers against Tuskers on the final day of their Logan Cup match at Harare Sports Club today, with a fighting eighth-wicket partnership of 102 runs that eventually earned them a draw.


Before this pair came together defeat looked almost certain after a collapse of the earlier batting, but when they left after 35 overs at the crease together they had set Tuskers a target that was too difficult for them to attain in the circumstances.


Tuskers made a gallant attempt to score 193 to win in 23 overs, but inevitably the light did not hold good for long enough for a result to be possible.


The final day’s play began with Rangers, having finished 49 runs in arrears on the first innings, at 32 without loss in their second innings and, barring extraordinary events, with only a draw to play for.


The batsmen at the crease were Daniel Zvidzai on 10 and Tanunurwa Makoni on 20.


Zvidzai surrendered his wicket immediately, aiming a sweep at the fourth ball of the morning, bowled by Shayne Nxumalo, and being trapped lbw with no addition to the score.


Makoni, noted mostly this season for his stern defensive qualities, showed more attacking strokes than usual, while Alvin Chiradza, after a painfully slow start, also played his shots well.


Soon they had wiped off the deficit, and it appeared that Rangers were perhaps making an attempt at an unlikely victory.


Chiradza made 19 before he tried to hook a short ball from Steve Chimhamhiwa and was caught down the leg side by the wicketkeeper; 74 for two.


Johnathan Campbell made a dashing start to his innings, scoring 18 runs off the first nine balls he faced, including a hook for six over fine leg off Sheu Musekwa.


It was a short and merry life for him, as he fell victim to the magic arm of Luke Jongwe, who came on and had him well caught low down at second slip by Brian Chari for 27 off 25 balls; 105 for three.


Makoni, who had slowed down in the forties, soon followed at 111 for four, caught in the covers in Jongwe’s next over for 45, his highest score in first-class cricket.


Only 62 runs on and with four wickets down, the Rangers innings was now at a crossroads, with defeat a real possibility.


Clive Imbayago and Takodza obviously appreciated the situation and began their innings with care.


Unfortunately it did not work well for Imbayago, as he played a ball from Chimhamhiwa on to his stumps for 10, making the score 119 for five.


Clive Chitumba scored five, but then tried to drive a ball from Nkosana Mpofu, bowling his rare off-breaks, back over his head, and stood astonished to see the bowler take a flying leap to his right and bring off a brilliant one-handed catch; 125 for six.


The collapse continued as Dylan Hondo was bowled by Nxumalo without scoring, and Rangers went in to lunch on 133 for seven, with only three remaining batsmen to support Takodza, who had a dogged nine off 41 balls.


After the break, though, Murwendo provided solid defence in partnership with Takodza.


In contrast to most of the earlier batsmen, they took no risks but played solid, sensible cricket and rarely appeared troubled by the bowlers.


Throughout the afternoon they batted on, and nothing the Tuskers could do would move them.


Just before tea Takodza reached a well-deserved fifty, which took him 132 balls.


They batted throughout the entire afternoon session and at tea had almost made the match safe, with the score at 222 for seven wickets; Takodza now had 54 and Murwendo, after a rightly slow and cautious start, 37.


Murwendo fell for 46 soon after tea, lbw to Chimhamhiwa after a superb partnership of 102; 232 for eight.


Murwendo had faced 97 balls and hit four fours in his excellent fighting innings.


At this point the official figures were that Rangers were 183 ahead with 30 overs minimum to play, so even if the innings ended here, Tuskers would have a very difficult task to win.


Kuda Macheka was next man in, but six runs later Takodza fell, caught in the covers off Chimhamhiwa for 60 — 161 balls and five fours at 238 for nine.


Ideally for Rangers, the last pair of Macheka and Manson Chikowero would bat out a few overs to make defeat quite impossible.


They managed three overs, taking the score to 241 before Masuku removed Chikowero lbw without scoring, leaving Macheka not out with three.


Chimhamhiwa with three wickets for 52 runs was the most successful bowler, while there were two wickets each for Nxumalo, Masuku and Jongwe.


Tuskers trudged off the field with the air of men apparently resigned to the fact that their chance had gone; their target was 193 in 23 overs, more than eight runs per over — not impossible, but very difficult, especially as the light would be dubious later on.


However, Chari and Mpofu from the start set about the task with the clear intention of making an attempt on this target, attacking every ball they could.


Chari perhaps was the one man capable of playing the brilliant innings necessary to reach victory, and in the second over he pulled a ball from Chitumba over the square-leg boundary for six, and then drove his next ball over extra cover for another.


Rangers soon had eight men on the boundary, four guarding each side, although this meant almost every hit would bring at least a single, and after three overs the score was 31 without loss.


Considerable time was lost through the fielders having to search for the ball for two sixes by Chari that went behind the stands at long leg.


The inexperienced bowlers did bowl some very deceptive balls that the batsmen missed, but also some very wild ones, while an injury to Chitumba, who collided with Chari, ate up more time.


There was some superb fielding by many of the Rangers players, but with the absence of closer fielders runs were coming off almost every ball.


After eight overs the score was 77, but with the overcast sky and the slow over rate time was against the Tuskers.


The opening stand ended at 82, in the 10th over, when Mpofu, sweeping at a straight ball from Chikowero, was trapped lbw for 27, scored off 31 balls, a good innings for his team.


Milton Shumba was sent in next.


Chari reached his 50 off 29 balls, but then was caught at long-on by Makoni for 51, to the jubilation of the fielding side.


Tuskers were now 97 for two, halfway there, in the 12th over — also halfway.


Charles Kunje joined Shumba, who was batting with good judgment, but Kunje was caught at long-on for one; 113 for three.


Shumba and Jongwe now were scoring off almost every ball but, in the 14th over with the score 123 for three, the umpires called a halt to the game owing to bad light just before 5.15 pm.


Both sides accepted the inevitable; some may have argued the light was still playable at this stage, but it was certain that it would become too bad before a result could be reached.


Shumba had again batted particularly well in scoring 30 not out off 19 balls, and his class as a batsman of the future is very evident now at Logan Cup level.


Meanwhile, Eagles’ unbeaten run finally came to an end at the hands of the defending champions, Mountaineers, who romped home by an innings and 97 runs at Old Hararians.














































About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende