Zimbabwe’s domestic first-class competition finally kicked off on Wednesday – a day after it was slated to thanks to yet another player strike.
Defending champions Mountaineers are up against it at the halfway stage of their match in Bulawayo, with Matabeleland Tuskers benefiting from Sean Williams’ controversial omission from the Test side currently touring Bangladesh.
Williams followed up his century in the Pro50 Championship fixture at the weekend with another three figure score as Tuskers ended on 298 for six in reply to Mountaineers’ 158. Williams and Keith Dabengwa shared 166 for the third-wicket following the loss of Nkosana Mpofu, who again impressed with a steady 37. Dabengwa passed 4,000 first-class runs in completing the seventh century of his career, while Williams was first to reach the seventh of his career off 144 balls. New signing Bert Chikomba then picked up a couple of wickets late in the day as Tuskers reached stumps on 298 for six.
Day one had been a tale of woe for the visitors as their top-order failed to fire and were blown away by a strong pace attack led by Brian Vitori (2-55) and Steve Chimhamhiwa (2-24). Wicket-keeper Kudzai Sauramba top-scored with an unbeaten 42, with Tawanda Mupariwa wrapping up the tail to end with three for 33.
The contest in Harare is more evenly poised, with Mid West Rhinos closing on 56 for one in their second innings to trail Mashonaland Eagles by just 25 runs.
Rhinos recovered from the torrid position of 53 for five on day one to notch 228 after choosing to bat. Bothwell Chapungu and Mark Mbofana both hit half-centuries to help undo some of the earlier good work from Eagles seamers Taurai Muzarabani and Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa.
Eagles openers Simba Gupo and Chamu Chibhabha then put on 117 for the first-wicket in reply, but the middle-order of Kudzai Maunze (35), skipper Greg Lamb (33) and Tino Mutombodzi (35) couldn’t capitalise on promising starts and their lead was restricted to 81. Overseas pro Bradley Wadlan was the pick of the bowlers with three for 49, while Neville Madziva – who will, along with his captain Peter Moor, join the squad in Bangladesh ahead of their One-Day International series – and Kyle Jarvis picked up a couple of wickets apiece.
He worked for CricketWorld.com for almost three years, leading their county and domestic cricket coverage and contributing to a book about the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, before joining the hugely ambitious World Cricket Badger early in 2014.
The first Test that he remembers watching was on Channel 4 - back before the ECB marginalised potential future fans by selling the TV rights to Sky Sports - when England beat Pakistan by an innings and nine runs at Lord’s.
Besides a passion for domestic cricket, he also has an unexplainable interest in all things Zimbabwe cricket!
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