ZIMBABWE’S domestic season got off to a slow start with rusty batsmen finding the bowlers hostile and dominating as they failed to get runs on the opening day of the country’s premier domestic one-day competition on Saturday.
In the day’s main match in Harare, defending champions Mashonaland Eagles needed just 118 minutes to bowl out a new-look MidWest Rhinos side for a measly 118 runs in 43 overs.
After being put in to bat, the Rhinos never recovered properly from their top-order collapse.
Most of the damage was done by the right-arm seamer Admire Manyumwa, who reduced the Rhinos to 37 for six.
Neville Madziva and Remembrance Nyathi resisted to take the score past 100, but the Rhinos were bowled out with seven overs to spare.
However, with victory seemingly in-sight, Mashonaland Eagles batsmen almost floundered, losing their first five wickets for 75 runs as the Rhinos bowlers dug deep.
In the end they needed a defiant knock of 43 runs from Chamu Chibhabha to get over the line in 42 overs as they finished on 199 for seven.
Mashonaland Eagles coach Stephen Mangongo admitted that his batsmen needed to take a different approach to their Logan Cup match against the same opponents starting at Harare Sports Club today.
“First-class cricket will test the batsman’s technique and patience so these are the two aspects we are emphasising. Our top three batsmen will need to occupy the crease for longer periods,” Mangongo said.
In another low-scoring game, at Masvingo Sports Club, hosts Southern Rocks needed a combined bowling performance to defend a meagre 140 against Matabeleland Tuskers.
Tuskers, who will open the defence of their Logan Cup title against the same opponents today, were bowled out for 129 runs while chasing 140 runs.
Earlier Rocks skipper Richard Mutumbami had resisted with 45, but he and the rest succumbed to the seam duo of Tawanda Mupariwa and Christopher Mpofu, who shared seven wickets between them.
However, Tuskers could not take advantage of the superb display by their bowlers as their batsmen couldn’t convert their good starts.