SPIN bowler Tanatswa Bechani made a dream first-class cricket debut with a five wicket haul for defending champions Tuskers in their Logan Cup match against Eagles at Old Hararians yesterday.
The 25-year-old was in devastating form with bowling figures of 5-91 as the Bulawayo side held back their hosts for the most part of the game with some brilliant efforts in the field.
There were also two wickets each for Luke Jongwe and Sheunopa Musakwa before Eagles fought back late on from 155/8 to end their innings at 296 runs.
A ninth-wicket partnership between Faraz Akram and Tanaka Chivanga rescued Eagles after the pair put on 126 runs.
It was a remarkable fightback, especially coming from the bowlers as Chivanga scored a career best 69 in first-class cricket while Akram scored his fourth Logan Cup half ton with his 72 runs.
After they were put in to bat first, Eagles made a steady start as Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (39) and Kudzai Maunze (36) opened their innings with a partnership of 76 in 18 overs.
However, both were out in successive overs, leaving the job to Chamu Chibhabha and Nick Welch.
They put on 43 together before Welch was caught for 24 runs, off the spin of debutant Bechani, who then had Wessly Madhevere caught first ball.
At this point the middle order slumped badly, mainly to the bowling of Bechani, although Chibhabha himself was bowled by Charlton Tshuma for 27.
Eagles were in trouble when their eighth wicket went down at 155, but at this point Chivanga came in to join Akram at the crease.
Chivanga went into this match with a first-class career batting average of six and a highest score of 26 not out, but he seemed to decide that the only way for him to have a chance of making runs was to hit.
In another match played at Harare Sports Club, a fighting fifty from Shingi Masakadza rescued Mega Market Mountaineers from disaster to a score of 176 in their Logan Cup match against Southern Rocks.
The Mountaineers batting collapse against an inexperienced Rocks bowling line-up made a quite unexpected start to the match, after they had been sent in to bat.
Takudzwa Chataira was the pick of the Rocks bowlers with four wickets for 78 runs while Travor Mutsamba and Privilege Chesa finished with two wickets apiece.
All the players and match officials in Logan Cup action observed a moment of silence at the start of day one and are wearing black armbands as a mark of respect to the late cricket coach Shepherd Makunura.
At the time of his passing last Thursday, Makunura was doubling up as fielding coach with the Zimbabwe senior team and head coach at Southern Rocks. He was laid to rest at Warren Hills in Harare on Saturday.
The Logan Cup matches resume today.
Eagles – 296 all out in 77.5 overs (Faraz Akram 70*, Tanaka Chivanga 69, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 39; Tanatswa Bechani 5/91, Luke Jongwe 2/47, Sheunopa Musekwa 2/56)
Tuskers – 4-0 in 1 over (Nkosana Mpofu 3*, Tanunurwa Makoni 1*)
Day 1 – Stumps: Tuskers trail by 292 runs
Mega Market Mountaineers – 176 all out in 50.3 overs (Shingi Masakadza 55*, Ben Compton 45, Victor Nyauchi 34; Takudzwa Chataira 4/78, Travor Mutsamba 2/15, Priviledge Chesa 2/19)
Southern Rocks – 72-2 in 26 overs (Innocent Kaia 42, Brian Mudzinganyama 24*, Cephas Zhuwao 2; Donald Tiripano 1/10, Victor Nyauchi 1/20)
Day 1 – Stumps: Southern Rocks trail by 104 runs
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