March 24, 2009 - May 8, 2009
The Logan Cup of 2008-09 was one team shorter this year, with Southerns being disbanded - the beneficiary being Centrals.
All matches were played in Harare, with the games being split between Harare Sports Club, the Academy grounds, and for the first team in several years Alexandra Sports Club and Old Hararians Sports Club got the opportunity to host First Class cricket.
The tournament got off to an almighty bang - almost. In the Westerns vs Easterns clash at the academy grounds, Westerns batted first and were dismissed for a paultry 156. Douglas Hondo marked his First Class return with 2/40 from 14 overs. In their first innings reply, Easterns showed they meant business this season with no less than four of their batsmen scoring centuries. Hamilton Masakadza, the Easterns captain, struck 107. Stuart Matsikenyeri bettered that with 111. Forster Mutizwa - who has scored a century in each of the previous two Logan Cup tournaments - added 124, while Steven Nyamuzinga's 120 brought his First Class tally to 2 centuries. The partnership of 207 for the sixth wicket between Mutizwa and Nyamuzinga ultimately became the highest for the tournament. Declaring on 9/541, Easterns registered an easy win. Missing the services of Mark Vermeulen and Mark Mabuza who were on tour with Zimbabwe A, Westerns were all out for just 110 in the second innings.
Not to be outdone, as is the case with the Northerns vs Easterns rivalry, in game nine Northerns posted their own 500+ score. Thanks to 131 from Regis Chakabva, 95 from Brendan Taylor and 92 from Tatenda Taibu, Northerns declared on 9/510 and went on to win the match by an innings and 290 runs against Centrals.
What was impressive about this Logan Cup compared to previous years was the number of century makers - an indication that the standards have risen. There were 12 hundreds scored, and a further 4 scores in the nineties. All teams ended the tournament with a century maker: Bernard Mlambo, Hamilton Masakadza (x2), Stuart Matsikenyeri (x2), Forster Mutizwa, Steven Nyamuzinga for Easterns; Regis Chakabva for Northerns; Mark Mabuza, Charles Coventry, Sean Williams for Westerns; Remembrance Nyathi with a perfect 100, scored on May 8, the final day of the tournament, for Centrals. Disappointing were the lack of large average-boosting "not out" scores. The highest unbeaten score was 68* by Malcolm Waller for Centrals against Easterns.
The tournament was a coming of age for Malcolm Waller, who despite not registering any centuries, managed 6 half-centuries and over 500 runs for the series, making him the leading run scorer. His consistency brought him back into international contention after an up-and-down ODI series against Kenya.
While a lot of batsmen - including non-international players - had impressive tournaments, it was largely the "usual culprits" who led the way with the ball. It was Zimbabwe's spin trio that caused the most damage with Prosper Utseya, Ray Price and Graeme Cremer leading the wicket taking charts with 30, 29 and 27 wickets respectively. Shingirai Masakadza who had been developing strongly for 2 seasons was the leading seam-up bowler with 24 wickets, followed by national team allrounder Elton Chigumbura with 23. Admire Manyumwa was the most impressive of the fast bowlers with 3 five wicket haults, earning him 19 wickets for the series at an average of 17.36. Ed Rainsford played only 3 matches, but snared 16 wickets for his effort. Natsai Mushangwe, the young legspinner, in his debut series took 14 wickets and will be an integral part of the Easterns plans in coming years.
Charles Coventry was this years surprise packet on the wicket taking list. The wicketkeeper took the gloves off for 5 overs against Centrals on the final day of the tournament, and despite conceding over 5 runs an over managed to take a wicket - bringing his career tally to 2. The unlucky batsman was Remembrance Nyathi who was caught and bowled by Coventry on 100.
It was a good tournament for the wicket keepers. Mutizwa, Chakabva and Coventry all managed centuries - putting immense pressure on an out of form Tatenda Taibu who despite trailing Mutizwa only narrowly in overall dismissals for the series (21 to Mutizwa and 20 to Taibu), averaged only 34.00 with the bat compared to Mutizwa's 49.66.
Brendan Taylor made an appearance in one match for Northerns, and his 95 put him back in contention for national team selection.
The most unfortunate news to come from the series was the injury to Mark Vermeulen which disrupted his comeback. He only managed to play 2 matches from a possible 6, after injuring his hand taking a catch at slips against Centrals in early April. Meanwhile, Centrals players Bright Mugochi and Tarisai Mahlunge made successful comebacks after having initially left Zimbabwe to play in South Africa in late 2008.
Northerns, Easterns, Westerns, Centrals
Only Hamilton Masakadza and Ray Price held on to their positions from the 2007-08 season, although Graeme Cremer makes a return to the list after making the cut for the 2006-07 Logan Cup.
Malcolm Waller was the undisputed star of the 2008-09 Logan Cup. With pressure on him to perform after heroics against Bangladesh and then an indifferent series against Kenya he played with maturity and composure. His 11 innings saw scores of 69, 73, 6, 68*, 81, 17, 4, 85, 5, 61, 34, showing that if you do not dismiss him early he will push on to make big scores.
He ended the series with 503 runs at 50.30 at a strike rate of 51.16. Waller came of age in this tournament, and could be an integral part of the Zimbabwean team when they return to Test cricket. In the meantime, he will be hoping his strong First Class performances translate to the same success in the ODI matches.
After bursting on to the international scene against Kenya by averaging over 40 and batting at a strike rate of nearly 135, the pressure was on Mutizwa to perform in the domestic competition - and perform he did, with 124 in the opening match. He added a further 5 half centuries, making he along with Malcolm Waller, the leading batsmen in terms of number of scores over 50.
Mutizwa scored 447 runs at a touch below 50 (49.66), but continued his high scoring rate batting at a strike rate of 70.39. Only Steven Nyamuzinga (239 runs at 34.14, SR of 73.08) and Cephas Zhuwawo (184 runs at 20.44, SR 72.15) scored their runs faster than Forster Mutizwa.
Two five wicket hauls - and two match figures better than ten wickets - allowed Prosper Utseya to make a late charge and lead the most wickets list at the conclusion of the Logan Cup. Ray Price appeared to have the award all sealed up, but eventually Utseya pipped him by a solitary wicket.
With 30 wickets at 14.23 (economy 2.20), Utseya demonstrated his wicket taking ability. This has been lacking at international level, but that threatens to change.
Utseya has been trying to better the other side of his game - his last two ODI innings at this point had seen scores of 68* and 51*, and he had struck a First Class century against a strong South African select side - but unfortunately things didn't come off for the national team captain in this tournament. His 157 runs came at 15.70 with a highest score of 36.
He only ended the tournament with 19 wickets - well short of the 30 by tally leader Prosper Utseya - but what Admire Manyumwa achieved was arguably far greater; he brought fast bowling back to life for Zimbabwe cricket fans. It is still unknown how fast he actually bowls - some reports say he is in the low 130's, while others say he is the fastest in the country. Regardless, his 3 five wicket hauls - one against each of the opposition sides - demonstrated he was capable of big performances.
Against Westerns, he took 5/15 from 18.2 overs. Against Easterns it was 5/19 from 14.4 overs, and against Centrals it was 5/25 from 9.5 overs. All of a sudden Zimbabwe's depth in fast bowling stocks has become greater, and with Trevor Garwe's poor tournament (7 wickets from 5 matches at 42.28), Manyumwa could soon find himself competing alongside Shingirai Masakadza - who doesn't bowl as fast as Manyumwa - for a position in the national squad.
The experience of Ray Price continues to get opposition batsmen into trouble. His economy rate was the most telling statistic of all - his 219.2 overs came at 1.83 apiece. With 29 wickets overall at 13.86, along with Utseya's 30 and Cremer's 27, it shows that Zimbabwean batsmen are still struggling to cope with good quality spin bowling.
In one match against Centrals, Price took 5/6 - he ended the match with figures of 9/34.
His highest score was 77, overall he scored 240 runs at 21.81.
After a remarkable debut ODI series in Kenya where he took 15 wickets, Graeme Cremer didn't take his foot off the accelerator for one second in the 2008-09 Logan Cup. Knowing that he needed to perform at a high standard with both bat and ball in order to be selected as the third spinner, Cremer took 27 wickets at 21.59 (economy 2.70) and complemented that with 253 runs at 25.30, with a highest score of 74.
His ability as a legspinner was never in doubt, but in order to break into the Zimbabwe first eleven full time it is almost expected that he will need to play as an allrounder so as to not affect the balance of the team. With this Logan Cup performance, Cremer can safely assume the position of number two allrounder in the country behind Elton Chigumbura.
Masakadza almost flew under the radar. His 467 runs at 46.70, including 2 centuries, were overshadowed by the impressive performances of his teammate Forster Mutizwa who captured the imagination of cricket fans, and Malcolm Waller who demonstrated maturity beyond his years. As the winning captain, Masakadza played a large role in the success of his team.
Game 1: Easterns def. Westerns by an innings and 275 runs
Game 2: Northerns def. Centrals by 3 wickets
Game 3: Easterns drew with Centrals
Game 4: Northerns def. Westerns by 269 runs
Game 5: Centrals def. Westerns by 9 wickets
Game 6: Easterns def. Northerns by 2 wickets
Game 7: Easterns def. Westerns by 56 runs
Game 8: Northerns def. Centrals by an innings and 290 runs
Game 9: Easterns def. Centrals by an innings and 9 runs
Game 10: Northerns def. Westerns by 2 wickets
Game 11: Centrals drew with Westerns
Game 12: Easterns def. Northerns by 1 wicket
|------------------------------------------------| | # Team Pl W L D Pts | |------------------------------------------------| | 1. Easterns 6 5 0 1 87 | | 2. Northerns 6 4 2 0 77 | | 3. Centrals 6 1 3 2 45 | | 4. Westerns 6 0 5 1 33 | |------------------------------------------------|
It came down to the last match of the tournament - Easterns vs Northerns - to decide the overall winner. Easterns won the epic clash by 1 wicket in a low scoring affair thanks to an unbeaten 23 by Shingirai Masakadza chasing 155. Northerns almost pulled off an amazing victory thanks to clever captaincy by Elton Chigumbura, who used his most attacking bowlers to great effect (E Chigumbura 19-2-36-2, AG Cremer 24.3-4-57-4).
Northerns: B Taylor, T Garwe, E Chigumbura, T Taibu, P Masvaure, R Chakabva, G Cremer, A Manyumwa, R Price, C Zhuwawo, S Mwakayeni, P Charumbira, I Senzere, D Mazhawidza, C Mutombodzi, T Mufambisi, K Kondo, T Manasa
Easterns: F Mutizwa, H Masakadza, S Matsikenyeri, T Maruma, B Mlambo, S Nyamuzinga, D Hondo, J Marumisa, P Utseya, S Masakadza, T Mawoyo, D Tiripano, N Mushangwe, S Mujaji, P Kadziche, S Musoso
Westerns: S Williams, C Coventry, T Ngulube, K Dabengwa, M Mabuza, T Mupariwa, F Takarusenga, M Vermeulen, T Mboyi, T Madhiri, M Dube, C Mpofu, J Nyumbu, R Kasawaya, N Ncube
Centrals: R Nyathi, M Waller, C Chibhabha, T Mahlunge, E Rainsford, T Chisoro, T Chitongo, T Kamungozi, B Chapungu, R Mutumbami, A Tichana, B Mugochi, R Kahiya, E Chauluka, R Chinyengetere, K Maunze, F Kasteni, S Gupo, T Muzarabani, M Chinouya, B Moyo, B Vitori, B Mahwire