Logan Cup 2016-17: Joylord Gumbie’s half-century allows Eagles to get off to steady start

Harare Metropolitan Eagles enjoyed a good batting day at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday, running up 254 for the loss of five wickets against their traditional rivals, Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers. A fine innings of 77 by Joylord Gumbie laid the foundation, while four other batsmen passed 30 the home team s position would have been still better had they applied themselves to go and make really high scores. There was much good bowling from Tuskers, with the off-spinner John Nyumbu claiming three wickets, while Steve Chimhamhiwa briefly set back the Harare team with two wickets in quick succession. Logan Cup 2016-17: Mutombodzi s half-century puts Eagles in driving seat

It was a bright sunny morning, with some cloud, after heavy overnight rain, when Eagles won the toss and decided to bat on a pitch with patchy green areas, but which turned out to be very favourable to the batsmen. Tuskers again had to go into this match without Sean Williams and Craig Ervine, both still nursing injuries. Gumbie and Chamu Chibhabha opened the Eagles batting against the accurate bowling of Thabo Mboyi and Chris Mpofu, and scored four runs, including a leg-bye, off the first five overs as they played themselves in with great care. Chibhabha then decided he had settled, and cracked Mpofu for 10 runs in an over, including two handsome off-side drives for four. Zimbabwe’s First-Class competition Logan Cup set to resume from January 17

Gumbie took longer to find his fluency, but then scored more freely, at one point tipping bouncers from Mpofu skilfully over the wicketkeeper for four, twice in the same over. When drinks were taken after the first hour, the score had reached 45 without loss, Gumbie on 26 and Chibhabha 17. The runs flowed freely until, with the total at 79 Nyumbu perhaps belatedly came on to bowl, and Chibhabha (34), always less comfortable against spin, unaccountably dabbed the second ball he faced from him gently into the hands of slip. Logan Cup 2016: Tuskers vs Rhinos match ends early over contract dispute

The score at lunch was 89 for one, with Gumbie hitting Nyumbu for a six over midwicket and a three to reach his fifty off 79 balls; Regis Chakabva had faced 12 balls without scoring. After the break, Chakabva finally got off the mark when he cut his 18th ball, from Mboyi, to the boundary. Another four by Chakabva off Mboyi, this time off the edge past the slips, brought up Eagles hundred after 30 overs. Logan Cup 2016: Cremer s ton rescues Rhinos from rampaging Tuskers

Gumbie, on 58, should have been run out as he attempted a highly risky single to mid-on, but the fielder missed the stumps while he was still short of his crease. Otherwise Gumbie and Chakabva, two of the shorter batsmen in cricket, thrived together and looked thoroughly in control during their partnership. Again it took the reluctant bowler Nyumbu to break the stand, after it had put on 67 runs, as Gumbie miscued a sweep and lobbed a catch to square leg, having scored 77 off 127 balls; 146 for two. Wayne James sets First-Class record for most dismissals

Ryan Burl, uncharacteristically tentative, made only three, as Chimhamhiwa produced a fine delivery that moved away from him, and he was caught at the wicket; 157 for three. Sikandar Raza was almost lbw to Chimhamhiwa first ball, but Chakabva was next to go, as he edged another good delivery from Chimhamhiwa low to slip for 37; 170 for three. At tea the score had reached 175 for four, with Raza on 11 and Tino Mutombodzi yet to score.

Only 50 overs had been bowled in two full sessions, an inexcusably poor over rate by Tuskers. After tea the sky was completely cloudy, but with no sign yet of imminent rain. The pair, with Raza obviously limping, brought up the 200 in the 56th over. Obviously quick singles were out of the question, but the pair batted soundly together and kept the score ticking over with well-judged strokes.

They added 73 in 19 overs before Raza, who was naturally unable to use his feet much against spin, skyed a big hit to leg and the catch was taken by the bowler, Nyumbu. He had made 37 and the score was now 243 for five. Earlier in the day there had been a good partnership between two short batsmen, Gumbie and Chakabva; now we had together the tall lean pair of Mutombodzi and Nathan Waller.

At 4:38 the light deteriorated enough for the umpires to take the players from the field, with the score 254 for five after 72.2 overs; Mutombodzi had 45 and Waller three. Minutes later rain started falling, and the match was abandoned for the day.