Tarisai Musakanda © AFP
Tarisai Musakanda © AFP

Tarisai Musakanda  played a brilliant innings of 75 not out to lead the Zimbabwe  Select team to a fine 41-run victory over Kenya  in Wednesday’s morning 20-over match at Old Hararians. At the start the sky was largely overcast as Kenya won the toss and put the Select in to bat. The Select soon lost Brian Chari, who skyed a catch off Lucas Oluoch to mid-off without scoring.

Two balls later Oluoch dismissed Bothwell Chapungu lbw for four, reducing the home side to five for two wickets in the second over. Musakanda, however, was in even more destructive mood than usual, hitting Nehemiah Odhiambo for three successive fours and then three boundaries in four balls off Oluoch; he hit 27 runs off the first nine balls he faced. The more sedate Kevin Kasuza was the first to go, though, skying a catch to mid-on for six, off the bowling of Oluoch, who then bowled Liam Roche second ball to make the score 44 for four after six overs.

Oluoch bowled his four overs off the reel, to finish with the figures of four for 29, 21 of those runs having been scored by Musakanda off 11 balls. His success was due to his accuracy and the extra bounce he was able to gain due to his height. Tafadzwa Tsiga for a while proved to be the partner Musakanda needed, and after 10 overs the score had reached 74 for four.

Tsiga then unwisely attempted a reverse sweep against the slow-medium Pushpak Kerai, and was dismissed lbw for 18 off 18 balls. With Donald Tiripano as his new partner, Musakanda reached his fifty off 29 balls and the team hundred came up after 14 overs. Tiripano grew in brilliance and scored 49 off 33 balls, being run out in the final over of the innings, after a partnership of 79 in nine overs with Musakanda.

The final score was 159 for six wickets, of which Musakanda scored 75 not out off just 45 balls, including nine fours. The Select opened their bowling with spin, but the Kenyan openers Dhiren Gondaria and Alex Obanda went after them, until Obanda (5) skyed a catch off the bowling of Rugare Magarira; 17 for one in the third over.

Gondaria (15) fell at 27, bowled by Magarira in attempting a big hit, but the danger man was Rakep Patel, the Kenyan match-winner in their previous match against the Board XI. Chris Mpofu came on to bowl Rushab Patel for three, and Rakep Patel, after playing himself in, holed out on the boundary off Magarira after scoring 11 off 18 balls.

At 37 for four off nine overs, the match was as good as over now. Gurdeep Singh and Collins Obuya batted attractively to put on 51 runs at eight an over, but this was not enough to revive any hopes of victory. Mpofu had Singh caught at the wicket for 25 and Tiripano bowled Obuya for 26, and the innings closed at 118 for seven, giving the Select side a very comfortable victory by 41 runs.