Tuskers – 214 all out in 57.4 overs (Nkosana Mpofu 79, Luke Jongwe 61, Charles Kunje 38; Richard Ngarava 3/42, Tapiwa Mufudza 3/67, Faraz Akram 2/30)
Eagles – 83-7 in 30 overs (Rodney Mupfudza 21, Kudzai Maunze 17, Tony Munyonga 8; Luke Jongwe 2/9, Stephen Chimhamhiwa 2/13, John Nyumbu 1/8)
Day 1 – Stumps: Eagles trail by 131 runs
Luke Jongwe continued his return to the cricket spotlight in Zimbabwe with a fine all-round performance for Tuskers in their Logan Cup match against Eagles at Harare Sports Club today.
First he, together with Nkosana Mpofu, who scored 79, formed the backbone of a fragile Tuskers innings, scoring 61 out of a total of 214.
Then, when Eagles went in, he took two wickets in succession to help towards an Eagles collapse that has seriously threatened their 100 percent record of victories in the competition so far.
At the end of the day Eagles were gasping for air with a score of 83 for seven wickets, still 131 behind their opponents.
There seems to be little point in tossing a coin when Eagles play at home, because they always seem to win it and put their opponents in to bat, and this happened again today.
The weather was bright and sunny, while the pitch and ground appeared to be in fine condition.
Richard Ngarava opened the bowling to Mpofu, who steered his first delivery backward of point for two runs.
At the other end Aarsh Jha faced Faraz Akram, and snicked his third delivery straight to third slip to be out without scoring.
The catcher was Ashley Mufandauya, making his first-class début, and this was the best possible way for him to have his first significant touch of the ball on the field.
Brian Chari was in next, and played a few good strokes, most notably a superb drive for four off Akram, but this bowler struck back with a lethal yorker when Chari had made 14, the score now being 23 for two.
Mpofu reached double figures after 50 minutes at the crease, while Charles Kunje soon announced his arrival by hitting Akram for two fours in his next over.
Runs began to come quickly, even from Mpofu, as the two settled in, with Kunje scoring all his first 20 runs in boundaries.
Tuskers were riding high just before lunch, with the score at 93 for two as Tapiwa Mufudza bowled the final over before the interval.
With a rush of blood to the head, Kunje (38) went for a Bridges sweep against a straight ball, and was bowled, a great blow for his team.
Mpofu, 40 not out at the break, was still batting well, and the pair had added 70.
Afterwards Cunningham Ncube was fortunate to get off the mark with a snick off Ngarava that should have been caught but instead went for a streaky four.
It was not an expensive miss, however, as in the next over he miscued a ball from Mufudza and was caught at mid-on for six; 101 for four.
Mpofu, who soon reached his fifty off 84 balls, was joined by Milton Shumba, who crashed Ngarava square to the off-side boundary for four.
Later in the over, however, he played forward to a good-length ball and somehow unaccountably missed it to be bowled, with just five runs to his credit.
Tuskers were sliding badly now at 114 for five as Jongwe came in.
Mpofu suddenly started batting as if the number 11 was in with him, moving down the pitch to Mufudza and lofting him for two boundaries over mid-on, causing the bowler to put his fielders back.
Ngarava unleashed a vicious bouncer that smashed into the side of Jongwe’s helmet as he tried to duck.
Fortunately the batsman, who had collapsed, was able to resume his innings after a few minutes, but had to change his helmet.
The partnership developed well, though, with both batsmen playing fine cricket, and they put on 62 runs together when they were much needed.
The stand was ended when Mpofu called for a single off Cuthbert Musoko, only to be run out by a brilliant direct hit on the stumps at the bowler’s end from Mufudza.
He scored 79 off 125 balls, with nine fours, and showed better form than he has done for a long time; 176 for six.
Ernest Masuku stuck around a while with Jongwe to score two, before he fenced outside the off stump to a ball from Musoko and was caught at the wicket; 189 for seven.
Jongwe was batting most impressively, with much more maturity and determination than he usually showed in past seasons, and reached his 50 in fine style off 60 balls.
John Nyumbu now played a defensive game to allow Jongwe to score his runs, but the interval again proved fatal: Nyumbu (2) played back to Ngarava and was trapped lbw to make the score 207 for eight at the break, with Jongwe still there with 58.
Jongwe was in his usual position now with Tuskers this season, batting well and in danger of running out of partners, as Steve Chimhamhiwa joined him.
In the second over of the final session, he drove Ngarava into the covers and was out to a low catch for 61, scored off 78 balls in very good style.
In the next over the innings came to an end at 214, as Chimhamhiwa (3) also drove an off-side catch, leaving Sheu Musekwa not out with one.
There were three wickets each to Ngarava and Mufudza, while Akram, who took the first two, did a most valuable job.
Eagles caused a surprise by introducing a new opening pair in Tony Munyonga and Mufandauya, who faced up to the bowling of Chimhamhiwa and Musekwa.
It did not last long, as Mufandauya, after scoring a single, tried to pull a short ball from Musekwa, but was beaten for pace and lobbed a simple catch to midwicket; 14 for one.
Munyonga followed immediately, driving at the wrong ball from Chimhamhiwa and dragging the ball on to his stumps off the bottom of the bat; he scored eight.
Another debutant in Rodney Mupfudza now joined Kudzai Maunze at the crease.
The batsmen held firm for several overs for a few runs before Maunze began to settle in and play his strokes, at one stage hitting Masuku for three fours in four balls.
He became too adventurous, though, and in the next over he tried to drive a ball from Chimhamhiwa outside his off stump, but only edged a catch into the slips; he scored 17 and Eagles were 38 for three.
In the next over Tinashe Nenhunzi went for a single, caught in the slips off a lifting ball from Masuku, and Tuskers were certainly now in the driving seat.
Mupfudza concentrated on survival for a long time, but then began to play more confidently, hitting two fours in an over from Masuku, who seemed to be sacrificing accuracy for pace.
His new partner, Patrick Mambo, was entirely defensive as Tuskers strained to drive home their advantage.
Mupfudza was finally deceived and bowled by Nyumbu for 21, a fighting and promising innings, with the total at 69 for five wickets.
Mambo followed almost immediately, as Jongwe returned to the centre of the stage and had him caught in the gully for eight, followed two balls later by the new batsman, Mufudza, caught at short leg; Eagles were reeling at 69 for seven.
Akram and Musoko saw out the day safely, with eight and four respectively in a score of 83 for seven wickets, and it will be a test of Eagles’ stature as possible new Logan Cup champions to see how they handle their unexpected disaster tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Tarisai Musakanda and Remembrance Nyathi both scored centuries to put Rhinos firmly in charge on day one of their Logan Cup match against Rangers at Old Hararians.
After winning the toss and electing to field, Rangers enjoyed early success as they dismissed Cephas Zhuwao (10), Trevor Chibvongodze (4) and PJ Moor (0) within the first 14 overs and with the total score at 34.
However, Musakanda and Nyathi put on a 175-run stand for the fourth wicket that rescued Rhinos’ innings.
Musakanda was eventually dismissed for 108, with 16 boundaries, off 213 deliveries.
At the close of play, Nyathi was still unbeaten on 109, with the total being 271 for five.
Davis Murwendo and Clive Chitumba shared two wickets apiece, while Kudakwashe Macheka claimed the other one.