|Scorecard:||Matabeleland v Manicaland|
GREGORY Strydom cracked a double century while skipper Mluleki Nkala scored a half-century as Matabeleland recovered from a slow start to post a commendable total on the first day of their rain affected Logan Cup inter-provincial match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Friday.
Strydom scored 216 off 140 balls with 35 fours and six sixes and stood at the crease for 204 minutes while Nkala scored 84 runs off 137 balls with 13 fours as Matabeleland, who lost the toss and were sent in to bat scored 383 for the loss of six wickets.
The 19-year-old Strydom who was expelled at the CFX Academy last year beat his personal batting record which previously stood at 83 not out, a score he achieved against Mashonaland A at Queens in April 2002.
Matabeleland got off to a dreadful slow start with their openers Wisdom Siziba and Tinashe Hove, who made his four day seemed content with blocking most of the deliveries which came their way. The two put up 45 runs for the first wicket before Siziba was clean bowled by left arm seamer Allan Mwayenga for 17, which came off 83 balls with only one four in 94 minutes. Zimbabwe opener Mark Vermeulen opened his account with a four off Mwayenga before he fell to the same bowler without adding to that score when Innocent Chinyoka caught him.
Strydom joined Hove in the hunt for the runs and the runs score rate started ticking with Strydom being the aggressive of the two. The two put up 50 for the third wicket with Strydom contributing 40 runs for the partnership. Hove departed when he fell to Gary Brent, caught behind by Neil Ferreira for 27, which came off 81 deliveries. Nkala came onto the crease and joined in Matabeleland s hunt for the runs. Strydom got his half-century from just 26 balls with 11 fours in 36 minutes.
The home side went to lunch on 122 for the loss of three wickets in 35 overs. Start of play was delayed by 65 minutes as rains pounded the pitch and nine overs were lost during that time.
Strydom went on to punish Manicaland for their lose bowling and fielding with and rained the runs from almost over the pitch. He got his century in dramatic style when he cut a delivery from Blessing Mahwire on 99 and Chinyoka in the slips dropped him and he completed a single to reach his milestone. Strydom had faced 60 balls then, despatching 28 fours and one six while at the crease for 85 minutes.
He went on to get 150 from 96 balls with 28 fours and two sixes in 136 minutes. Nkala reached his half-century from 82 balls with nine fours in 110 minutes at the crease.
Andre Soma was brought in to bowl and removed both Strydom and Nkala in the same over. First to go was Strydom who skied a simple catch for Rangarirai Manyande while Nkala was clean bowled through the off stump.
Mbekezeli Mabuza, also making his four-day debut scored only two runs before he was adjudged leg before wicket to off spinner Prosper Utseya.
When the rains stopped play Keith Dabengwa and Tawanda Mupariwa were the batsmen at the crease on three and nought respectively.
(Article: Copyright © 2004 Mehluli Sibanda)