Tuskers made a winning start to the 2022-2023 Pro50 Championship campaign after securing a 43-run victory over Alliance Health Eagles in a low-scoring encounter at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
Left-arm spinner Tanatswa Bechani finished with brilliant bowling figures of four for 27 runs in 9.4 overs on his List A debut while Sheunopa Musekwa claimed three wickets as Tuskers successfully defended their low score of 194 by bowling out Eagles for 151 runs in 33.4 overs.
After being sent in to bat, Tuskers rode on half-centuries from opener Tanunurwa Makoni and wicketkeeper-batsman Alvin Chiradza to reach 194 in 44.1 overs
Makoni played a vital innings for Tuskers to ensure they recovered from the early loss of Nkosana Mpofu (9) and Brian Chari (5) and Allan Chigoma (10) inside 16 overs.
The 22-year-old batsman, who is the son of Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Givemore Makoni shared a crucial partnership of 67 in 16 overs, with Chiradza.
Makoni played well in his 64 off 94 balls which included six fours and a six before he was clean bowled by off-spinner Tapiwa Mufudza in the 33rd over.
Tuskers went on to lose seven wickets for 63 runs as they collapsed from 131 for three to 194 all out with Chiradza the only other batsman to offer some resistance with his 58 off 81 balls.
Mufudza was the pick of the bowlers, with four wickets for only 26 runs in his 10 overs while Mamid Ali claimed three wickets for 21 off only four overs on his List A debut.
In reply, Eagles would have fancied their chances of comfortably chasing down Tuskers’ seemingly low total.
The hosts made a good start with Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (19) and Tadiwanashe Marumani (34) dominating Tuskers’ bowlers in an opening stand of 59 inside the first eight overs.
Tuskers however hit back with Musekwa removing both openers and Maunze (4) in successive overs as Eagles found themselves on 68 for three.
Eagles skipper Chamu Chibhabha led the recovery with an 18-ball 21 while Marshall Takodza scored 18 runs as the hosts appeared back on track on 102 for three inside 15 overs
However, they both fell in quick succession to the bowling of Bechani.
The duo of Ali (19) and Faraz Akram (13) revived their hopes with a stand of 32 but disaster struck for Eagles after they were dismissed off consecutive deliveries.
In the end, Alliance Health Eagles were bowled out for a measly 151 in 33.4 overs.
Scores in briefs:
Tuskers – 194 all out in 44.1 overs (Tanunurwa Makoni 64, Alvin Chiradza 58, Ainsley Ndlovu 14; Tapiwa Mufudza 4/26, Hamid Ali 3/21, Kudzai Maunze 2/44)
Alliance Health Eagles – 151 all out in 33.4 overs (Tadiwanashe Marumani 34, Chamu Chibhabha 21, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 19; Tanatswa Bechani 4/27, Sheunopa Musekwa 3/24, Ernest Masuku 2/43)