|| CF DESK ||
The Bulawayo Braves put on a fine performance to kick start the sixth day of the inaugural edition of the Zim Cyber City Zim Afro T10, as they held their nerve and defeated the high-flying Cape Town Samp Army by 3 runs at the Harare Sports Club.
For the Braves, Innocent Kaia scored a brilliant unbeaten half-century, to set the tone for the contest. Batting first, the Bulawayo Braves started off well with Ryan Burl and Innocent Kaia looking good. The duo put on a quick 25-run stand for the opening wicket before Burl was dismissed for 19 off 9 deliveries.
Skipper Sikanadar Raza joined Kaia after that in the middle, and the duo added a stroke-filled 24 to the cause. Raza looked good and was settling in for the long haul, however he could not convert his start and was castled by Mujeeb Ur Rahman for 19 from 7 deliveries. Meanwhile, Kaia was making merry in the bright sunshine, much to the joy of the fans at the stadium.
Ben McDermott departed for 7 after that and that brought Beau Webster in the middle, alongside Kaia. The opener was making batting look easy, and soon enough completed his half-century. Kaia and Webster attacked with full gusto in the final overs, and ensured the Braves would put on a solid 125/3 in their quota of 10 overs.
In response, the Cape Town Samy Army openers Tadiwanashe Marumani and Rahmanullah Gurbaz made a solid start. The duo have been in good form during the course of the tournament and once again were doing their best to put on a show.
The duo found the fence and went over it with ease, as they put on a 65-run opening stand, with the Afghanistan batter going great guns. Gurbaz smashed 45 from 18 deliveries, with 3 fours and 5 sixes before Taskin Ahmed had his number. Off the very next ball, Matthew Breetzke was caught behind, which put the brakes on the Samp Army.
Marumani was joined by Bhanuka Rajapaksa and were tasked with taking the Samp Army home, in what was a tricky chase. The duo were being cautious, but not missing out on any chances to score. They mixed aggression with caution and midway through the 9th over, they reached the 100-run mark. Right after, Rajapaksa was stumped for 20, off Patrick Dooley, which brought the in-form Karim Janat to the middle.
In the final over, with Marumani and Janat in the middle, the Samp Army needed 16 more to win. However, Marumani was dismissed for 39, and Janat (12*) and Sean Williams (1*) could not take the Samp Army over the line.
Bulawayo Braves – 125/3 (Innocent Kaia – 52*, Beau Webster – 23*; Sheldon Cottrell – 1/15, Mujeeb Ur Rahman - 1/26) won by 3 runs against the Cape Town Samp Army - 122/4 (Rahmanullah Gurbaz – 45, Tadiwanashe Marumani – 39; Taskin Ahmed – 2/25, Patrick Dooley – 1/19