Eqlakh hits ton for Moun­taineers

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

MO­HAM­MAD EQLAKH, an In­dian player rec­om­mended to Man­i­ca­land Moun­taineers by their for­mer coach Stephen Man­gongo when he was in that coun­try, dom­i­nated the third day’s play for his team against Ris­ing Stars with a cen­tury in only his sec­ond first-class match.

Rain dis­rupted the af­ter­noon’s play in this Lo­gan Cup match at Harare Sports Club, and at the end of it Moun­taineers were ex­actly 300 runs ahead of their op­po­nents with four wick­ets in hand.

The day be­gan with Ris­ing Stars, hav­ing fallen 75 runs be­hind Moun­taineers on the first in­nings, hav­ing scored two with­out loss on the sec­ond af­ter­noon be­fore rain cut short the day’s play.

The overnight bats­men, Hamil­ton Masakadza and Eqlakh, put up the team fifty in the 11th over, and bat­ted on un­til at 67 Masakadza (36) went for a big hit off Ru­gare Ma­garira and skyed a catch to Mil­ton Shumba at mid-on.

Eqlakh went on to reach his fifty off 70 balls, bring­ing up the team’s 100 at the same time.

Vusi Sibanda was now Eqlakh’s part­ner, and be­tween them they took the score to 149 for one at lunch, when Eqlakh had 82 and Sibanda 26.

With the weather fore­cast for the rest of the match tricky, the bats­men tried to press on with the run-scor­ing af­ter lunch. Sibanda did not last long, how­ever, push­ing a sim­ple catch to gully when on 28; 163 for two.

The rain came at a most un­for­tu­nate time for Eqlakh: just as he drove a ball from Njab­ulo Ncube past mid-off for four to reach 99, a driz­zle turned into heavy rain and the play­ers had to leave the field.

The score was 169 for two, with the new bats­man Ti­nashe Chim­bambo on one. Play was stopped for just over an hour and a half, and an early tea in­ter­val was taken.

It took just two balls for Eqlakh to drive the ball through the cov­ers for an­other bound­ary and reach his maiden first-class cen­tury, off 130 balls.

He con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate the bowl­ing, but there was a mix-up in run­ning be­tween wick­ets with Chim­bambo, who was run out for nine; 201 for three.

An­other burst of rain hit the ground at 210 for three, when Eqlakh had reached 129 and Foster Mu­tizwa one, but this time the play­ers were only off for 11 min­utes.

Mu­tizwa tried to push the score along, but in try­ing to swing a ball from Mo­ham­mad Faraz Akram to leg he edged a catch to the keeper for 10; 224 for four. In the next over Kudzai Sau­ramba left with­out scor­ing, edg­ing a ball from Bless­ing Muzara­bani to Ryan Mur­ray at sec­ond slip, and then Shingi Masakadza tried to shoul­der arms to his first de­liv­ery, to be bowled out; 225 for six.

Don­ald Tiri­pano came in and saved the hat-trick, but then more rain caused play to be sus­pended again; Eqlakh was now on 134.

SCORES

Man­i­ca­land Moun­taineers - 260 and 225-6 in 59.2 overs (Mo­ham­mad Eqlakh 134*, Hamil­ton Masakadza 36, Vusi Sibanda 28; Bless­ing Muzara­bani 2/23)

Ris­ing Stars - 185 all out in 73.2 overs (Mil­ton Shumba 61, Ti­nashe Ka­munhukamwe 32, Tony Mun­y­onga 24; Vic­tor Nyauchi 4/41, Don­ald Tiri­pano 2/14, Shingi Masakadza 2/41, Tendai Chatara 2/57)

Day 3 - Stumps: Man­i­ca­land Moun­taineers lead by 300 runs with four wick­ets re­main­ing. - zim­cricket.

A FAIR CON­TRI­BU­TION ... Zim­babwe bats­man Hamil­ton Masakadza scored 36 for his fran­chise yes­ter­day

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