NPL 2023 Wrap: Gladiators suffer first defeat, blow title race open


The Gladiators' unbeaten run in the National Premier League came to an end on Sunday, as they lost by three wickets to Westside in a nail-biting encounter at Takashinga Cricket Club. Prosper Mugeri was the star of the show for Westside, taking three crucial wickets in the Gladiators' innings and setting up a historic chase.

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The Gladiators, who had won 11 consecutive games this season, were put in to bat by Westside captain Vincent Masekesa. They got off to a shaky start, as Mugeri dismissed both openers in his first two overs. 

Wessly Madhevere tried to steady the ship with a fluent 36, but his dismissal by Mugeri triggered a collapse in the middle order. 

None of the Gladiators' batsmen could build a significant partnership, and they were bowled out for a modest 161 in 38.4 overs. Mugeri finished with impressive figures of 3 for 30 in six overs, while Tinashe Muchawaya chipped in with 3 for 29.

Westside had a golden opportunity to become the first team to defeat the Gladiators, who were on the verge of clinching another NPL title. 

However, they faced a stiff challenge from the Gladiators' bowling attack, which did not give up easily. Tinashe Chiorah and Definate Mawadzi gave Westside a solid start with a 46-run stand for the first wicket, but the Gladiators fought back with regular wickets. 

Tinashe Chimbambo was the only middle-order batsman to offer some resistance with 28 runs, but when he fell with the score at 113 for 7, it seemed like Westside had blown their chance.

However, Frank Mwazviita and Masekesa had other ideas. They showed great composure and courage under pressure, and forged a match-winning partnership of 49 runs for the eighth wicket. Masekesa played a captain's knock of 17 not out, while Mwazviita was more aggressive with 31 not out. They took Westside over the line with eight balls to spare, sparking wild celebrations among their teammates and fans. This remarkable win made Westside the first team to defeat the highly regarded Gladiators, who were on the brink of securing another NPL title.

Masakadza spins Takashinga 1 to easy win over Amakhosi

Takashinga Patriots 1 cruised to an eight-wicket victory over Amakhosi in their National Premier League match at Kwekwe Sports Club on Sunday, thanks to a brilliant spell of spin bowling by Wellington Masakadza. 

The left-arm spinner ripped through the Amakhosi batting line-up, taking four wickets for 26 runs in nine overs, as the hosts were bundled out for a paltry 71 in the 25th over.

Amakhosi had made a promising start after opting to bat first, with openers Farai Gunda and Keith Ndlovu putting on 35 runs for the first wicket. 

However, their partnership was broken by Masakadza, who had Ndlovu caught by his brother Hamilton for 21. That triggered a dramatic collapse, as none of the other Amakhosi batsmen reached double figures. 

Gunda was the only one who offered some resistance, scoring 34 off 68 balls, but he ran out of partners as Takashinga's spinners ran riot. Apart from Masakadza, Tapiwa Mufudza and Roy Kaia also chipped in with two wickets each.

Takashinga's chase was not without hiccups, as they lost both their openers for 38 runs. Innocent Kaia was dismissed for 10 by Tinashe Muchawaya, while Hamilton Masakadza fell for 15 to Keith Ndlovu.

However, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Joylord Gumbie ensured there were no further setbacks, as they steered Takashinga to their target in just 8.4 overs. 

Kamunhukamwe was particularly aggressive, smashing four fours and a six in his unbeaten 26 off 15 balls, while Gumbie played a supporting role with 16 not out.

Uprising win by 193 runs

Uprising secured a commanding victory over Golden Bulls by 193 runs at Masvingo Sports Club on Sunday, thanks to impressive performances from Tadiwanashe Marumani and Tafadzwa Mahachi. 

Uprising chose to bat first and faced an early setback with the loss of both openers, who were dismissed by Elvin Mxumalo with the team's score at 33. However, Marumani played an attacking innings, scoring 61 off just 39 balls. 

Mahachi provided excellent support with a dazzling knock of 86 off 61 deliveries. Aisha Chibanda also contributed with a solid score of 66, helping Uprising reach a total of 295 all out. Nxumalo was the standout bowler for Golden Bulls, taking four wickets for 33 runs, while Marshall Maruta claimed three wickets for 32 runs. 

Despite their efforts, the other bowlers struggled against the Uprising batsmen. In response, Golden Bulls failed to put up a fight and were dismissed for just 102 runs in 28.2 overs, with no batter managing to score more than 20 runs. Jeremiah Makanya was the pick of the Uprising bowlers, taking four wickets for 25 runs.

Takashinga Patriots 2 won by eight wickets

Takashinga Patriots 2 secured a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Mutare Sports Club on Sunday, thanks to an outstanding innings of 95 off 88 balls by Aliakbar Hamid. 

The home team, batting first, suffered an early setback, losing three wickets for 44 runs. However, Nigel Bonyongwe and Donald Tiripano revived their innings with a 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Despite their efforts, it took them 24 overs to reach this milestone, and they lost wickets quickly afterward as they tried to increase their scoring rate. 

After 45 overs, they were struggling at 208 for 9. Cuthbert Musoko was the standout bowler for Takashinga Patriots 2, taking four wickets for 53 runs, while Takudzwa Chataira claimed three wickets for 33 runs. 

In response, Takashinga Patriots 2 got off to a flying start with Baxon Gopito scoring 45 off 35 balls. 

Hamid then took charge and played a brilliant innings of 95 before falling just short of a century. Rodney Mupfudza contributed with an unbeaten 41, while Alvin Chiradza's quickfire 17 not out helped secure victory for Takashinga Patriots 2.

Mumba and Chirwa star in Kadoma's crushing win over Queens

Kadoma cricket club delivered a stunning performance to thrash Queens Sports Club by 195 runs in the National Premier League (NPL) match at Bulawayo on Sunday. The victory was set up by a sensational partnership between Carl Mumba and Victor Chirwa, who both shone with the bat and the ball.

Kadoma, who won the toss and opted to bat, were in trouble at 115 for five after Isheunopa Musekwa ripped through their middle order with four wickets. Tarisai Musakanda (45) steadied the innings, but it was Mumba and Chirwa who turned the game on its head with a blistering stand of 138 runs for the seventh wicket.

Mumba smashed 93 off just 48 balls, hitting four sixes and nine fours, while Chirwa remained unbeaten on 61 off 60 balls. Kadoma posted a formidable total of 289 for seven in their 50 overs.

Queens never got going in their chase as Mumba and Chirwa continued their dominance with the ball. Mumba struck twice in his second over to reduce Queens to seven for two. He went on to claim five wickets for 31 runs, while Chirwa picked up four for 16. Tinaye Shayamano (31) was the only Queens batsman to offer some resistance, but he could not prevent his team from being bundled out for a paltry 94 in 22.2 overs.

Following this round of NPL fixtures it sets up a very tasty final day on Wednesday – Gladiators take on Takashinga 1; and Uprising Vs Takashinga 2; and all four teams can still win the title.

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