NPL 2024 Matchday 1 Round-up: Takashinga Teams, Queens Sports Club and Rainbow start campaign with victories


HARARE – The apex club cricket competition in Zimbabwe, the National Premier League (NPL), roared to life on the 15th of June, 2024, with with seven fixtures played across the country.

National Premier League cricket Zimbabwe

Scorpions Edge Knights in Thrilling NPL Encounter

Tafadzwa Mahachi's brilliant century powered the Scorpions to a nail-biting two-wicket victory over the Knights in their NPL match at Masvingo Sports Club on Sunday.

The Knights, batting first, reached a respectable 257-7 in their allotted 45 overs. A second-wicket stand of 103 between Calvin Mabvute (50) and Winfred Matende (75) provided the early foundation. 

However, Tafara Chingwara's impressive five-wicket haul (5/35) triggered a collapse, leaving the Knights reeling at 162-7. 

A late onslaught by Lastie Chinyengetere (55* off 31 balls, including four sixes and three fours) helped them recover to a competitive total.

The Scorpions, in reply, received a flying start from Mahachi and Blessed Muzite, who put on 187 runs for the opening wicket in just 20.3 overs. Muzite scored a quick-fire 58, but Mahachi stole the show, blasting 106 off 70 balls with four sixes and 14 fours. 

Joe Khoma dismissed both openers, initiating a middle-order slump for the Scorpions. 

With victory seemingly within reach, they found themselves at 257-8, just two runs away. Chingwara, surprisingly batting for the Scorpions, hit the first ball he faced for four, sealing a dramatic victory for his team.

Queens Sports Club Hold Off Strikers in Close NPL Encounter

A crucial century stand between Rowyn Konson and Petros Sithole propelled Queens Sports Club to a hard-fought nine-run victory over NPL debutants, the Strikers, at Kwekwe Sports Club on Sunday.

Queens got off to a disastrous start, losing their first four wickets for a paltry 18 runs in the first eight overs. 

However, Konson and Sithole steadied the ship, adding a vital 105 runs for the fifth wicket in 25 overs. Sithole was dismissed for 49, but Konson continued to build the innings, reaching 60 before being dismissed. 

Chris Mpofu's unbeaten 43 helped Queens reach a respectable 201-8. Takunda Manyama was the pick of the Strikers bowlers, taking four wickets for 39 runs.

In response, the Strikers passed 100 with only three wickets down, and eight of their batsmen reached double figures. Panashe Gwatiringa led the charge with a well-played 52 off 54 balls. 

Despite a late fightback from Manyama and Arineshto Vhezha, who added 40 for the last wicket, the Strikers ultimately fell short of their target by nine runs, with Vhezha being run out with three balls remaining.

Rainbow Dominate Rimuka in Comfortable NPL Win

Clive Imbayago's impressive century powered Rainbow to a convincing 41-run victory over Rimuka in their NPL clash at Kadoma Sports Club on Sunday. 

Imbayago, batting at number four, anchored the Rainbow innings, first sharing a 118-run stand for the third wicket with opener Ronak Patel (54). He then forged a crucial partnership with Nadim Patel (57 off 37 balls), hitting out powerfully to reach his century just before the innings closed. 

Imbayago finished on 107 not out off 116 balls, hitting 11 fours, against a Rimuka bowling attack led by Carl Mumba (2 wickets), Luke Jongwe (1 wicket), and Brandon Mavuta. 

Rimuka got off to a shaky start, losing their openers for 37 runs. 

However, a 149-run partnership for the third wicket between Victor Chirwa (66) and Nyasha Mayavo (85) brought them back into the game. 

But their momentum was short-lived, as a dramatic collapse followed. The last eight wickets fell for just 49 runs, leaving Rimuka all out for 235 with three balls remaining. Victor Nyauchi and Daniel Jakiel claimed three wickets each, while Ronak Patel bagged two wickets for Rainbow. 

Regardless of a compelling. start, Rimuka's late batting collapse allowed Rainbow to claim a comfortable victory, thanks to Imbayago's masterful century.

Wins for Rangers and Takashinga teams

On Saturday they were exciting wins for SOGO Rangers and both Takashinga teams. 

Rangers cruised to an 81-run victory over Amakhosi Cricket Club, thanks to Nkosibongwe Gogodo's impressive five-wicket haul and a strong batting performance from Craig Ervine (47) and Jayden Schadendorf (46*).

Takashinga 2 secured an eight-wicket win against Bulawayo Athletic Club, with Faraz Akram grabbing five wickets for the victors. Tanunurwa Makoni (45) and Rodney Mupfudza (44*) led the chase for Takashinga 2.

In a thrilling encounter, Takashinga 1 edged out Westside Cricket Club by a single wicket at Mutare Sports Club, with captain Roy Kaia (55) and Alvin Chiradza (37*) steering them to victory.

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