The experienced Robin Uthappa struck an emphatic half-century against the Durban Qalandars, setting his team on the way to a comprehensive 24-run win in what was a high-scoring game in the Zim Afro T10 at the Harare Sports Club.
Uthappa rolled back the clock and scored freely to put on a scintillating display with the bat, reaching a half-century.
Batting first, the Harare Hurricanes openers were in fine form from the get-go and took the attack to the Durban Qalandars. Both Robin Uthappa and Regis Chakabva were dealing with boundaries in the initial stages of the innings, and the Qalandars were finding it tough to apply the brakes.
The duo raced off the mark and very soon completed the half-century stand and were looking set to build on that and post a massive total.
Having batted for most of the innings, the duo not only dominated the bowlers but also entertained the home crowd a fair amount. Uthappa completed his half-century just after the halfway stage, but could not kick on. He smashed four sixes and five boundaries, during his 23-ball knock in which he scored 53, before being the first to depart with the score at 92 in the 7th over.
Donovan Ferreira, who has been in excellent form throughout the tournament, walked in after that, and along with Chakabva, added a quickfire 30-run stand that pushed the Hurricanes well over the 100-run mark. Chakabva departed in the 9th over for 43, having hammered 3 sixes and 4 boundaries during his knock. After that Ferreira (24*) and Mohammad Nabi (2*) helped the Hurricanes get to 134/2.
In response, the Qalandars had an early hiccup as they lost the in-form opener Tim Seifert for 8 in the 3rd over. After that Andre Fletcher, who had been promoted to open the innings, was joined by Hazratullah Zazai, and they took charge.
The duo have been middling the ball through the course of the tournament and had decided to entertain the crowd as much as possible. Both cleared the boundary a fair few times with relative ease and also pierced the field comfortably.
With the dew in the evening making batting easier, the partnership grew from strength to strength, and was well past the half-century mark, and in cruise mode. Even the very experienced S Sreesanth could not break the partnership, as Fletcher completed his half-century off 25 deliveries, in the 9th over.
However, even at this point, the Hurricanes seemed to have the advantage, in what was a delicately poised contest. Zazai and Fletcher went into the final over with 31 runs needed to win, and even though they threw the kitchen sink at the bowling, they fell short on the night. Zazai fell just before the end for 49, as the Qalandars lost by 24 runs.
Harare Hurricanes 134/2 in 10 overs (Robin Uthappa 53, Regis Chakabva 43; Azmatullah Omarzai 1-17, Brad Evans 1-27) beat Durban Qalandars 110/2 in 10 overs (Andre Fletcher 50*, Hazratullah Zazai 49; Luke Jongwe 2-19, Mohammad Nabi 0-19) by 24 runs.