Cooke's 62* from 33 balls sees Glamorgan stroll to victory

10 Mar 2023 | Cricket

A boundary-laden 62* from just 33 balls by Chris Cooke saw Glamorgan romp to an eight-wicket victory over Southerns with 48 balls in hand in the third T20 contest in the triangular series involving provincial teams at Harare Sports Club. (writes Andrew Hignell)

After the local team had opted to bat first, Jamie McIlroy struck in his opening over as Cephas Zhuwao drilled a ball into the hands of Ediie Byrom at cover. Dan Douthwaite also claimed a wicket in his first over as Clive Madande departed in identical fashion as Zain-ul-Hassan pounched the ball as Southerns slipped to 12-2. Innoncent Kaia and Brian Bennett then added 44 against the change bowlers until the former hoisted Byrom's leg-breaks to Andy Gorvin at deep mid-wicket. It proved to be an eventful over as Joanathan Campbell then hoisted the next two balls to deep mid-wicket before the bowler stooped on the ball in his follow through, deflected it onto the stumps and ran out Bennett who was backing up leaving Southerns on 64-4 after nine overs.

Campbell's assertive innings came to an end four overs later as he edged Douthwaite into Chris Cooke's gloves. Two overs later, Andrew Salter was in the action as Luke Jongwe was caught at deep square-leg by McIlroy. Roy Kaia, the Southerns captain, responded by lofting the off-spinner to long-off for four, but there were few boundaries in the closing overs as the tourists kept things tight. In a bid to up tempo, Tashinga Musekiwa swatted Timm van der Gugten for successive sixes over deep mid-wicket, but next ball he was caught at short third man by Douthwaite. McIlroy then bowled Brandan Mavuta before Kaia was run out off the penultimate ball by Gorvin as Southerns ended their quota of 20 overs on 129-9.

Tom Bevan and Eddie Byrom began Glmaorgan's run-chase with the former drilling Roy Kaia through point and the covers for a pair of coruscating fours in the opening over. However, the Southerns captain gained revenge in the next over as, fielding at square-leg, he caught Bevan. Elevated to the number three berth, Chris Cooke began by steering Ernest Masuku to the ropes at third man before Byrom drove Kaia to the boundary at long-off.

Cooke then steered Keith Jaure through point for four, followed next ball by a rasping drive to the ropes at long-on. Byrom repeated the stroke in the next over against Jongwe who was also clipped to fine-leg by Cooke who then hoisted Masuku for a trio of sixes in consecutive balls over square-leg, mid-wicket and to wide long-on, followed by a four to mid-wicket in an over costing 22 runs as Glmaorgan roared to 66-1 in only the sixth over. He continued his boundary blitz by driving leg-spinner Brandan Mavuta to wide long-off before reaching his half-century from just 23 balls by driving seamer Alex Falao in the same direction.

Not to be outdone , Byrom struck successive fours against Mavuta, before Cooke brought up the hundred by lofting the spinner to wide long-off. Roy Kai then had Byrom caught at extra-cover with David LLoyd replacing him and immediately steering Mavuta through point for four. Lloyd then swatted Jaure over mid-wicket for six followed by a rasping four through the covers. Three balls later, he ended the contest by pulling Jaure to mid-wicket as Glmaorgan reached their target with 48 balls to sare and Cooke unbeaten on 62 from 33 balls.