Logan Cup is the premier domestic first-class cricket competition in Zimbabwe. The history of this tournament is somewhat interesting. Starting from 1890, in the next few years, matches were played in that part of Africa (around Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia) with more regularity and the standard of cricket improved when Rhodesia entered a team into the South African Currie Cup, and in 1903 JD Logan presented Rhodesia’s cricket teams with a cup to compete for, which was named after him. However, it became first-class only in 1992, along with Zimbabwe’s elevation to Test status.
Over the years, players like Flower brothers, Strang brothers, Heath Streak etc have performed extremely well in this trophy and Cricket followers around the world know about them. But, probably only few have heard the name Wayne James, who played four tests and eleven ODIs for Zimbabwe.
Wayne James, a wicketkeeper-batsman made his international debut in 1992 but could not play a significant part, eventually losing his spot to Andy Flower. However, this article is not about how he failed to leave a mark in international arena. This is about how he made simultaneously two records on 21st April in 1996.
It was the final of Logan Cup of the season and Matabeleland was playing against Mashonaland Country Districts. Wayne was the captain and the wicketkeeper of Matabeleland. Having won the toss, Mashonaland chose to bat first and put on 265 runs on the board, thanks to a century from Jason Oates and a surprise 66 from Bryan Strang down the order. The match started to become memorable for Wayne James as he took six catches and stumped three in one single innings. Nine dismissals in an innings – still a record in the history of cricket! Along with James, Tahir Rashid shares this record.
In the first innings, Matabeleland lost four early wickets for only 39 but then, the captain guided his team to a comfortable total. Unfortunately enough, Wayne got out at 99 and his team posted a total of 220.
Leading by 45 runs, the opponents could not survive for long against the fierce bowling of John Rennie. Heath Streak took 2 and Rennie took 6 to restrict their opponents to 128 only. James had four more dismissals in this innings, making a total of 13 in the match (still second highest ever).
Matabeleland needed 174 runs to win the match but once again, the top order failed and they were reeling at 15 for 4. And once again, it was the captain who came to the rescue. Along with Mark Dekker, Wayne James started hitting the ball and the duo guided the team to victory without any problem. Wayne’s team won the match by six wickets.
And now, here comes the uncanny and unique record Wayne James made in the process! He was not out in the second innings and ended up with a score of 99, once again! This is the only instance where a batsman scored 99 in both the innings of a first class match. It has never happened in test cricket either.
A pair of ninety-nines and the most number of dismissals in one innings – that’s two outstanding records in the same match, something Wayne James would remember probably for the rest of his life.