April 21st, 1996 was an astonishing day in Zimbabwe domestic cricket. Obviously, there were not many to track the happenings of the final of Logan Cup in Bulawayo at that time. Hence a wonderful story was missed by many.
The hero of our story was Wayne James, a middle-order batsman, and wicketkeeper who played four test matches and 11 ODIs for Zimbabwe. His domestic career was much longer and spread out for close to 10 years and he played 40 first-class matches scoring three centuries.
In the Logan Cup final of 1996, James was captaining the team from Matabeleland against the Mashonaland Country Districts. Both the teams had a pretty good mix of top players and future test captains like Alistair Campbell and Heath Streak.
James played as the designated keeper and got involved in nine dismissals in Mashonaland’s first innings. It included seven catches and two stumpings and equaled the world record for maximum dismissals in an innings. Earlier in 1992-93 season Tahir Rashid also had nine dismissals in a domestic match in Pakistan.
Not content with nine dismissals, James blasted 99 runs, coming at number five. His team conceded a lead of only 45 but came back strongly to bundle out Mashonaland for just 128 runs in the second innings. James duly took four more catches and took his match-tally to 13 which was a new world record.
Chasing 174 for a cup win, Matabeleland was 15 for four. James came to bat and built an unbeaten partnership with Mark Dekker to take his team to victory. With two runs to win the match, the Mashonaland wicket keeper conceded a by four to give their opponents the win. Unfortunately, this also meant that James was stranded on 99 and could not get the century he richly deserved.
The world record of 13 dismissals in a match was later broken by the Hyderabad wicketkeeper Ibrahim Khaleel against Assam.