Not going to dwell on this one too much, as the match ended a week ago, but the full scorecard for Southern Rocks v Midwest Rhinos is in. We knew already that the match had ended in a draw, but it was another outstanding performance for Vusi Sibanda, who scored a ton in both innings (107 and 101 not out), backed up in both cases by solid fifties from Solomon Mire (66 and 56). Tafadzwa Kamungozi was the star for Rocks, posting 71 in the first innings before going on to take 4/86, while Eric Chauluka posted the third ton of the match, scoring 113. Rounding off the list of good performances is Ed Rainsford, who took 5/60 for Rhinos during the first innings. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 299 (101 overs; Kamungozi 71*, Rainsford 5/60) & 385/6 decl (98 overs; Chauluka 113, Muzarabani 3/44), Rhinos 290 (84.1 overs; Sibanda 107, Kamungozi 4/86) & 177/4 (Sibanda 101*, Matanga 3/59). Match drawn.
You'll have noticed the absence of any reports on the Logan Cup and Faithwear meetings between Southern Rocks and Midwest Rhinos in Masvingo last week - that's because we're still waiting on hearing a scoreline, never mind seeing the scorecards. That said, ZC issues updated tables for both competitions this morning that give away the results: the Logan Cup meeting was a draw, while Rocks spring a surprise by beating Rhinos in the Faithwear match. More details on both matches if / when we get them.
Matabeleland Tuskers hosted Mashonaland Eagles this week in the fourth round of the Logan Cup, and saw their winless streak in the tournament extended to 3 matches as Eagles eased their way to a 6-wicket win. The writing was on the wall from the first day, when Tuskers were bowled out for 237 after having won the toss and elected to bat. Their innings got off to a decent enough start, with Bornaparte Mujuru (71) and Dion Ebrahim (87) putting on 154 for the 2nd wicket and forming a good foundation, but the support they needed from further down the order never came. Admire Manyumwa was on sparkling form for Eagles, too, taking 5/41 in just over 18 overs to help heap indignity on the home side.
Come Eagles' turn to bat, their batsmen were soon getting in on the act. Some early breakthroughs would have gotten Tuskers' hopes up - Eagles were on 4/42 at on point - but three men were to turn the match, as Ryan Butterworth (109), Greg Lamb (94) and Regis Chakabva (111) combined to leave Tuskers with a huge mountain to climb in the second innings. Eagles were finally bowled out for 419, a lead of 182 that Tuskers only barely managed to claw back when they came to bat again. This time around Mujuru (74) again led the charge, but with only Matt Williams (49*) at 9th contributing a significant score is was another tale of woe for Tuskers. Star of the recent U19 series, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, took 4/71 on the way to bowling Tuskers out for 227, leaving Eagles chasing a meagre target of 46 to win the match.
They made something of a meal of it, mind you, losing 4 wickets along the way, but Butterworth (17*) and Mark Mbofana soon finished off the chase. That puts Eagles on top of the tournament table, although Moutaineers have a game in hand on them, and leaves Tuskers wondering what else could possibly go wrong. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 237 (85.2 overs; Ebrahim 87, Manyumwa 5/41) & 227 (85.2 overs; Mujuru 72, Mutombodzi 4/71), Eagles 419 (135.3 overs; Chakabva 111, Mupariwa 4/72) & 46/4 (17.4 overs; Butterworth 17*, Mupariwa 2/6). Mashonaland Eagles win by 6 wickets
Ask any Zimbabwe fan before the season started which sides would have been in the running for a title, and Tuskers would have been one of the sides mentioned - they've got, on paper, one of the best sides in the new franchise setup, but so far they've spectacularly failed to find any winning form, and against Mountaineers this week imploded to another embarrassing loss. And they'd started so well, too - after winning the toss and opting to field, they had visitors Mountaineers on the ropes at 7/99 at one point, as Mountaineers struggled to find any form with the bat. Seven of their batsmen departed for single-figure scores - a real worry for a side that relies heavily on its batting talent - and only 70 from Stuart Matsikenyeri and a lower-order 56 from Shingi Masakadza spared their blushes as they were bowled out for 203.
From there, Tuskers should have pressed their advantage, but instead they managed to turn in an even worse performance with the bat. Openers Dion Ebrahim (41) and Terry Duffin (17) got the side off to a good start with an opening partnership of 48, but from there it all began to go wrong as wickets began to fall at regular intervals. A 6th-wicket partnership of 76 between Gregory Strydom and Tafadzwa Ngulube stopped the rot for a while, but it wasn't enough as Tuskers ended on just 191, with their advantage wasted.
In the second innings, Mountaineers made sure not to repeat their mistakes, and led by Hamilton Masakadza (172*) and Timycen Maruma (76) - the pair put on 154 for the 5th wicket - they worked their way to 393/6 before declaring their innings over and leaving Tuskers to chase a target of 406. As with Rocks in the other match of the round, though, they never got close. Collapsing to 58/7 left the writing very much on the wall, and while Sean Williams at 10th led a lower-order fightback with a composed 76, the end came quickly as Tuskers were bowled out for 201.
A 204-run win for the Mountaineers, then, and top place in the tournament table for the time being (Rhinos were on a bye this week, and on current form I'd expect them to regain top place once they've played their game in hand). For Tuskers, yet another disappointment - they've got the players, but you have to wonder what they need to do to get match-winning performances out of them. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 203 (68.1 overs; Matsikenyeri 70, Mpofu 4/39) & 393/6 decl (106 overs; H Masakadza 172*, Mpofu 2/86), Tuskers 191 (77.4 overs; Ebrahim 41, Maruma 3/18) & 201 (79 overs; Williams 76, Maruma 5/67). Mountaineers win by 204 runs
Two apparent mis-matches in the Logan Cup this round, the first of which was the meeting at Zimbabwe Cricket Academy between Eagles and Rocks, who were newly-strengthened by the arrival of Kenyan maestro Steve Tikolo and a few 'returning rebels'. Not that they helped, in this round at least. Rocks won the toss and opted to field, and Eagles were quick to seize the opportunity to build a decent score - after not quite firing in the first two rounds of matches, their batsmen finally for their act together and put on 357 for their first innings. Things didn't entirely go their way - Ryan Butterworth's early departure with the score on just 8 was one of a few disappointing outings, but with half-centuries from Elton Chigumbura (61), Admira Manyumwa (61) and Trevor Garwe (58*), the Eagles did a good job of setting the first-innings pace. Steve Tikolo showed few signs of rustiness - he had been playing in the Kenyan national league prior to joining the Rocks - by leading the Rocks' bowling with 2/59, while Chamu Chibhabha, Tafadzwa Kamungozi and Hilary Matanga chipped in with 2 wickets apiece.
I reply, though, Rocks' batting simply wasn't up to the challenge - at one point the side were in deep trouble on 62/6 as the top order simply collapsed, and it took a fighting 55 from Ryan Chinyengetere at seventh to add a touch of respectability to the score as Rocks were bowled out for a meagre 159. Most of the damage was done by the pairing of Chigumbura (3/35) and Greg Lamb (3/38), giving Eagles a first-innings lead of 198.
Eagles' second innings wasn't quite as imperious as the first, but then it didn't need to be. Forster Mutizwa led the scoring, adding 78, while Lamb made up for a disppointing first innings with a knock of 41 before the home side declared with the score on 260/9. Tikolo once again led with the ball for Rocks, taking an impressive 3/23, but by this point the match was already beyond the Masvingo side - faced with a target of 459 to win they never got close. Their second innings was marked by a few good individual performances - returnee Craig Ervine led the scoring with 65, while Tikolo added 47 and Steve Marillier put on 44 - but beyond them there was scant support from the rest of the side, and Rocks were bowled out for 224, well short of the target.
That gave Eagles a 234-run win and second place in the tournament table, and gave a little more credence to their chairman's claims in the media prior to the match that his side would soon bounce back. With so many changes in the domestic game this season, it's taking some time for sides to gel and find their form, and the running is being made by those sides that have gotten their act together the quickest. Eagles seem to be there, now. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 357 (111.3 overs; Chigumbura 61, Manyumwa 61, Tikolo 2/59) & 260/9 decl (59 overs; Mutizwa 78, Tikolo 3/23), Rocks 159 (60 overs; Chinyengetere 55, Chigumbura 3/35) & 224 (93.1 overs; Ervine 65, Price 5/57). Eagles win by 234 runs
Sorry, couldn't resist. :) Southern Rocks made their Logan Cup debut, minus start signing Steve Tikolo, as they faced Mountaineers in Mutare last week. Mountaineers won the toss and opted to field, giving Rocks the chance to show what they're made of - of all the new franchise sides, they've been the least forthcoming about who they've signed, so this was really the first chance to see who the Masvingo-based side were fielding, and after the early departure of opener Keith Kondo the signs were beginning to look good that they'd put together a competitive side. Eric Chauluka (43) and captain Chamu Chibhabha (60) put on 105 for the 2nd wicket, with #4 Jemton Chinyengetere adding a patient 59. From 182/4, though, the lower order failed to find any form, and the Rocks were rolled over for 250, with Timycen Maruma's 5/37 inflicting most of the damage.
Mountaineers missed a chance to put their stamp on the match during the first innings, though - while Stuart Matsikenyeri (76) and Prosper Utseya (54) put in good performance for the home side, support from the rest of the side was sadly lacking. They at least managed to take a first-innings lead, being bowled out for 287, but given the batting pedigree that Mountaineers has you would have to consider that a disappointing total. Tendai Chisoro led the bowling figures for Rocks with 2/33 from 7 overs bowled.
From a first innings where honours were shared, though, Rocks when completely to pieces in the second, as Maruma (5/61) once again tore through the batting - Alester Maregwede's 82 not-out was the best of the bunch, but with the Rocks at one point reduced to 43/7 it seemed the match would be over on Day Three. Maregwede and Hilary Matanga then put on an impressive and face-saving final-wicket stand of 111, before unlucky Nelson struck to end their resistance with the score on 211.
That left Mountaineers chasing 175 to win, and an opening partnership of 107 by Timycen Maruma (86*) and Tatenda Taibu (49) began the last rites for Rocks' chances. Taibu and #3 Natsai Mushangwe fell along the way, but Maruma and Bernard Mlambo sew the chase through to its completion, giving Mountaineers an 8-wicket victory.
That leaves Mountaineers in 2nd place in the Logan Cup table, just one point behind Rhinos. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 250 (74.1 overs; Chibhabha 60, Maruma 5/37) & 211 (90.1 overs; Maregwede 82*, Maruma 5/61), Mountaineers 287 (99.1 overs; Matsikenyeri 76, Chisoro 2/33) & 180/2 (42.4 overs; Mawoyo 86*, Matanga 2/46). Mountaineers win by 8 wickets.
At few weeks ago, Week Two's first match would have been expected to be a top-of-the-table clash between Rhinos and Eagles, but instead turned into something of a tame draw. Rhinos won the toss had no hesitation in electing to bat on a batsman-friendly Kwekwe wicket. Their first innings total of 344 was built around a third-wicket stand of 204 between Brendan Taylor (129) and Friday Kasteni (100), who recorded his second ton of the season. Unfortunately, the pair received scant support from the rest of their side, with Ed Rainsford's 30 being the best of the rest. The best performance of the innings, however, went to Eagles' U19 leg spinner Tinotenda Mutombodzi, who claimed 7/54 in 26 overs.
The Eagles made heavy work of their reply, eventually being bowled out for 380, with a sizeable chunk of that total coming from the bat of Forster Mutizwa (156*). Graeme Cremer was yet again the pick of the bowlers for Rhinos, taking 5/158 in 48.5 overs (raising warning bells about him being overbold), while Ray Price was unable to bat due to injury and played no further part in the match - surely a worrying situation ahead of the two series against Kenya and Bangladesh. (UPDATE: CricketArchive's scorecard for the match notes that Price had to leave the match due to a family illness.)
The end of Eagles' innings came late on Day Three, leaving a draw already the most likely outcome, and that's how it turned out. Despite a few early breakthroughs by Eagles' bowlers, Rhinos were able to bat out the rest of the match, denying Eagles the chance to chase. Rhinos' second innings was topped by Graeme Cremer's 94 - he's turning into quite the all-rounder - while Elton Chigumbura was best of the bowlers for Eagles with 4/94. Douglas Hondo also chipped in with 3/87. Come the end of Day Four, Rhinos were on 370/9, and that's all she wrote. Eagles took one more point from the match on account of their better batting performance in the first innings, but in reality there wasn't much between these two. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 344 (Taylor 129, Mutombodzi 7/84) & 370/9 (Cremer 94, Chigumbura 4/94), Eagles 380 (Mutizwa 156*, Cremer 5/160). Match Drawn.
Took a while, but the scorecards are in and we can finally have a look at what happened in Kwekwe last week. First up in the Logan Cup encounter, and as with the match in Harare, it was the possibility of seeing how the 'returning rebels' performed - mostly for Tuskers, in this case - that was the main draw. Tuskers won the toss and elected to field, giving Rhinos the chance to set the pace - something they had somewhat mixed success with. The home side's innings was founded on good knocks by just three men - captain Vusi Sibanda led the way, with his patient 130 accounting for almost half the runs scored. He was backed up by Friday Kasteni (67) and Graeme Cremer (63) on the way to a respectable total of 319, but with only one other player reaching double figures that score has to be considered disappointing. Paceman Chris Mpofu led the bowling for Tuskers, taking 3/67 with returnee Gregory Strydom chipping in with 2/43.
Tuskers, however, failed to live up to expectations in their reply. Mark Vermeulen's 47 was the best knock in an innings where a number of players got starts but failed to push on, largely thanks to a stellar performance with the ball by Cremer (5/74). Tawanda Mupariwa (39) and Strydom (33) were the best of the rest, as Tuskers limped to 234, a first-innings defecit of 85.
Rhinos' second innings was dominated by Friday Kasteni, who racked up 101 not-out before the home side declared on 286/5. John Nyumbu (3/74) had an impressive spell with the ball, but Tuskers were still left facing a target of 372 to win. Once again it was Vermeulen (73) and Coventry (41) who formed the backbone of the innings, but once they were out of the way there was only one likely outcome. The visitors were finally bowled out for 236 (Cremer again leading the bowling with 3/65), giving Rhinos an impressive 135 run victory, leaving them sitting pretty at the top of the Logan Cup table and letting fans know that this season could turn out to be more competitive that we had expected. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 319 (108 overs; Sibanda 130, Mpofu 3/67) & 286/5 decl (89.2 overs; Kasteni 101*, Nyumbu 3/74), Tuskers 234 (77.2 overs; Vermeulen 37, Cremer 5/74) & 236 (83.2 overs; Vermeulen 73, Cremer 3/65). Rhinos win by 135 runs.
You'll probably have noticed the lack of real news about the two Midwest Rhinos v Matabeleland Tuskers matches - it appears ZC are having communications difficulties that mean the scorecards for both matches are not yet available, and we're holding off on the match reports until we have them. For the record, though, Rhinos won both matches. More details when we get them.