Coca-Cola Pro50

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[Pro50] Chibhabha Leads Rocks to Victory Over Eagles

This was a tight match on a rather uncooperative pitch where fine innings by Chamu Chibhabha and Tendai Chisoro proved the vital factor for Southern Rocks, who won by Duckworth-Lewis calculations in bad light at about ten minutes to six.

It was a warm sunny day as Southern Rocks won the toss and decided to field. The pitch turned out to be slow and scoring quickly was not easy, and the batsmen were to have particular difficulty timing their drives. The Mashonaland Eagles batsmen did not apply themselves particularly well, though, and a number of them fell to – or were dropped off – skyers.

Eagles for once managed to find a successful opening partnership; in fact the 57 that was put on turned out to be the highest stand of the innings. It consisted of Cephas Zhuwao and the tail-ender Tino Mutombodzi, a stop-gap opener who did a good job. Zhuwao, the 'big bully' as he is known, got off the mark in the second over with a six over midwicket off Tinashe Panyangara. However, in the same bowler’s next over he was dropped off a huge skyer at mid-off, and a few balls later Mutombodzi sliced a ball through the hands of the fielder at backward point. Zhuwao now decided there was no mileage in big hitting today and settled down to bat with more discretion. Finally at 57 Mutombodzi (27) played on to a ball from Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi and, not long afterwards, Zhuwao fatally forgot his new policy and holed out at long-off. He had made 35 off 43 balls and was destined to be the top scorer of the innings.

When Forster Mutizwa, who never looked comfortable, was out for 8, the score was 79 for three after 18 overs. Rory Hamilton-Brown and Regis Chakabva dug in to stabilize the innings and put on 53 together, although the Englishman struggled to score. Chakabva was caught at the wicket off an attempted cut for 31 and Hamilton-Brown followed in the next over for 21 off 50 balls. Stuart Matsikenyeri and Mark Mbofana made a few at some speed but then were out; six batsmen reached 20 but none passed 35. The last wicket fell in the penultimate over, with the total 178. There was much poor fielding from Southern Rocks, but there was some good bowling, with Munyaradzi the most successful with four wickets for 35 runs. Despite the pitch, Mashonaland Eagles should have scored well over 200.

Southern Rocks had plenty of time to chase this target, but suffered a bad start when Prince Masvaure was caught in the slips without scoring, off Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa. Then came a vital partnership of 64 between Roy Kaia, who adopted the anchor rule, and Chamu Chibhabha, who recognized the nature of the pitch and wisely curbed his strokeplay. They batted through to the 20th over, when Hamilton-Brown took the ball and persuaded Kaia (23) to pull his first ball to midwicket.

Ashby Mutumbami made 10, but the key figure was Chibhabha, who continued to play with great discrimination. Alister Maregwede, with a dogged 8, slowed the scoring down and when he was out at 110 for four the required rate had risen to almost five, not easy on this pitch. This may have pressured Chibhabha into swinging across the line and being bowled by Kyle Jarvis for 59.

This could have been the turning point of the match, as Chisoro was left with five tail-enders as his only support. But he received good help from Panyangara, and when the umpires decided the light was too bad – a decision that would have infuriated a crowd if there had been one – 13 more were needed off the last 3.5 overs with four wickets in hand. The noble Chisoro finished with 39 not out and this victory will bring welcome relief to the beleaguered Southern Rocks team. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 178 (46.2/48 overs; Zhuwao 35, Munyaradzai 4/35), Rocks 166/1 (44.1/44.1 overs; Chibhabha 59, Jarvis 2/43). Southern Rocks win by 11 runs (D/L method).

Mountaineers Finally Off the Mark Against Hapless Rocks

Took them a while, but Mountaineers have finally broken their duck in the Pro50, with a win over Southern Rocks - although it was a match they should probably have lost as, batting first, Rocks had them reduced to 18/5 before Kevin Kasuza (129*) played a match-winning innings, adding 126 for the 6th wicket with Gary Chirimuta (46). He didn't find much support from the tail after that, but his efforts helped lift the side to 229 before his side were bowled out, giving them at least a chance of defending. In reply, though, Rocks made it easy for them, imploding to 123 all out in 36 overs, with Natsai Mushangwe again bringing himself to the attention of national selectors by taking 5/22 as Mountaineers eased to a 106-run win. The fragility of their batting lineup will be a concern - decent performances by them are few and far between this season - but a win is a win and Mountaineers will be happy to finally get some points on the board. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 229 (38.2 overs; Kasuza 129*, Kaia 4/22), Rocks 123 (36.2 overs; Chisoro 31, Mushangwe 5/22). Mountaineers win by 106 runs.

Tuskers Trounced by Rhinos

Matabeleland Tuskers were given a trouncing by Midwest Rhinos in their Pro50 meeting on Saturday, despite a ton from Tuskers captain Gavin Ewing and a useful 507 from Craig Ervine. The rest of the home side's lineup failed to contribute much, leaving them on 227 at the close of the innings - well sub-par on the Queen's pitch. In-form Rhinos captain Gary Ballance took full advantage with an unbeaten ton of his own, with Malcolm Waller continuing his own impressive run of form with 65 not out, as Rhinos reached their target with nearly 10 overs to spare. The result pins Tuskers to the bottom of the Pro50 tournament table, and lifts Rhinos into second place, although they've still got some work to do to catch Eagles. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 227 (49.5 overs; Ewing 106, Rainsford 3/35, Rhinos 228/1 (40.5 overs; Ballance 108*, Dabengwa 1/42). Rhinos win by 9 wickets.

[Pro50] Mountaineers Slump to Another Defeat

Midwest Rhinos claimed a 5-wicket victory over Mountaineers, who continue to struggle this season, remaining winless in both the Pro50 and Logan Cup competitions. Batting first, Mountaineers posted 221/8 from their 50 overs, led by Jethro Maudzi's 77 on his List A debut, while Richard Muzhange took 4/45 for Rhinos. That target proved to be no real problem for Rhinos to overhaul, though - Stephen Marillier (40), Rememberance Nyathi (46) and Riki Wessels 48) each played a significant role in the chase, with Rhinos reaching their target with 11 overs to spare. Tendai Chatara led the bowling figures for Mountaineers, taking 3/70, but this was yet another game that Mountaineers will want to forget. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 221/8 (50 overs; Maudzi 77, Muzhange 4/45), Rhinos 224/5 (39 overs; Wessels 48, Chatara 3/70). Midwest Rhinos win by 5 wickets

[Pro50] Eagles Maintain Winning Streak

The Mashonaland Eagles juggernaut rolls on, completing a clean sweep over the other four franchises in the first half of the Pro50 programme when they beat Matabeleland Tuskers convincingly at Harare Sports Club. Fine batting by Cephas Zhuwao and Ryan Bishop was followed by a good all-round bowling and fielding performance, so that this match was as good as over halfway through the Matabeleland Tuskers’ innings. Only some fine batting by Steve Trenchard in particular down the order kept the margin of defeat for his team down to reasonable proportions.

The weather was hot and dry, the pitch shaven but with reasonable bounce, and the spectators were conspicuous by their absence. Harare is the only cricket centre where this competition is not well supported by the public, perhaps through lack of marketing. Matabeleland Tuskers won the toss and put Mashonaland Eagles in to bat.

With Sikandar Raza moving down the order, the early Mashonaland Eagles batting was a study in contrasts. Dean Mazhawidza took 27 balls to get off the mark and made four runs in his first hour at the crease. Zhuwao as usual was eager for the big hit, and when he reached 50 Mazhawidza had 6. Zhuwao celebrated with 20 off an over from the experienced off-spinner John Nyumbu, but was caught at deep midwicket for 71, scored off 77 balls with 11 fours and 2 sixes.

By this time Mazhawidza had moved on to 10, but now he began to play more positively, keeping the score ticking over in company with Bishop, before falling lbw to Glen Querl for 39, made off 91 balls. The score was now 154 for two in the 36th over. When Sikandar Raza joined Bishop the pair proceeded to take the bowling apart, hammering 87 in partnership in the space of nine overs. Raza made 47 from 30 balls, departing in the 45th over with the score now 244 for four.

The course of the innings now changed dramatically, as in the final six overs the last seven wickets fell for 34 runs, in a display of frenetic batting against controlled and persistent bowling. Querl, who had been mainly responsible for Mazhawidza’s turgid start, finished with four for 49, while the medium-paced Brad Staddon took a more expensive four for 72. The final total was 278, when 300 had looked a certainty when Bishop and Raza were together.

The Matabeleland Tuskers innings never took off. They had quite a strong team, considering that the national team squad and also Zimbabwe A players were unavailable, but the loss of Charles Coventry through injury was a serious loss. The first six in their order, at least, were players with experience and a good track record, but they never really put it together. Terry Duffin, like his counterpart Mazhawidza, really struggled when he opened the batting; unlike him, he was out for just a single off 15 balls.

Gavin Ewing was in sound form and kept the board moving well; his next partner, Paul Horton from Lancashire, gave him good support and the pair added 45 runs in 12 overs. This was a sound platform for the team to build on, but the building never came. Ewing made exactly 50 off 60 balls before he was out in the 20th over, and with him went Matabeleland Tuskers’ hopes, as the middle order never even fizzled. Craig Ervine might have led the charge, but he was out for 16, and when Adam Wheater departed lbw, the match was as good as over at 116 for six with the required run rate now over eight. The bowling was not spectacular, but it was sound and steady and did the job.

Trenchard does not have a good one-day record, but he fought back well, hitting the bad ball hard, and with Querl in particular he produced Matabeleland Tuskers’ best batting of the match – easier with the pressure off, as victory was now not an option. Querl made 34 off 27 balls, the pair adding 66 in less than seven overs, and in the same over Trenchard was run out for 60 off 43 balls. The innings closed for 240, better than had seemed likely earlier. Mark Mbofana, with three for 26, was the most successful bowler, but they all turned in steady performances. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 278 (50 overs; Zhuwao 71, Querl 4/49), Tuskers 240 (46.1 overs; Trenchard 60, Mbofana 3/26). Mashonaland Eagles win by 38 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Eagles Trounce Rhinos, With a Little Kiwi Help

Mashonaland Eagles did visiting Kiwi Rob Nicol a favour at the weekend and included the member of the touring New Zealand side in their team for the match against Midwest Rhinos, and immediately reaped the rewards. Whether franchise sides should be helping visiting players out in this way is another thing... After winning the toss and opting to bat, Nicol - opening for his 'adopted' side - put on 102, top-scoring for the match, while fellow overseas player Ryan Bishop (76) and back-in-form Stuart Matsikenyeri (80) helped the side to an imposing 308/5 from their 50 overs. Mike Chonouya took 3/67 for Rhinos, but with his 10 overs going for nearly 7/over he still won't have been too pleased with his spell.

That left Rhinos with a battle on their hands, but rather than fight they meekly capitulated to the Eagles' bowling. Rememberance Nyathi (34) and Riki Wessels (33) put up some fight - the psir added 64 for the 4th wicket - but that was about the only fight from the Rhinos as they were bowled out for 169, handing Eagles a 139-run win that extended their lead at the top of the tournament table to 8 points, with only 3 rounds of the tournament played. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 308/5 (50 overs; Nicol 102, Chinouya 3/67), Rhinos 169 (35.4 overs; Nyathi 34, Garwe 3/39). Mashonaland Eagles win by 139 runs.

Rocks Fight Back to Last-Ball Win Over Tuskers

Matabeleland Tuskers probably thought that they'd set s good enough target in their Pro50 match against Southern Rocks - batting first after being put in by Rocks, the Tuskers managed a decent 264/9 from their 50 overs. Captain Gavin Ewing led the way with 67, Steven Trenchard added 48, while Duffin, Wheater and Ervine (supposedly too injured to play in the T20 in Harare, but still putting in a showing here) all passed 30. Roy Kaia took 3/32, while Tendai Chisoro nabbed 2/43 for Rocks.

Rocks' reply got off to a horrible start, with the side 3/30 after 9 overs as the top order spluttered. But Richmond Mutumbami's 94 off 79 balls got the innings firing, and while captain Alester Maregwede, in at 6th, had to deal with wickets falling around him, he managed to add 70 off 90 balls before finally falling with 2 balls remaining in the innings - and 5 runs required to win. Last man in Tafadzwa Kamungozi then took the bulls by the horns, scoring a four to tie the scores and then one run off the final ball to secure a fighting comeback win for Rocks, who are quickly earning a reputation as a side that just doesn't give up - at least in the one-day game. Tuskers, meanwhile, won't be pleased at letting them win a match that at one point they looked certain to lose. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 264/9 (50 overs; Ewing 67, Kaia 3/32), Rocks 265/9 (50 overs; Mutumbami 94, Ncube 5/71). Southern Rocks win by 1 wicket.

[Pro50] Rocks & Rhinos Tie

A match which, to all appearances, was virtually doomed to be one-sided from the start, went down to the wire thanks to a magnificent century from Tatenda Taibu, returning to play for his home franchise.
Against the odds, he almost took Southern Rocks to an unexpected victory, but with too little support from the middle order he fell at a crucial stage. Then, when the match appeared as good as over, a spirited innings by Tendai Chisoro and some guts from the last pair led to a remarkable tie.

Rocks were without all three of their frontline seamers. Their bowling was to be opened by Robertson Chinyengetere, a useful but part-time seamer, and Bruce Tembo from the second team. Their ordeal was made worse by losing the toss, Rhinos deciding to bat on a warm sunny morning on a flat batting pitch.

Had Rocks held all their catches, they may well have been able to contain the Rhinos innings within reasonable bounds, even with their threadbare attack; as it was, with several chances going down and a few sloppy pieces of work in the field, they had no chance. The visitors may have been a little overconfident as some of their batsmen did not climb in as they should have done. Steve Marillier fell early, making 20 off 22 balls before clipping a ball straight back to the bowler, Tendai Chisoro. Then Vusi Sibanda, not in his best form, skied a catch to mid-off, which was dropped, although the sun was probably in the fielder’s eyes. Gary Ballance, after playing himself in, went in for some big hitting, and survived a chance on the midwicket boundary. He was eventually run out for 46 thanks to some superb work from Taibu. Sibanda made 47, rarely looking at his best apart from a superb straight six.

The innings really took off when Brendan Taylor (55) and Malcolm Waller were together and added 79 in ten overs. Simon Mugava made a quick 24, but the best innings was undoubtedly that of Waller, who chose his shots well in making an unbeaten 86 off 87 balls, with ten fours and a six. The 300 came up in the final over, the grand total being 305 for eight wickets. Roy Kaia removed Riki Wessels and Remembrance Nyathi cheaply, briefly stemming the flood, but none of the other bowlers had much success.

Roy Kaia began Rocks’ seemingly hopeless run chase with a bang, going for his shots and playing them very well. The 50 went up in the eighth over, most of them to Kaia, but soon afterwards he was out, caught at the wicket off Mike Chinouya, for 31 off 33 balls. Immediately the run rate dropped, and soon Ian Nicolson produced a fast and lethal yorker to remove Chamu Chibhabha for 20.

Then came the partnership between Chinyengetere and Taibu that really got a lively crowd of about a hundred excited. Taibu played the leading role, as expected, playing his shots with panache and running like a hare between wickets. He hit two straight sixes and no bowler could tame him. There were a few fumbles in the field and one possible chance that the fielder apparently picked up late. They kept close to the required run rate of over six an over, and clearly Taibu was the key figure – if he went, there may well be nobody else to take the team home.

The 200 went up in the 35th over, with two wickets in hand. The stand was broken at 166, though, as Nicolson returned to produce another fine yorker that bowled Chinyengetere for 58. At 229 for three, 77 were still needed in 12 overs. Shortly afterwards, in partnership with Richie Mutumbami, Taibu reached his century off 92 balls. The scoring rate slowed, though, as wickets fell at the other end, and when almost nine an over were needed, Taibu hit out in desperation, only to loft a catch to deep midwicket for 106 in the 45th over. He faced 102 balls and hit nine fours and two sixes. It looked like game over for the Rocks.

However, Tendai Chisoro began to find the middle of his bat and kept the excitement going to the last over, though, when Southern Rocks still had 11 runs needed. Edward Rainsford bowled well and Chisoro, after missing the first two deliveries, skied the third for a catch. The last pair were hardly expected to do the job, but an edged boundary helped. Five were needed off the final ball – only for Rainsford to bowl a yorker that shot through the gap between bat and pad, evaded the wicket-keeper and went through for four byes to bring about a remarkable tie.

Nicolson’s two wicket-taking yorkers were vital for Mid-West Rhinos, while Simon Mugava did just as vital a job, his three wickets causing the middle-order collapse that cost Southern Rocks the match. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 305/8 (50 overs; Waller 86*, Kaia 2/32), Rocks 305/9 (50 overs; Taibu 106, Mugava 3/47). Match tied.
[Match report via ZC]

[Pro50] Mountaineers Crumble to Eagles Again

After being comprehensively beaten in their Logan Cup meeting, Mountaineers found themselves unable to take their revenge on Mashonaland Eagles in their Pro50 meeting on Saturday. Eagles set a useful 269, with Stuart Matsikenyeri's maiden List A ton leading the way and, he'll be hoping, marking a return to some decent form - although his was the only Eagles innings of note. Shingi Masakadza, Donald Tiripano and Prosper Utseya bagged two apiece for Mountaineers. I reply, though, Mountaineers were truly dismal, apart from a fighting 71 scored by Hamilton Masakadza off 81 balls - but with none of his team-mates passing 20, he ended up being responsible for nearly half his teams runs, as Mountaineers were bowled out for a paltry 152, Kyle Jarvis (4/35) leading the carnage.

That leaves Mountaineers, usually considered one of the domestic game's premier sides, propping up the table in both the Logan Cup and Pro50 tournaments - very much unfamiliar territory for them. Eagles, meanwhile, are riding high at the top of the table, with the maximum 10 points from their two matches. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 269/9 (50 overs; Matsikenyeri 110*, S Masakadza 2/46), Mountaineers 152 (38.3 overs; H Masakadza 71, Jarvis 4/35). Mashonaland Eagles win by 117 runs.

[Pro50] Eagles Defeat Rocks

Forster Mutizwa drove Mashonaland Eagles to victory in their first match of the new season over the Southern Rocks in a Coca-Cola Cup one-day match played at Masvingo Sports Club on Saturday. Southern Rocks put up an impressive fight but some emphatic batting from the Eagles broke down their fortress on home soil.

The Zimbabwe domestic one-day competition has reverted to the 50-over format; last season the competition was played over 40 overs per side. However, the match in Masvingo had to be reduced to 40 each when rain had stopped play after 2.1 overs, when Rocks had scored five runs without loss. Mash Eagles won the toss and sent the home side in to bat, a decision that could have been prompted by the then overcast conditions – rare but ideal on a typical flat Masvingo wicket.

The young fast bowler, Nathan Waller, toppled the top order, removing Chamunorwa Chibhabha (15) in the 13th over, followed by Roy Kaia (29) in the 15th. Among a list of player movements this season is Prince Masvaure who left the Eagles for the Rocks, and his was the first wicket to fall, bowled by Trevor Garwe. Mark Vermeulen was the top scorer for the Rocks with a trademark proficient 41 runs from 71 deliveries, featuring three boundaries. Southern Rocks were 186 for eight after 40 overs. Visiting captain Stuart Matsikenyeri, on his debut match as the Mash Eagles skipper, tried out seven bowlers, the pick being Waller with two wickets for 18 from eight overs.

Mutizwa was sensational as he shared two 48-run partnerships and was the mainstay of the Eagles’ brisk pursuit. He partnered with Matsikenyeri (28) and then Mark Mbofana (24*). The former Mountaineers right-arm medium-pacer, Tinashe Panyangara, was a worthy signing for the Rocks as he took the fight to the Eagles, claiming three for 28 off his allotted eight overs. Mutizwa however was unstoppable with a well-played unbeaten 73 from 92 balls. Eagles reached their target in 37.5 overs with six wickets in hand.

Many of the bowlers appear not have utilised their off-season time profitably as a total of 60 extras were conceded in the match, making up 16% of the total runs scored, with five penalty runs being awarded to the Eagles for the batsmen persistently running on the pitch in the Southern Rocks innings. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 186/8 (40 overs; Vermeulen 41, Waller 2/18, Mbofana 2/31), Eagles 188/4 (37.5 overs; Mutizwa 73*, Panyangara 3/28). Mashonaland Eagles win by 6 wickets (D/L method).
[Match report via ZC]

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