Matabeleland Tuskers

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Rhinos Claim Win Over Tuskers

Midwest Rhinos claimed their first Logan Cup win of the season with an 87-run win over Tuskers in Bulawayo. Rhinos, led by Riki Wessels' first-innings 105, put on 348 for their first innings before bowling Tuskers out for 256 to claim the first-innings point and a 94-run lead at the half-way point. Terry Duffin fell just short of a ton himself, scoring 97 for Tuskers before falling to the bowling of Malcolm Waller.

Rhinos second innings was much like the first, with Wessels claiming his second ton of the match with an unbeaten 101 before Rhinos declared on 238/9, setting Tuskers a target of 331 to win the match. While Horton (95) and Trenchard (50) made a fight of it, though, Waller cut through the rest of the Tuskers lineup, claiming 5/58 in the second innings as Tuskers were bowled out for 243, leaving them well short of their target.

The win wasn't enough to allow Rhinos to overtake Tuskers in the tourney table, though, as Tuskers remain in second with Rhinos in third. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 348 (89 overs; Wessels 105, Ncube 3/71) & 238/9d (71.1 overs; Wessels 101*, Ncube 4/69), Tuskers 256 (88.4 overs; Duffin 97, Muzarabani 4/54) & 243 (74.5 overs; Horton 95, Waller 5/48). Midwest Rhinos win by 87 runs.

Tuskers Settle for Third Place

A superb unbroken second-wicket partnership of 126 between Paul Horton and Charles Coventry took Matabeleland Tuskers to an easy ninth-wicket victory over Southern Rocks in the third-place T20 play-off.
A batting collapse left Rocks with only an average total, and their weak bowling attack was quite unable to stem the flow of runs from two in-form batsmen.

Again overnight rain and a cloudy sky may have influenced Tuskers to put Rocks in to bat on winning the toss, but the sky soon cleared and conditions did not favour the ball as they had the previous morning.

For once Rocks’ danger man Sikander Raza did not come off, as he miscued a pull and was caught on the midwicket boundary for 2 in the second over. This brought in Tatenda Taibu, who was in brilliant form from the first ball. At his best he combines an excellent mix of quick running and powerful hitting, packing a mighty punch for a man with a light frame. He shared a partnership of 73 with Stuart Matsikenyeri, who is still out of form but did his best until he was run out for 23.

After ten overs the total was 77 for two, of which Taibu had 48. The 100 came up in the 13th over, at which point Taibu swung across the line to a yorker from the medium-paced Brad Staddon and was bowled for 60. He faced 37 balls, hitting 5 fours and 2 sixes.

This started a collapse from which Rocks never properly recovered. Without addition Elton Chigumbura was brilliantly caught one-handed by Charles Coventry on the long-off boundary, and six wickets fell for 32 runs in six overs. The New Zealander Chris Harris came in ridiculously low at number 10 – there are few better men for stemming a collapse – and he showed what he might have done by hitting 13 runs off four balls before the 20 overs were up. 154 for eight was an average total that might have been considerably better, and bad news for Rocks, whose bowling is their weak point. Keegan Meth and Staddon bowled well for two wickets each, while Keith Dabengwa bowled three overs for a wicket and only 11 runs.

Tuskers always batted as though they had time in hand. Neil Carter made must of the opening shots, but he was out for 20 off 15 balls, to a brilliant diving catch in the deep by Taurai Chitongo. The score was 32 for one in 4.1 overs. Then Coventry joined Paul Horton and decided he could play a less frenetic innings than he has been doing recently. He showed better shot selection and a greater willingness to work the ball around the field rather than simply aim for boundary shots, and the experienced Horton was the ideal partner for this game. At ten overs the total was 69 for one, and it was only after the 100 came up in the 13th over that Coventry felt he was not licensed to attack. The boundaries started to flow in his usual style, Horton began to join in, and 22 runs came off an over from Chigumbura. Horton was first to his 50, off 51 balls, and in the same over from Chitongo Coventry reached his off 33 balls with his third six. Another four from Coventry brought an easy victory in the penultimate over: he finished with 67 off 40 balls (6 fours, 3 sixes) and Horton 56 off 55. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 154/8 (20 overs; Taibu 60, Staddon 2/24), Tuskers 158/1 (18.2 overs; Coventry 67*, Chigumbura 1/42). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 9 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]

Eagles Through to the Finals

It was ironic that, in a T20 tournament, the most exciting match should have been that with the lowest scores. What at one stage appeared to be a virtual walkover for Mash Eagles ended in a cliff-hanger, as both teams batted poorly on a moist pitch.

Matabeleland Tuskers seemed to have thrown it away when they crumbled for 70, but a superb fightback by the Tuskers seamers, in particular Chris Mpofu and Keegan Meth, shattered the Eagles’ batting, and it took a nail-biting last-wicket partnership between Raymond Price and Douglas Hondo to scramble together the last seven runs for victory.

Overnight rain had dampened the pitch and Mash Eagles had good reason to put the Tuskers in to bat; in fact, the pitch always looked difficult to score runs on. The Tuskers, however, brought about their own destruction. Paul Horton hit a boundary and then hit a hard catch straight at cover. Charles Coventry slashed at his first ball and skied a catch to backward point, and the score was 7 for two in the second over. Gavin Ewing couldn’t get going at all and faced ten balls without scoring, before lofting a catch to deep cover. There seemed to be no plan to work the ball around the field to keep the score moving in difficult conditions.

Then followed some inexplicable cricket by the two English professionals, Neil Carter and Adam Wheater, men who should know that T20 cricket allows no time to dig in and graft. Incredibly, after ten overs the score was a mere 32 for three, with these two sharing a stand of 28 in almost eight overs. Wheater was finally run out for 13 off 24 balls, while Carter fell later in the same way for 25 off 33 balls; incredibly he was the fastest scorer of the innings – except for last man Njabulo Ncube, 2 off two balls. The final total of 70 did them little credit. Andrew Hall and Hondo took three cheap wickets apiece but, well as they bowled, they were very flattered.

To give them their due, the Tuskers came out fighting hard with their bowling and fielding, and Mash Eagles likewise seemed to have little idea or plan of how best to score runs; perhaps facing such a small target they did not feel they needed one. In fact, their batsmen had less excuse than the Tuskers, as they were under less pressure to score quickly. In the fifth over Eagles were 11 for four, all to catches from miscued attacking strokes. Mpofu and Meth bowled superbly, but again the batsmen were culpable. Tuskers wisely bowled these two out, and Mpofu should have made a further breakthrough in his final over as Ryan ten Doeschate on 4 edged a catch straight to first slip, and it went down. This was to prove crucial. After the eight overs by the opening bowlers Eagles were 19 for four, and it was now the duty of the other bowlers to continue the good work. Both bowlers took two wickets for only 9 runs.

Tawanda Mupariwa and Ncube both responded well, and four overs later each had taken a wicket, including that of Ryan Butterworth, hero of Eagles’ two previous matches, lbw to Mupariwa for 8. At 36 for six, Eagles themselves were now in trouble. Andrew Hall now marched in, determined to restore sanity. His confidence rubbed off on ten Doeschate, and in no time runs were flowing as normal. Just as Eagles seemed set to win, Ten Doeschate, after another life at slip, fell for 26, and Greg Lamb was brilliantly run out by Ncube; 57 for eight in the 16th over. With seven runs to go came the vital blow, Hall caught at the wicket off Ncube, and the last pair of Price and Hondo came together. Amid great tension the runs all came in singles until Price slashed a ball from Mupariwa over the slips for the winning boundary amid tremendous excitement. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 70 (19.2 overs; Carter 25, Hall 3/12), Eagles 74/9 (18.3 overs; ten Doeschate 26, Mpofu 2/9, Meth 2/9). Mashonaland Eagles win by 1 wicket.
[Match report via ZC]

Rhinos Stun Tuskers & Eliminate Mountaineers

In a remarkable match, Mid-West Rhinos climbed out of the grave and won a place in the finals at the expense of Mountaineers when they narrowly beat Matabeleland Tuskers in a rain-affected match. The Bulawayo team looked certain to win after a disappointing batting performance by the Rhinos, but the rain came at the wrong time for them. It appeared the over-confidence brought about their downfall, as some careless strokes cost vital wickets, Graeme Cremer took full advantage with four vital wickets, and the Tuskers’ batting collapsed in dismal fashion.

Mid-West Rhinos as usual batted on winning the toss, and Brendan Taylor got them off to a dynamic start. He scored most of the runs and when his partner, Gary Ballance (8), was bowled by a slow yorker from Chris Mpofu after five overs, the score was 39 for one. Vusi Sibanda’s bad luck continued, as he was run out for 3, but soon afterwards Taylor reached his fifty off 33 balls. Lou Vincent swung two successive deliveries from John Nyumbu for six, but the wily off-spinner immediately had his revenge, trapping him lbw next ball.
This began a steady slide of wickets that never stopped. Taylor was out for 61 off 45 balls, bowled swinging across the line to the medium-pace of Brad Staddon, and none of the other batsmen reached 20. It was a disappointing batting display, and Staddon finished with the remarkable but rather flattering figures of four for 17. Rhinos were dismissed for 148 with a ball in hand, giving Tuskers an excellent chance of becoming only the second team in this tournament to chase a target successfully.

Ed Rainsford quickly struck back with the ball for the Rhinos, trapping Neil Carter lbw in the first over of the Tuskers’ innings. He almost had Charles Coventry caught from a miscued pull, but the ball fell between the fielders, and Coventry then set about demolishing the attack. Paul Horton wisely played his usual steady game and made sure his aggressive partner had most of the strike. Soon, though, a light rain began falling and the light worsened; eventually, after 5.2 overs with the score at 43 for one, the players gave up the unequal struggle and left the field.

After nearly an hour’s break, the rain finally stopped and the players took the field again, the new target being 110 in 14 overs. Coventry promptly hit two fours and a six off the four remaining balls of Rainsford’s over, but then degenerated into slogging and was caught in the deep off Paul Franks for 41 off 26 balls. Then came another blow, as Paul Horton was run out attempting a second run, and the score was now 62 for three. Stephen Trenchard was lbw, and after ten overs the score was 78 for four; another 32 needed off four overs.

Then Cremer stepped in, dismissing Keith Dabengwa and Keegan Meth with successive deliveries; 83 for six. A single later Brad Staddon was run out, and suddenly the match had swung completely and the Rhinos were favourites to win. Adam Wheater was the Tuskers’ only specialist batsman left, and when he holed out on the midwicket boundary with the score on 92, they were as good as dead. The tail collapsed like a pack of cards and Rhinos were back from the dead, Cremer taking four wickets for 17 runs. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 148 (19.5/20 overs; Taylor 61, Staddon 4/17), Tuskers 94 (13.2/14 overs; target 110; Coventry 41, Cremer 4/17). Midwest Rhinos win by 15 runs (D/L method).
[Match report via ZC]

Spirited Tuskers edge Mountaineers

This was a very interesting battle between two possible finalists in the tournament, and on this occasion Matabeleland Tuskers had a little more all-round ability than Mountaineers. They did not begin the match very well, but thanks to the steady Paul Horton (71) they compiled quite a good total. Some good bowling and rather disappointing batting from their rivals, nobody lasting for long, saw Mountaineers slide steadily towards defeat.

Matabeleland Tuskers batted on winning the toss, and their innings followed a fairly common pattern this tournament: an uninspiring start, with wickets falling regularly, only for the later partnerships to pull through for them. Their chief scorer was Horton, the Australian-born Lancashire player, who batted through their innings and was run out for 71 off the last possible ball. He survived the early fall of wickets, which began when Lance Klusener bowled the often devastating Neil Carter for 6 in the second over.
Briefly Charles Coventry threatened to take the match under his control, hammering two sixes and racing to 20 off 10 balls, before he drilled a catch straight at long-off. At the ten-over mark the score was 71 for three. The bowling was generally good, with some fine deliveries, such as the one from Shingi Masakadza that bowled Sean Williams for 7. Tuskers were 103 for five in the 16th over, but rescue came when Keegan Meth joined Horton and the pair hammered another 59 runs together before time ran out. Horton’s 71 came off 56 balls and his steady influence throughout the innings was invaluable. Meth was unbeaten with 33 off 14, his big hitting coming just at the right time.

Tuskers were soon celebrating the dismissal of Hamilton Masakadza in the second over. Masakadza had just driven Chris Mpofu majestically through the covers for four, but the bowler responded with a superb delivery that knocked back his middle and leg stumps. Then Mark Vermeulen skied a catch to mid-off, and both openers were gone for 10. There followed a struggle for runs, but a good stand between Greg Smith and Sean Ervine took the score to 74 for three after 10 overs, slightly better than Tuskers had been. Then both fell in quick succession, Ervine to a superb catch by Williams in the deep off a mistimed pull – this, as it proved, was the turning point of the match. Timycen Maruma played a few powerful strokes, but when he was caught at deep square leg, also by Williams, the score was a dangerous 96 for six after 13 overs.

Prosper Utseya quickly followed, and it looked like a job for Klusener. The required run rate was still just under ten an over, so it was still possible. But the South African unwisely attempted a sweep against a straight ball from John Nyumbu and was bowled for 8 – and so were virtually extinguished Mountaineers’ hopes. Shingi Masakadza did not think so, and in a final burst for glory he hammered 16 (two sixes and a four) off eight balls before perishing at long-off. But Mountaineers were dismissed with more than two overs to spare, four bowlers taking two wickets for fewer than 20 runs, and Tuskers were assured of a place in the final four. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 162/6 (20 overs; Horton 71, S Masakadza 1/20), Mountaineers 136 (17.4 overs; Ervine 33, Dabengwa 2/13). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 26 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Star-Studded Rocks Bounce Back

This was a batsman’s match, and the record-making batsmen from Southern Rocks were able to do the job with more effect than those of the Matabeleland Tuskers. The Rocks set up a new competition record total of 221 for six wickets, due mainly to two devastating innings from Sikandar Raza and Elton Chigumbura, who totally destroyed the Tuskers’ bowling. Try as they did, the Tuskers could find nobody able to match such brutality, but their batsmen went down with honour.

Southern Rocks had the good fortune to win the toss and, considering that the side batting first has won every match in this tournament to date, decided to do that. The slaughter began from the very first ball, the chief executioner being Raza, the Pakistani-born opener who was one of the successes of last year’s T20 but has only just been awarded a place – very successfully – in his franchise’s Logan Cup team. There was a changed batting order, with Brian Lara opening the innings with Raza. It is not often Lara has been overshadowed, but on this occasion he was totally eclipsed, although he did wisely give his partner his head and most of the bowling. When Lara was caught on the long-on boundary for 11, off 11 balls, the total was already 98; Raza had already passed his fifty, which came off only 25 balls.

Chigumbura came in next, a wise choice, as he hit his first ball for six and matched Raza stroke for stroke. Raza fully deserved a century, but he eventually skied a catch into the covers for 93 off 48 balls, in only the 12th over; he hit 11 fours and 5 sixes. Chigumbura also reached a fifty off 25 balls, and his eventual score was 65 off 31 balls, without a single four – but with seven sixes. After these two had gone, the rest of the innings was inevitably an anticlimax, but the 200 came up in the 18th over and the eventual total was 221 for six. In last year’s tournament the highest team total was a mere 190 for two, by Mountaineers against Rocks.

Matabeleland Tuskers’ task was almost impossible, but the two Englishmen opening the innings, Paul Horton and Neil Carter, set about their task in a quieter way than Raza and Chigumbura had done, but no less effectively, putting on 48 in four overs before Horton fell for 20. Soon afterwards Carter went for 30 off 15 balls, and Charles Coventry and Gavin Ewing had to take over. If anybody could challenge the massive Rocks total, Coventry could, and he was soon attacking with great power. After ten overs Tuskers had reached 105 for two, still in the game, and Coventry had 37 off 19 balls. But without adding to this he holed out in the deep, having faced 20 balls and hit a four and 4 sixes.

Realistically, this ended the Tuskers’ hopes. Ewing did his best, with 36 off 26 balls, but there was nobody now left capable of achieving the required rate of 11 an over, and climbing. 74 were needed off the last five overs, but the remaining wickets tumbled as the batsmen attempted the impossible. Cham Chibhabha with four for 32 did most to wrap up the tail, but it was the batting that will long be remembered in this match – not least by the bowlers themselves. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 221/6 (20 overs; Sikandar Raza 93, Carter 2/32), Tuskers 180 (19.3 over; Coventry 37, Chibhabha 4/32). Southern Rocks win by 41 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Tuskers Seal Victory Over Eagles

Matabeleland Tuskers, making a belated appearance in this tournament, began strongly with a 12-run victory over the hosts, Mashonaland Eagles. The Englishman Neil Carter blazed 49 runs off 29 balls at the start, to give his team an advantage they never really lost. Then a good all-round bowling performance proved too much for Eagles as they chased a daunting target.

Tuskers batted on winning the toss, and could scarcely have got off to a batter start. Carter ripped the opening bowling to shreds, in particular enjoying the bowling of Trevor Garwe, whom he hammered for four fours and two sixes scooped over fine leg in one over; as there were also three wides, this gave a total of 31 runs off that over. His opening partner Paul Horton was then out for 3 – the score now being 53 after 4.3 overs. Carter was finally caught on the long-off boundary for 49, but Charles Coventry carried on his good work, making 23 off 14 balls. After ten overs the score was 97 for three, and a total of 200 looked quite possible.

Around this point, however, Eagles began to pull the game back, unexpectedly through the gentle medium-pace of Ryan Butterworth, who took three wickets for 20 runs off his four overs and quite spoiled the momentum of the Tuskers. Sean Williams (38 not out) and Gavin Ewing (15) fought back by adding 38 in six overs, but this was rather slow going for this point of the innings, and the total only reached 167 for seven, after such a good start. Garwe bowled Keegan Meth with a knee-high full toss off the final ball of the innings and finished with the interesting figures of 2-0-44-1.

Eagles lost their big hitter Cephas Zhuwao to the second ball of the innings, caught near the midwicket boundary, and then Chris Mpofu produced a superb delivery that came back and splayed Forster Mutizwa’s stumps; 10 for two. Grant Flower and Nick Compton fought back and gradually began to get on top of the bowling, helped by a missed chance at mid-off early in their stand. The stand was ended by a brilliant driving catch by Tawanda Mupariwa, off a reverse sweep, that removed Compton for 30. The score was 62 for four in the tenth over, and more than ten an over were now required to win.

As Greg Lamb settled in, the required rate increased to 12, and he was then stumped off Keith Dabengwa for 6; next ball, different over, Flower was also stumped, off Ewing, for 29, and the Eagles were now in need of a miracle. Butterworth (39 not out off 17 balls) and Regis Chakabva (26 off 12) did their utmost to get there when it looked quite impossible, putting on 45 runs in just three overs and a ball, but the task was just too great, although it meant Mash Eagles could lose with honour. The economical spin of Dabengwa and Ewing, who both took two wickets and whose combined seven overs cost only 35 runs, played a vital part in the result. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 167/7 (20 overs; Carter 49, Butterworth 3/20), Eagles 155/9 (20 overs; Butterworth 39*, Ewing 2/13). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 12 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Tuskers Complete Double Over Eagles

Another sub-par performance from the Eagles left them rooted to the bottom of the MetBank Pro40 table, as Tuskers completed a domestic double over them after beating them in the Logan Cup earlier in the week. Eagles, put in to bat after Tuskers won the toss, posted a sub-par 196 all out in just over 35 overs, with Tuskers' Chris Mpofu (3/32) leading the bowling. Chasing, Tuskers got off to a slightly slow start, but led by Terry Duffin's patient 88 - the only knock of note - they chased down to target with just over 4 overs to spare. Greg Lamb took 3/42 for Eagles, while Ray Price marked his return to the side with an economic 25 runs conceded off the 7 overs he bowled. The win leaves Tuskers sitting pretty at the top of the tourney table, a Eagles languishing at the bottom - a complete reversal over last season's form for both sides. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 196 (35.1 overs; Butterworth 45, Mpofu 3/32), Tuskers 197/6 (35.5 overs; Duffin 88, Lamb 3/42). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 4 wickets.

Tuskers Trample Eagles in Logan Cup Matchup

Eagles' woeful form continued as Tuskers thumped them by an innings and 124 runs inside 3 days, sending Tuskers to a clear lead in the Logan Cup table. Batting first after having been put in by Eagles, Tuskers posted an impressive 478 in their only innings with tons from Seand Williams (127) and Keith Dabengwa (114) leading the way. Douglas Hondo took 4/75 for Eagles. In reply, though, Eagles were skittled for a palty 76, with only Andrew Hall (33) and Ryan Butterworth (10) reaching double figures. Tuskers captain Gavin Ewing wasted no time in enforcing the follow-on, and while Eagles managed a better score in the second innings they still ended a long way short of making Tuskers bat again - the side were bowled out second time around for 278, with Greg Lamb's 101 being the highlight of an otherwise forgettable game for Eagles. Keegan Meth led the bowling figures for Tuskers in both innings, taking a combined 8/63 to reinforce his claims for a long overdue national callup. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 478 (126.5 overs; Williams 127, Hondo 4/75), Eagles 76 (34 overs; Hall 33, Meth 4/24) & 278 (88 overs; Lamb 101, Meth 4/39). Matabeland Tuskers win by an innings and 124 runs.

Tuskers Claim Second Metbank Pro40 Win

Matabeleland Tuskers earned their second win in the Metbank Pro40, edging out Southern Rocks by five runs in an encounter which went down to the wire at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. Mbekezeli Mabuza was the hero for the home franchise, scoring an unbeaten 46 runs at number seven, before going on to bowl the last and most crucial over in which Rocks needed 10 runs to win and gave away only four runs. Mabuza had earlier shared a century stand with wicketkeeper Adam Wheater, who once again top scored with 69 runs for Tuskers in their total of 218.

Rocks failed to capitalise on a perfect start from their openers Tendai Chitongo (73) and Steve Marillier (55). After losing the toss and being sent in to bat, Tuskers did not get a great start, reduced to 79 for five in the 18th over before Wheater and Mabuza dug in. Wheater, the hero in Tuskers’ Logan Cup match at the same venue, again starred with the bat, striking the ball well and complementing that with good running between the wickets in his partnership with Mabuza. Wheater got most of his runs with the slog sweep shot, raced to his half century after facing just 52 deliveries, smashing three fours in the process before he became one of left arm seamer Tendai Chisoro victims. Keegan Meth got an inside edge off a Chinouya delivery and was bowled for one run.

Mabuza found another partner in Bradley Staddon and the two shared in a seventh wicket stand of 36 runs. Mabuza finished with 46 from 66 balls, with Staddon contributing 20 off 11 balls. Chisoro finished with figures of four wickets for 26 with one wicket apiece for Chinouya and Keith Kulinga.

Southern Rocks got a perfect start from their opening pair of Steve Marillier and Tendai Chitongo, who put on 102 runs for the first wicket before left arm spinner Williams who found the breakthrough when he had Marillier taken in the deep by John Nyumbu. Off-spinner Nyumbu picked up three quick wickets to peg back the visitors. Mabuza reduced them to 189 for six but with four wickets, Southern Rocks were still in the hunt.

Ten runs were required off the last over, bowled by Mabuza with Stuart Matsikenyeri and Alester Maregwede the two batsmen at the crease, but only four singles came off the over and Tuskers had their second win of the tournament. Nyumbu was the pick of the Tuskers bowlers with three wickets for 31 runs with one wicket each for Njabulo Ncube, Williams and Mabuza. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 218/7 (40 overs; Wheater 69, Chisoro 4/26), Rocks 213/6 (40 overs; Chitongo 73, Nyumbu 3/31). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 5 runs.

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