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Mountaineers Trounce Eagles

A dramatic batting collapse on the final day saw Mashonaland Eagles slide to a 284-run defeat at the hands of Mountaineers yesterday. Set a target of 374 - unlikely in the first place - Eagles lost their first wicket with the score on just 11, and the procession of batsmen continued from there as Natsai Mushangwe (5/21) and Donald Tiripano (3/34) demolished the Eagles lineup.

Earlier, Mountaineers had set a competitive first-innings total of 354, scored largely by Bernard Mlambo (141) and Timycen Maruma (56). While the rest of thier lineup struggled to make headway against the Eagles bowlers, led by Chad Keegan's 3/76), that proved enough to secure them the first-innings point as Eagles were in turned bowled out for 229, despite 50s by Cephas Zhuwawo and Andrew Hall. In their second innings, Mountaineers seemed in terminal early trouble as they slumped to 23/4, but the partnership of Hamilton Masakadza (unbeaten on 120) and Gary Chirimuta (66) rescued the innings and, with the score on 248/6, the home side felt secure enough to declare. Their confidence was well-founded, as Eagles proceeded to fall apart, handing Mountaineers an impressive victory and seeing them extend their lead at the top of the Logan Cup table. Eagles, meanwhile, continue their winless run in the competition and continue to languish in 4th, ahead of Southern Rocks. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 354 (94.2 overs; Mlambo 141, Keegan 3/76) & 248/5d (70 overs; H Masakadza 120*, Keegan 3/30), Eagles 229 (72.4 overs; Hall 56, Tiripano 3/23) & 89 (41.4 overs; Mutizwa 22, Mushangwe 5/21). Mountaineers win by284 runs.

Kasuza and Chatara Earn Mountaineers Points Over Tuskers

Mountaineers and Tuskers had to settle for a draw on the final day of their Castle Logan cup match at Mutare Sports club, with youngsters Kevin Kasuza and Tendai Chatara’s performances earning Mountaineers a point over Tuskers for a first innings lead. Despite the match being reduced to only one innings per side and no play being possible on the 2nd day, Mountaineers in their usual aggressive temperament, took a first innings lead with entitles them to a bonus point.

Zimbabwe under-19 opener, Kevin Kasuza (92), on his first class debut scored a half century along with Hamilton Masakadza (82) and Timycen Maruma (62) posted a competitive 328 runs all out for the home side. Kasuza continued his courageous performances from Zimbabwe under-19’s January tour to South Africa with an innings that featured 11 boundaries and two sixes. Keegan Meth starred for Tuskers with six for 58 runs in 23.4 overs.

Steven Trenchard top scored in the match with 124 run after wicket-keeper batsman, Adam Wheater (80), had initiated a decent chase for the Tuskers’ upper in the order but the visitors only managed to score 290 runs in the chase. Trenchard’s knocked five sixes and nine boundaries before being trapped lbw by Maruma. Mountaineers’ 38 run first innings lead was thanks in a main to Tendai Chatara’s five-wicket-haul for 56 in 21 overs. Scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 328 (106.4 overs; Kasuza 92, Meth 6/58), Tuskers 290 (77 overs; Trenchard 124, Chatara 5/56). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]

No Play in Final Round of Metbank Pro40 Matches

Rain wiped out both of this week's Metbank Pro40 matches - Rhinos v Tuskers in Kwekwe, and Rocks v Mountaineers in Mutare - so it's as-you-were for the tournament table. The next matches are the semi-finals, and here's the lineup:

28 January      Mountaineers v Rhinos           Harare Sports Club
29 January      Tuskers v Rocks                 Harare Sports Club

Wet Weather Results in Resultless Week in Logan Cup

Bad weather denied Mountaineers and the Southern Rocks a result in their Castle Logan cup match which only permitted two days play, at Mutare Sports Club. The match was plagued with heavy rain and wet outfield condition, but this however did not change Mountaineers position from the top of the log with 26 points, neither did it remove Rocks from their rock bottom position with no win and just two points on the board.

Meanwhile the Kwekwe Match between Midwest Rhinos and Matabeleland Tuskers was abandoned due to a wet outfield caused by excessive rainfall without a ball being bowled.

In Mutare, Rocks won the toss and elected to bat posting 259 all out in the first innings. Stuart Matsikenyeri enjoyed his return to Mutare Sports club as he top scored with 64 runs with support from Raza Butt 31 runs and Tafadzwa Kamungozi who hit out a run a ball 44 runs. As the weather threatened to stop play on countless occasions both team tried to make the most of their time in the middle with the Mountaineers 218 all largely down to efforts from Tinotenda Mawoyo who scored 40 runs and Mark Vermeulen’s entertaining knock of 34 runs.

Rocks made the Mountaineers work hard for their runs, with Brian Vitori and Kamungozi each picking up four wickets. Vitori was the main threat as his pace proved to be the difference between the two teams’ first innings totals. The young left arm seamer could have picked up more wickets had his team been more clinical in their fielding. Steven Marillier and Tatenda Taibu gave the Rocks innings more zest with half centuries that put up 158 for three in the final session. Taibu was out for 53 runs of 55 balls in an innings that featured five fours and two sixes.

Marillier’s knock was more patient for 68 off 89 balls with only eight boundaries from the innings. Taibu and Marillier built the Rocks’ highest partnership 76 runs for the third wicket. The two captains agreed to call it a day with an hour of play left; the score at this point was realistically beyond any teams reach, as the hosts needed 194 runs in the last 15 overs of the final day. Scorecard for the Rocks / Mountaineers match is below the cut.
Rocks 259 (76 overs; Matsikenyeri 64, Mushangwe 3/71) & 158/3 (35 overs; Marillier 62, Maruma 1/17), Mountaineers 218 (77.2 overs; Mawoyo 40, Kamungozi 4/60). Match drawn.
Midwest Rhinos v Matabeleland Tuskers: Match abandoned.
[Match report via ZC]

Maruma Shines for Mountaineers

In a low-scoring match where the batsmen on both sides failed miserably to come to terms with the pitch, Mountaineers owed everything to their all-rounder Timycen Maruma for their victory over Mid-West Rhinos.

Maruma was the only batsman of the day to emerge with much credit, and his 59 was more than twice any other player in the match could offer. Mountaineers backed this up with fine bowling, but the Mid-West Rhinos themselves will always believe, correctly, that they should have been able to chase down a target of only 164.

This match was played at Harare Sports Club, a neutral venue, as the Mutare Sports Club ground was unfit for play after prolonged rain. At the start of the match Mountaineers were top of the tournament log with 18 points, while Rhinos were fourth with 12. Mountaineers, put in to bat, looked likely losers early on as their top order struggled to adapt to a slow pitch and could not time the ball properly. All the specialist batsmen failed, the only one to reach double figures being Tino Mawoyo, who made 20 before skying a drive and being caught at mid-off. The first five batsmen were all back in the pavilion for 50 runs.

The hero of the innings, and the match, was Timycen Maruma, who showed the others – too late for them – how to do it. He bided his time, pushed for ones and twos and waited for the right ball to make his big hits. Those big hits were a four and no fewer than five sixes, spread around the field from long leg to deep extra cover. He found capable support from Gary Chirimuta and Donald Tiripano, the latter helping to add 60 for the seventh wicket, a partnership that ensured Mountaineers at least had a target they could hope to defend. Tiripano made 16 before being run out backing up too far and being sent back. Maruma was finally dismissed lbw for 59 off 54 balls, as he advanced down the pitch to attack a ball from Rainsford and was hit on the full toss. The innings quickly closed for 163 with three balls in hand. Rainsford was the best bowler, controlling the ball well and taking four wickets for 27 runs.

When Rhinos began in pursuit of this moderate target, Brendan Taylor was not about to assess the pace of the pitch; he scored two off his first ball, from Shingi Masakadza, and then slashed at the second to present the keeper with a simple catch. Gary Ballance and Vusi Sibanda for the most part played sensibly against good bowling, apart from an occasional flash at the ball or a risky single, Sibanda finding it difficult to play in the gaps at first. They took the score to 35 before Ballance had his middle stump uprooted by a yorker from Tinashe Panyangara. When Sibanda miscued a pull to mid-on off Tendai Chatara for 15, the score was 41 for three and the match was in the balance.

It quickly swung Mountaineers’ way as they kept up the pressure, and three wickets went down in seven balls to make the score 60 for six. It was a puzzle why Riki Wessels, the one batsman left with the skill and experience to lead a fightback, had not come in until now, at number eight. For a while, it looked as if Wessels might do the trick. With Paul Franks as a valuable partner, he played with real intent and for the first time the Rhinos innings looked stable. But then he moved across too far to drive a straight ball from Prosper Utseya and was adjourned lbw for 22, the highest score of the innings; 95 for seven. It was now only a matter of time, and Utseya wrapped up the tail to finish with three for 10. But all the main bowlers joined in the spoils and they defended their target superbly. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 163 (39.3 overs; Maruma 59, Rainsford 4/27), Rhinos 130 (36.2 overs; Franks 22, Wessels 22, Utseya 3/10). Mountaineers win by 33 runs.

Mountaineers v Rhinos Abandoned

It was meant to be Mountaineers' first match on a newly-laid pitch & outfield at Mutare Sports Club, but the weather knocked that idea on the head - play was washed out on day one, delayed on day two, and come the beginning of day three conditions and a poor forecast led to the abandonment of the fixture. With the first innings remaining unfinished, no points were awared to either side.

MidWest Rhinos, missing Graeme Cremer, Ian Nicolson and Taurai Muzarabani, had won the toss on Thursday and decided to bat against a Mountaineers team at full strength. Play only began after tea, and the newly relaid outfield was still soft, uncut and rather muddy in places. It is unlikely fussy English cricketers would have wanted to play. Almost three hours’ play were possible, and the two schoolboys seen on the premises and suspected of being spectators would have had an entertaining time, as wickets fell and runs came at a good pace until the batsmen shut up shop in the closing overs.

Rhinos were soon in deep trouble against the tournament leaders, and it was largely of their own making. There was a little movement off the pitch, but the batsmen couldn’t – and didn’t – use it as an excuse. The first wicket to fall was that of Friday Kasteni, in the second over, nudging a catch into the slips off Tinashe Panyangara. In the next over, bowled by Shingi Masakadza, Brendan Taylor was not happy to be given out lbw; both openers were gone without scoring. The next over brought another wicket, as Gary Ballance, after hitting two boundaries, one a fortuitous thick edge through the slips, edged a catch into the same area as he attempted to drive, and three wickets were down for just 8 runs. "We pride ourselves on our honesty," the Rhinos coach Jason Gillespie said, adding that all three had admitted to poor shot selection.

Vusi Sibanda and Malcolm Waller fought back by positive methods, hitting the loose ball well and playing with much more intelligence. A good stand seemed to be developing when Sibanda played over a yorker from his rival captain, Hamilton Masakadza, and was bowled for 14; 41 for four. With Riki Wessels as his new partner, Waller continued to play what looked set to be a superb rescue innings. Sadly, he was out to the poorest stroke of them all, fencing feebly outside his off stump to be caught at the wicket off Shingi Masakadza. He had made 38 off 73 balls, and his team was now 81 for five.

Paul Franks, the Nottinghamshire seam-bowling all-rounder, now came in and kept the score ticking over with Wessels. With the seamers earning a well-deserved rest after their fine efforts, spinners Timycen Maruma and Prosper Utseya came on to bowl, slowing the scoring, especially Utseya, whose six overs cost four runs. The batsmen survived to fight another day – but sadly the weather had other ideas, and that was all she wrote. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 110/5 (45 overs; Waller 38, Panyangara 2/29), Mountaineers did not bat. Match abandoned.

Gary Brent Replaces Allan Donald as Mountaineers Coach

Mountaineers play their first true home game of the season today, a Logan Cup fixture against Midwest Rhinos, after the relaying of the pitch at Mutare Sports Club - and they'll be doing so under a hew head coach, as for Zimbabwe bowler Gary Brent takes over the reigns after Allan Donald's surprise departure. It's Brent's first coaching role, and he at least takes over a side that's in good condition - Mountaineers are currently top if the Logan Cup table. Speaking to Newsday, Brent admitted he was surprised to be offered the post:

"I have to admit that it took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting it at all, but it’s something that I have always wanted to do and I’m looking forward to the challenge. We have a very good side and Rhinos also have a decent side so it should be a tightly contested match but we will go out there to win and hopefully after the four days we will come out on top."

Another former player giving back to the side by taking on a coaching role - good luck to him.
Newsday - New Mountaineers coach Brent confident

Mountaineers Edge Eagles

It was another closely fought match between Mashonaland Eagles and Mountaineers, this time in the one-day competition, a match that swung from one side to the other until the penultimate over, when a burst of strokes from Prosper Utseya saw the visitors home with six balls to spare. Nick Compton’s superb century had given Mash Eagles a fine opportunity to make a big score, but the later batting failed and, well though they bowled, they could not halt the determined Mountaineers from recording another win.

Both teams were strengthened by the return of the leading players who had just completed their tour of Bangladesh. Eagles decided to bat on winning the toss in warm, dry, partly cloudy conditions. Tendai Chatara bowled a good opening spell that prevented the big hitter Cephas Zhuwao from taking charge, and soon had him slashing a catch to the keeper for 6.

Eagles’ total of 222, though, was composed almost entirely of the two partnerships that came next, with Compton playing the major part in both. First he added 98 in 19 overs with Simba Gupo, and then 73 in 11 overs with Forster Mutizwa, and while he was there his team looked likely to build a very challenging total. He scored heavily from pulls early in his innings, as some of the bowlers pitched too short, but also played orthodox strokes all round the wicket once the bowlers got the message. The 50 came up in the ninth over and the 100 in the 18th. Gupo batted well for 35 until he was out to a brilliant leaping one-handed batch by Timycen Maruma at long-on. Mutizwa then came in and gave Compton good support in his 29, and at one stage the total was 183 for two in the 33rd over.

At this point Compton (102) swept a catch and the innings went downhill from there, just at the point when they should have been destroying the bowling in the final over. In the last 7.1 overs seven wickets fell for 39 runs, with Shingi Masakadza being the main beneficiary, taking four of them for 32 runs in his five overs. Mountaineers had fought back very well and were no doubt relieved that their target was not nearly as difficult as had looked likely. The slide of the Mash Eagles batting at the end of the innings turned out to be crucial in the result.

Tino Mawoyo and Jonathan Beukes began the Mountaineers innings with great determination, against steadily bowling that gave nothing away, Chad Keegan being the tightest of all. The batsmen had to rely on keeping the scores moving with ones and twos, but they did keep their wickets intact. They were not parted until the 21st over, when Mawoyo, on 43, hit a low return catch to Tino Mutombodzi; the score was now 101 for one. The scoring rate slowly began to climb, and with ten overs to go 75 runs were needed – but with eight wickets still in hand, Greg Smith having gone for 13.

A critical moment occurred when Beukes, on 61, was dropped off a hard low chance to the fielder on the square-leg boundary. Maruma was threatening to take control when he sliced a hard catch into the covers for 25, quickly followed by Mark Vermeulen for 2. But the balance shifted again as Beukes kept accumulating while Shingi Masakadza hit at everything with much success. With three overs in hand, 17 were needed, and for the first time the required rate was below six an over. At this point Beukes, with a fine 86 off 102 balls, hit a return catch to Innocent Chinyoka and the match was wide open again.

Utseya scooped a vital boundary over the keeper, off Douglas Hondo, and then swung another four wide of mid-on, and the 12 required runs were completed from the penultimate over. Mountaineers had won with a final burst and an over to spare, Utseya scoring 11 off five balls and Masakadza 27 off 18. The home side had bowled well and Chinyoka had three wickets to his credit, but the Mountaineers after their good start had just enough power to get home in time. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 222/9 (40 overs; Compton 102, S Masakadza 4/32), Mountaineers 223/5 (39 overs; Beukes 86, Chinyoka 3/39). Mountaineers win by 5 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]

Mountaineers Claim Win Over Eagles

Despite batting collapses in both their innings, Mountaineers held on to claim a win over Mashonaland Eagles in the first of this week's Logan Cup games. Mountaineers opened the match with a below-par 283 in their first innings, composed of Greg Smith's 118 and Mark Vermeulen's 86 and not much else, as the rest of Mountaineers' lineup essentially crumbled. Eagles' bowlers shared the work, with Chad Keegan, Tino Mutombodzi and Prince Masvaure each taking two wickets. In reply, Eagles managed a nice, round 300 runs before themselves being bowled out, Mark Mbofana's 73 led the scoring in a more evenly-shared innings, while Silent Mujaji's 4/71 led the bowling figures for Mountaineers.

That gave Eagles the point for a first-innings lead, but at least at the start of their innings Mountaineers seemed set to finally break loose - the opening pair of Tino Mawoyo (82) and Bernard Mlambo (28) put on 71 for the first wicket, while Jonatahn Beukes added another 52, and at one point Mountaineers were nicely placed at 144/2. From there, though, it was all downhill, as batsman after batsman departed without reaching double figures. Natsai Mushangwe's 17 from 15 balls was as near to "resistance" as the middle and lower order offered on the way to being bowled out for 218, setting Eagles a target of 202 to win - a target that seemed very gettable, based on their first innings performance.

Cricket has a way of surprising, though, and Eagles' second turn with the bat ended up mirroring Mountaineers' in many ways, with just Mark Mbofana (64*) managing a score of any note - Simbarashe Gupo was the next-highest scorer, with just 23 - as Eagles were bundled out for 158, handing Mountaineers a 43-run win that secured their place at the top of the tournament table and added another layer of misery to Eagles' season. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 283 (77.5 overs; Smith 118, Masvaure 2/32) & 218 (62 overs; Mawoyo 82, Mutombodzi 4/35), Eagles 300 (114.5 overs; Mbofana 73, Mujaji 4/71) & 158 (77.1 overs; Mbofana 64*, Chatara 4/21). Mountaineers win by 43 runs.

Mountaineers Go Top After Win Over Tuskers

Mountaineers eased to a comprehensive 78-run win over Matabeleland Tuskers in the MetBank Pro40 match in Bulawayo yesterday. Led by Timycen Maruma's 67, Mountaineers set a target of 205 for the home side to chase, with Jonathan Beukes (38) and Greg Smith (33) also chipping in while Tawanda Mupariwa and Bradley Staddon each took three wickets to restrict Mountaineers to what seemed to be a gettable total.

Mountaineers' bowlers had other ideas, however, and put in an impressive display to bowl Tuskers out for just 127. Gavin Ewing (32) and Mbekezeli Mabuza (30) were the best of a woeful bunch for Tuskers, with seven batsmen failing to reach double figures, while Donald Tiripano (4/14) and Tinashe Panyangara (2/30) led the way with the ball to secure the win for Mountaineers. The winning margin secured the bonus point for the Mutare side, and that's enough to put them top of the tournament table, ahead of Tuskers on run rate. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 205/9 (40 overs; Maruma 67, Staddon 3/24), Tuskers 127 (32.1 overs; Ewing 32, Tiripano 4/16). Mountaineers win by 78 runs.

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