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Rain Forces Draw in Tuskers v Mountaineers Match

The Castle Logan Cup match between Matabeleland Tuskers and Mountaineers ended in a draw after heavy rains caused the abandonment of play after the lunch break on the third day at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. Out of four days, only one and half days of play took place after the first day was washed out completely by the heavy rains.

The match only started on the second day when Tuskers skipper Gavin Ewing won the toss and opted to bat first. Opener Paul Horton top scored for Tuskers with 125 runs from 273 deliveries as Tuskers were bowled out for 264 all out in 109.1 overs. Mountaineers were on 99 for the loss of four wickets in 23.4 overs going into the lunch interval on day three and heavy rains started to fall just before the players were due to take back to the field and the match never resumed, the visitors still training by 165 runs in the first innings.

Tuskers had resumed from their overnight score of 255 runs for the loss of seven wickets with Bradley Staddon and Tawanda Mupariwa the two batsmen in the middle. Only nine runs were added to their overnight score before pace bowler Greg Smith ran through the remaining three batsmen, dismissing Mupariwa and Staddon in quick succession before bringing the Tuskers innings to an end when Njabulo Ncube tried to clear the third man boundary with the ball going up in the air and caught by Timycen Maruma. Smith took four wickets for 29 runs in 18.1 overs, eight of the overs being maidens, leg spinner Maruma three wickets for 17 runs in nine overs with two maidens.

Mountaineers lost four wickets before lunch. Bernard Mlambo, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Jonathan Beukes and Greg Smith were the batsmen to lose their wickets. With the weather intervening again, though, that was the end of the match. With the first innings not reaching completiong, no tournament points were awarded to either side. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 264 (109.1 overs; Horton 121, Smith 4/29), Mountaineers 99/4 (23.4 overs; Mawoyo 40, Mupariwa 1/46). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]

Rocks Bounce Back to Defeat Mountaineers

An inexperienced but inspired Southern Rocks team caused a shock when they turned the tables on the Mountaineers team that had just beaten them by an innings in the Logan Cup match and won the exciting 40-over match that followed. It was a fine all-round team performance, with Steve Marillier and Tendai Chitongo taking the batting honours, while among the bowlers the debutant Bruce Tembo had a day to remember.

A light rain delayed the start of the match for about 90 minutes and caused it to be reduced to a 33-over contest. Mountaineers put Southern Rocks, who made five changes to their four-day team, in to bat on winning the toss. The Rocks’ hit-man, opening batsman Sikandar Raza, did not come off on this occasion, edging a ball from Tinashe Panyangara to the keeper with only one boundary to his credit.

Then came a crucial partnership between Marillier and Stuart Matsikenyeri that laid a firm foundation for the innings. Marillier made most of the early running, but then Matsikenyeri found his touch, although surviving a chance at long leg when 29 – one of several chances that the Mountaineers fielders put down during the morning. Marillier reached his fifty, off 60 balls, with a six over long-off, but was then bowled for 57 driving at a ball from Timycen Maruma. Matsikenyeri immediately followed for 36, caught at deep extra cover, and at 103 for three in the 19th over Rocks were in danger, especially when Steve Tikolo fell cheaply soon afterwards.

Here Chitongo, a player well rated by the coach Monte Lynch, took over with a fine mature innings. He added 29 in five overs with Alester Maregwede, helped to galvanize the lower middle order, and finished with 41 off 39 balls, the only batsman in the team to score at better than a run a ball. The final total was 192 for seven; there were two wickets each for Panyangara and Natsai Mushangwe, while Donald Tiripano also bowled well. It was not a great total considering the weakness of the home team’s bowling.

When Southern Rocks took the field, it was immediately clear they were fired up and enthusiastic, more so than their perhaps over-confident opponents had been. In the second over Tino Mawoyo was caught at mid-on for a single, a wicket that was celebrated by the fielders and a small vocal crowd of about 50 and growing. Bernard Mlambo quickly followed, skying a catch for 11; 16 for two in the fourth over. Both wickets went to the debutant seamer Tembo. Southern Rocks, it appeared, were ready to pull off an upset victory.

Then came what might have been the turning point, as Jonathan Beukes, on 2, skied a fairly simple catch towards midwicket, which the fielder running in dropped. It could have had disastrous consequences, as Beukes and Mark Vermeulen immediately started to attack, hammering the limited attack freely. No further wicket fell until 75, when Vermeulen was caught at long-on in the 12th over for 26 and Mountaineers were well ahead of the required run rate. Beukes was looking in fine form when he also fell to a boundary catch for 39 off 52 balls, and with the opposition 91 for four in the 16th over Southern Rocks were in with a chance again.

Excitement intensified as Maruma departed for 9. The fielding was tight and the batting tense and Mountaineers began to fall behind the clock. With ten overs left, 73 runs were still needed with four wickets left, the key one being that of Greg Smith. But first Tiripano (10) and then Smith (30) were narrowly run out by Robertson Chinyengetere trying to keep up the scoring rate, and the last wicket fell 30 runs short of victory with more than three overs in hand. The best figures were those of Tembo, two for 22, although he was only given four overs. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 192/7 (33/33 overs; Marillier 57, Panyangara 2/34), Mountaineers 162 (29.2/33 overs; Beukes 39, Tembo 2/22). Southern Rocks win by 30 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Rocks Lose by an Innings and Two Runs

Good bowling by Tendai Chatara and Natsai Mushangwe took Mountaineers home to an expected comfortable victory over Southern Rocks before lunch on the final day at Masvingo Sports Club, by an innings and two runs. After a fine partnership by their overnight pair, the home batting collapsed in disappointing fashion, despite the benign pitch.

Southern Rocks resumed on the final morning at 184 for three wickets, still needing 92 runs to avoid the innings defeat. The odds of doing so looked to be in their favour, with Stuart Matsikenyeri and Steve Tikolo both well set and past their fifties, but few of the later batsmen showed much fight and Southern Rocks did not attain even this objective.

The partnership continued very comfortably for another 32 runs, with both batsmen hitting the ball well. But the crucial moment came when Tikolo edged a drive at a ball from Mushangwe to second slip and departed for a fine innings of 69 off 135 balls. The partnership had added 149 runs, but still left Southern Rocks 60 runs behind. Only two runs later Matsikenyeri, who well deserved a century after his long run of poor form, drove a ball into the covers, where it was misfielded. He started for the run and then hesitated, while his partner Sikander Raza kept running. Then he gave up and allowed the fielder to run thirty yards to remove the bails at the bowler’s end, a disappointing end to a fine innings of 88. He faced 160 balls and hit 12 fours and a six.

With the score still at 218, Alester Maregwede edged a catch to the keeper off Mushangwe. Raza only played a couple of the brilliant attacking strokes for which he is becoming famous, and then tried to drive Mushangwe down the pitch; he was both caught and stumped by the keeper, but the catch took precedence. Four good wickets had fallen for 15 runs, and it appeared that Southern Rocks were sinking without a fight.

Blessing Mahwire was not about to give it away, though, and he found support for a while from Brian Vitori, until the latter (9) shouldered arms to Chatara, now armed with the new ball, and had his off stump knocked out. The pair had added 29. Mike Chinouya was quickly bowled, unable to repeat his first-innings resistance, and nine were down for 256, still 20 runs short of saving the innings defeat. Any batsman who follows Chinouya to the crease must have very little batting ability, but Keith Kulinga did stick around long enough for 18 of the runs to be gathered before edging a ball from Chatara to slip and bringing the match to an end. Mahwire was unbeaten with a gallant 34.

Chatara finished with the best figures of four for 55, while Mushangwe had three for 59. Both bowled with good line and length, leaving the pitch to do the work and the batsmen to make the mistakes. Overall, the loss of top players to the Bangladesh tour proved more serious for Southern Rocks than their opponents, as they have much less strength in depth. However, at times some of their players needed to show more fighting spirit. It was a fine victory for Mountaineers, who increase their lead at the head of the Logan Cup table; it was marred to some extent, though, by dishonest appealing. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 497/6d (136 overs; Beukes 106, Vermeulen 103, Kulinga 2/121), Rocks 221 (66.5 overs; Tikolo 53, Chatara 4/65) & 274 (f/o; 90.4 overs; Matsikenyeri 88, Chatara 3/55). Mountaineers win by an innings and 2 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Mountaineers bow to the Rocks

Brilliant batting displays from Sikander Raza and Elton Chigumbura paved the way for a very convincing victory by Southern Rocks over Mountaineers by 23 runs. Both made devastating fifties, and the reigning champions never looked like challenging the Rocks’ total of 198. The final overs were brightened by some mighty blows from Lance Klusener, but the top order had failed so badly that even his brutal fifty could only narrow the margin of defeat.

Southern Rocks batted on winning the toss, which has become standard practice in this tournament. Once again Raza gave his team a flying start, this time in company with Cham Chibhabha, and they raced to 47 off five overs before Chibhabha was caught on the midwicket boundary for 18. Raza ran to his fifty off 28 balls before he holed out at mid-on for 54, which included 8 fours and a six. The score was now 86 for two in ten overs.
Briefly now Mountaineers fought back, and fine fielding brought about the run-outs of
Craig Ervine and Brendan Taylor cheaply; 108 for four in the 14th over. But Chigumbura, again coming in at three, was still there, and with Tendai Chisoro as his new partner he led a brutal assault on the bowling. The pair added 51 in four overs, and one six followed another as they went in for big hitting. Chisoro hit two of them in his 24, while Chigumbura caught in the deep in the final over, scored 71 off 45 balls, with three fours and five sixes. The international bowlers Sean Ervine and Lance Klusener took the worst of the onslaught, although they did in the end get the wickets, two to Klusener. Shingi Masakadza and Netsai Mushangwe, although under less pressure, did a good job in conceding less than seven runs per over.

Mountaineers now had a mountain to climb, 199 to win. Tino Mawoyo, ill-advisedly kept out of the team until now by the presence of more overseas players, gave them a dashing start with 22 off 17 balls, including two sixes and two fours. Then Mountaineers suffered a serious blow as Hamilton Masakadza was given out, rather controversially, by the third umpire for 15; 48 for two after six overs. The situation worsened as Timycen Maruma holed out for 5 from a skyer, and after 10 overs the score was 71 for three.

Victory was still just a possibility at this stage, although the asking rate was more than 12, but a tremendous assault was required, and this did not happen. Mark Vermeulen played some good shots in his 30, off 31 balls, but in such circumstances even more than this was necessary, and Mountaineers slid steadily further behind the required run rate. When Ervine arrived at the crease they needed 16 an over, which had grown to 18 when Klusener joined him. It was an impossible task even for such mighty warriors, although Klusener might have made a challenge had he come in earlier. He hit Chigumbura for three sixes in the penultimate over and Raza for another three in the last; seven sixes altogether in 56 not out, made off only 18 balls. But his team now have to wait for the final match in the afternoon to see if they, who won the tournament last season, or Mid-West Rhinos will be eliminated from the finals. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 198/6 (20 overs; Chigumbura 71, Klusener 2/41), Mountaineers 175/7 (20 overs; Klusener 52*, Kamungozi 2/22). Southern rocks win by 23 runs.
[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]

Eagles Upset Mountaineers to Go Top

Mashonaland Eagles raised their spirits and caused a shock when, after a poor batting performance, they rallied to tumble out the favourites, Mountaineers, for 102 to gain an unexpected victory. They had to thank a fine batting fightback by Ryan Butterworth and Forster Mutizwa, who gave their bowlers something to bowl at, and a fine performance by their bowlers and fielders. Mountaineers, though, will ruefully admit that they had no business to lose chasing a target of only 134.

Eagles decided to bat on winning the toss, having realized that in this tournament to date the team batting first has won every time so far. They were soon deep in trouble. Both openers fell for 16, and then Regis Chakabva, promoted to number three, was run out, leaving the Eagles reeling at 21 for three after 4.1 overs. The bowlers kept the pressure on, and though Ryan ten Doeschate and Greg Lamb made a stand, they were never able to dominate, and after ten overs the score was a meagre 45 for three.

Both fell shortly afterwards, and there seemed little hope of a reasonable total when, after 15 overs, the score was only 78 for five. But Butterworth is always a good man in a tight spot, Mutizwa proved a capable partner, and they set about improving the situation. Butterworth drove a ball from Shingi Masakadza for six and then the recovery began, limited though it only could be with so little time left. They survived the five overs to add 55 in that period, with Butterworth finishing on 41 off 24 balls and Mutizwa with 35 off 22. Thanks to their efforts, Eagles at least reached respectability at 133 for five, although they were still likely to lose unless Mountaineers threw the match away – not impossible, as Mountaineers have a history of over-confidence when facing a small target

Mountaineers too found some difficulty in getting the score moving early on, and signs of impatience kept in. Jonathan Beukes miscued a drive to be caught at mid-off, while Gary Smith holed out in the deep; 36 for two after 8.1 overs. Hamilton Masakadza was still there, batting calmly, while Sean Ervine announced his arrival with a boundary. After ten overs the score was 54 for two, leaving a required run rate of exactly eight an over.

Then Ervine was caught at wicket off Lamb and the Eagles scented possible victory for the first time. This vital wicket was probably the turning of the match. An unwary Timycen Maruma immediately ran himself out, and Lance Klusener joined Masakadza. But the situation only grew worse, as Masakadza mistimed a pull to be caught at midwicket for 29; 58 for five in the 12th over. This now looked like a job for Klusener.

The South African did not look in great touch but he did not panic, playing himself in with care while the required rate rose to 11 an over. He survived a low catch at long-on off Raymond Price, and celebrated with two successive boundaries. After 15 overs the score was 80 for five. Then Andrew Hall produced a yorker that uprooted Klusener’s stumps, and the match was as good as over; he made 22 off 19 balls. Prosper Utseya fought well to make 20, but the tail collapsed like a pack of cards, and Eagles cricket was revived. Lamb with three for 17 returned the best figures and played a vital role with the ball, but all the bowlers did their job well. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 133/5 (20 overs; Butterworth 41*, Mushangwe 1/11), Mountaineers 102 (18.2 overs; H Masakadza 29, Lamb 3/17). Mashonaland Eagles win by 31 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Rhinos Trampled as Mountaineers Reign Supreme

The second match of the day saw reigning champion Mountaineers take on MidWest Rhinos, and Mountaineers set out to stamp their authority on the tournament right from the start. Batting first after winning the toss, Hamilton Masakadza's unbeaten 96 anchored their innings as the side powered they way to 191/5 from their 20 overs - and it could have been more were it not for a middle-order collapse in the final overs. Graeme Cremer was again best with the ball for Rhinos, taking 3/26.

Rhinos' reply got off to the worst possible start with Brendan Taylor falling for a first-ball duck; Lou Vincent (3) and Vusi Sibanda (6) didn't hang around long either, and that poor beginning left Rhinos well behind the curve right from the start. They never looking likely to win, and with wickets falling regularly throughout it was only ever a question of whether they'd be bowled out or at least see out their innings. Some resistance came from Solomon Mire (31), Malcolm Waller (31) and Riki Wessels (45*), but by the time they set off their fireworks the match was already dead. Tinashe Panyangara took 3/24 to lead Mountaineers' bowling figures, as they secured a 35-run win and top place in the tournament table at the end of round one. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 191/5 (20 overs; H Masakadza 96*, Cremer 3/26), Rhinos 156/9 (20 overs; Wessels 45*, Panyangara 3/24). Mountaineers win by 35 runs.

Rocks Sign Lara, Sidebottom; Sean Ervine Heads for Mountaineers

CricInfo reports that Southern Rocks have signed former West Indies great Brian Lara and English paceman Ryan Sidebottom for the forthcoming Stanbic T20 tournament, which gets underway on November 13th. Lara's interest in Zim's domestic T20 was trialled when he visited the country to present the annual ZC awards at the beginning of the season, but now the mystery of who he would sign for has been answered. Hopefully he'll do better for Rocks than he did for Mumbai Champs, the ICL franchise side he captained for a season.

Sean Ervine, meanwhile, will also be returning for the T20 tournament, but this year is moving from Rocks to Mountaineers.

UPDATE: Yorkshire have refused to release Sidebottom for the tournament. He's been replaced in the Rocks side by Chris Harris.
CricInfo - Rocks sign Lara, Sidebottom for T20

On-Fire Mountaineers Trounce Rhinos

Mountaineers claimed victory in their rain-affected Pro40 match against MidWest Rhinos today, after powering their way to 301/7 from their 40 overs. Batting first after being put in by Rhinos, four Mountaineers batsmen reached the 50 mark - Tino Mawoyo (50), Jonathan Beukes (67), Greg Smith (57) and Timycen Maruma (59) - to make sure that Rhinos were always going to be facing an uphill battle to win the match. Chasing, Rhinos got off to a quick start thanks to opening duo Brendan Taylor (67) and Gary Ballance (24), but once they were removed the brakes went on and the run rate quickly fell back below what was required. Rain intervened during the 28th over, with Rhinos on 177/6, and with that being the end of play it fell to Duckworth and Lewis to resolve matters - and Rhinos fell some way short. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 301/7 (40/40 overs; Beukes 67, Waller 2/34), Rhinos 177/6 (27.4/27.4 overs; Taylor 67, Mushangwe 3/30). Mountaineers win by 43 runs (D/L method).

Rhinos & Mountaineers Play Out Draw

Tons by Rhinos openers Brendan Taylor (110) and Gary Ballance (104) and forcing Mountaineers to follow on still didn't help this round's Logan Cup match between Rhinos in Mountaineers i Kwekwe reach a result. Rhinos reached 460/6 before declaring their first innings and bringing their batting for the match to an end, and after restricting Mountaineers to 191 in their first innings seemed on course for a comfortable win, but following-on Mountaineers finally found some backbone - in the form of Hamilton Masakadza - and batted out the match to secure the draw. Masakadza, batting at third, scored a massive 208 not out and hung around until the close of play on the final day, while Tino Mawoyo (55) and Mark Vermeulen (46) also made useful contributions. Graeme Cremer once again was top dog with the ball for Rhinos, taking 7/234 in the match, but the Mountaineers remained stubborn enough to deny Rhinos the win. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 460/6d (135 overs; Taylor 110, Maruma 2/68), Mountaineers 191 (69.5 overs; Smith 66, Cremer 3/73) & 446/7 (f/o; 138 overs; H Masakadza 208*, Cremer 4/161). Match Drawn.

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