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Mountaineers Cruise into Faithwear Final

Reigning Stanbic T20 champions Mountaineers cruised easily into the finals of the Faithwear-Metbank one-day competition after sealing a seven wicket semi final victory against Southern Rocks at Mutare Sports Club on Wednesday.

Mountaineers captain Hamilton Masakadza won the toss and sent the Masvingo based Rocks to bat. Rocks had a bad day in the crease as wickets started falling as early as the fifth over. Razzar Butt and Chamunorwa Chibhabha opened the batting and managed to score seven and four runs respectively. Eric Chauluka was the next man but did change the situation as he picked up eight runs before falling victim to Shingirai Masakadza.

Veteran Steve Tikolo was the only Rocks batsman to score above thirty managing a total of 37 runs before providing Tatenda Taibu with a simple catch behind the stumps off the bowling of national team skipper Prosper Utseya. The rest of the team added a total of 57 runs on the board bringing the troubled Rocks to a grand total of 134 all out.

The younger of the Masakadza brothers, Shingi, was the pick of the bowlers for Mountaineers as he posted figures of three wickets for 20 runs in six overs. He was also named man of the match, with an economy rate of 3.33 conceding two no-balls in his spell. Prosper Utseya who also had a fantastic game picked up two wickets after conceding eight runs in two overs. Tymcen Maruma claimed two wickets for 26 runs while teenage sensation Tendai Chatara walked away with one wicket equaling his captains wicket-taking in this match.

Tinotenda Mawoyo and Stuart Matsikenyeri opened the proceedings for the hosts with a 53 run partnership off 65 balls. Matsikenyeri was the first to heard back to the pavilion for a well orchestrated 36 runs after facing 48 balls proving five fours and one six. H. Masakadza joined Mawoyo and together they made a 54 run partnership before Mawoyo attempted to go for the maximum and was caught and bowled by Hillary Matanga for 40 runs. Masakadza who cleared the boundary for six five times and for four two times made 44 runs off 28 balls before being caught by Alistair Maregwede at cow corner. Nyamuzinga wrapped up the game with a square cut that went all the way for four off Butt's bowling.

Off spinner Hillary Matanga was the pick of the bowlers for the Rocks as he picked up two wickets for 333 runs in five overs. Butt claimed one wicket for five runs in five balls, ending Rocks campaign for the finals.

Full scorecard below the cut. Mountaineers will host Midwest Rhinos in what will be a stampeding final at Mutare Sports Club this Saturday.
Rocks 131 (39.5 overs; Tikolo 37, S Masakadza 3/20), Mountaineers 134/3 (19.5 overs; H Masakadza 44, Matanga 2/33). Mountaineers win by 7 wickets.
[Source: ZC]

Midwest Rhinos in Final as Taylor Cuts Through Mountaineers Bowlers

The Logan Cup season finished in bitter disappointment for Mountaineers, who had anticipated a place in the final, only to be pipped at the post by Midwest Rhinos, who beat them by eight wickets in three days at Mutare Sports Club. Struggling after two days, Mountaineers had no great heroics in their second innings and, despite early jitters, Rhinos got home mainly on the back of a devastating innings of 62 not out from Brendan Taylor.

Mountaineers resumed their second innings on 62 for three wickets, still 64 runs behind the Rhinos innings total. Things entered badly from the start, as Stuart Matsikenyeri (17) was dismissed lbw to Ed Rainsford without any addition to the score. Hamilton Masakadza took his responsibilities so seriously that he took 49 balls and 65 minutes to get off the mark, before he finally forced a ball through the covers for four. Soon after that he lost Timycen Maruma, who played on to Rainsford, playing back, for 4; Mountaineers were now 75 for five and looked to be tumbling headlong towards an early defeat.

They should have been worse off still, as Prosper Utseya was dropped off a sharp chance to second slip before he had scored, the ball travelling for four. Rhinos paid quite heavily for this error, as the pair almost doubled the total while in partnership, putting on 62 runs together. The deficit was erased just before lunch, so Mountaineers went in for the break just six runs ahead and with a little more hope of making a fight of it.

The afternoon session all but extinguished their hopes. Neither batsman lasted long after lunch. Utseya was the first to go, caught in the gully off Rainsford for 32, but the celebrations really took off with the fall of Masakadza. He had batted with the utmost restraint for 37 off 135 balls in just over three hours, but he fell another victim to Rainsford, pushing at a ball moving away outside off stump to give the wicketkeeper a straight-forward catch. Mountaineers had slumped to 144/7 and defeat seemed imminent.

But now was the time for real defiance. Shingi Masakadza and Natsai Mushangwe laid into the bowling with a vengeance, sharing the highest partnership of the innings as they hammered 73 together. Again, catches went down, until Masakadza finally sliced a low catch to third man to depart for 27. Mushangwe, the leading partner, raced to 53 off 49 balls, but was then adjudged lbw next ball; Taurai Muzarabani dismissed them both. The last wicket fell for 230, leaving Rhinos with 105 runs to win. Rainsford was the best bowler, taking four vital wickets for 46 and showing great determination and skill.

Rhinos have shown some fragile batting this season, so the target was not a foregone conclusion; the pitch was taking a bit of spin, and no respectable side should have been bowled out chasing that target unless they choked. Mountaineers went on the attack from the start, using Utseya as their second bowler with close fielders, and the openers seemed rendered strokeless. Bothwell Chapungu, nonplussed by a spinner from Utseya, was clean bowled for 2, but Brendan Taylor was taking no nonsense. He swung successive balls from Utseya over the pavilion for six, and continued to assault the spinner, despite losing Friday Kasteni, lbw padding up to Shingi Masakadza for 4.

Vusi Sibanda was almost a sleeping partner as Taylor laid into the bowlers, racing to his fifty off 34 balls. His off-side drives and leg-side flicks and pulls were particularly impressive. It was an off-driven four by Sibanda, followed by four byes from a wild delivery down the leg side, that finally took Rhinos to a well-earned victory and a place in next week's Logan Cup final against Mashonaland Eagles. Taylor finished unbeaten on 62 (42 balls) and Sibanda 23.
Mountaineers 212 (56.3 overs; Maruma 59, Rainsford 3/41) & 230 (69.3 overs; Mushangwe 53, Rainsford 4/46), Rhinos 338 (104.2 overs; Waller 117, Chitara 5/42) & 106/2 (17.4 overs; Taylor 62*, Utseya 1/28). Rhinos win by 8 wickets.

Franchise 'B' League: Eagles Beat Mountaineers by 6 Wickets

These matches took place a while back, so I'm not going to dig into the details, but the scorecards are only becoming available now. Posting what I have for the record - full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 155 (38.2 overs; Mushangwe 66, Munyede 3/7) & 106 (33.1 overs; Maparura 39, Mutombodzi 6/32), Eagles 136 (42.2 overs; Mwakayeni 39, Mushangwe 6/32) & 126/4 (24.2 overs; Mwakayeni 65, Mushangwe 2/46). Eagles 'B' win by 6 wickets.

Franchise 'B' League: Mountaineers Draw with Tuskers

These matches took place a while back, so I'm not going to dig into the details, but the scorecards are only becoming available now. Posting what I have for the record - full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 183 (39.4 overs; Ngulube 40, Bukutu 4/45) & 206/5 decl (32 overs; Vermeulen 121, Sanyika 2/59), Mountaineers 106 (50.1 overs; Kasuza 40, Mamhiyo 4/22) & 21/2 (4.1 overs; Kasuza 7, Mamhiyo 1/8). Match Drawn.

Franchise 'B' League: Rocks draw with Mountaineers

These matches took place a while back, so I'm not going to dig into the details, but the scorecards are only becoming available now. Posting what I have for the record - full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 304/8 decl (75 overs; Ncube 99, Mushayi 3/41), Rocks 146/0 (40 overs; Maunze 68*, Kondo 67*). Match Drawn.

Franchise 'B' League: Mountaineers draw with Eagles

These matches took place a while back, so I'm not going to dig into the details, but the scorecards are only becoming available now. Posting what I have for the record - full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 219 (71.2 overs; Nyauchi 41*, Munede 3/32) & 176 (57.3 overs; Maparura 54, Zhuwawo 3/24), Eagles 227 (63.5 overs; Manyumwa 53, Mujaji 4/56) & 131/5 (28 overs; Chinyoka 58*, Nyauchi 3/30). Match Drawn.

Mountaineers Claim Title After Thrashing Eagles

Yesterday, Eagles thrashed Mountaineers in the final round of group matches - today, in the Stanbic T20 final, Mountaineers turned the tables and gave Eagles a taste of their own medicine to claim the title after a highly entertaining tournament. Mountaineers won the toss and put Eagles in to bat, and the home side were simply unable to really get going as wickets fell regularly, with no-one able to form a foundation for the innings. Elton Chigumbura's 20 was the best of the bunch, as Eagles were removed for 105 in the 19th over. Greg Smith took 3/11 to lead the bowling figures for Mountaineers. In reply, Mountaineers were never in any trouble - Smith (1) was the only wicket to fall, with the score on 8, after which Hamilton Masakadza (64*) and Tatenda Taibu (37*) knocked off the required runs wit little fuss, reaching the target with 15 balls to spare. Masakadza was subsequently named Player of the Series and Batsman of the Series, with Vipers' Tony Palladino being named Bowler of the Series. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 105 (18.4 overs; Chigumbura 20, Smith 3/11), Mountaineers 106/1 (17.3 overs; H Masakadza 64*, Hondo 1/19). Mountaineers win by 9 wickets.

Eagles Thrash Mountaineers in Top-of-Table Clash

In what could well be a prelude of tomorrow's final, Mountaineers and Mashonaland Eagles met in the first of today's matches in the Stanbic T20, and if the result was anything to go by, the trophy can be handed to Eagles already. Batting first after being put in to bat, Eagles only managed to score 141/9 from their 20 overs, with Greb Lamb's 40 being the only real innings of note as Greg Smith took an impressive 5/27 for Mountaineers to keep Eagles in check. If Eagles were poor, though, Mountaineers were some way below woeful - only Hamilton Masakadza (16) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (10) reach double figures as their side was skittled out for 59 inside 12 overs. Ray Price was the man who did the damage, surpassing Greg Smith's efforts with a haul of 5/12 from just 17 balls bowled. Now, what happens next depends on which version of the tournament table you're looking at. If CricInfo and Cricket Archive's table is correct, then Rhinos are still in with a shout of reaching the final if they beat Vipers this afternoon; SuperSport have been using a different table in their broadcasts, and if that's correct then it's already settled that Eagles will meet Mountaineers again tomorrow afternoon. We'll have to wait and see who's correct. Full scorecard for this match below the cut.
Eagles 141/9 (20 overs; Lamb 40, Smith 5/27), Mountaineers 59 (11.5 overs; H Masakadza 16, Price 5/12). Eagles win by 82 runs.

Vipers Defanged as Mountaineers Go Top

Day Six, and we're on the downward run towards the final in the Stanbic T20. The first matchup of the day was Mountaineers v Desert Vipers, with both sides in with a shout of a final spot depending how the result of this match went. Mountaineers won the toss and chose to bat, and openers Bernard Mlambo and Hamilton Masakadza made a good start, putting on 81 for the opening wicket before Mlambo departed for 24. Masakadza went on to score 52 himself before being bowled by Williams, and while the wickets began to flow fairly regularly from there (Stuart Matsikenyeri's 32 was the best of the rest) the side were still able to push on to 172/8 from their allotted overs. In reply, Vipers lost Rudolph (5) early, but then Raymond van Schoor and Craig Williams set off at a cracking pace - their run-rate was over 10/over until van Schoor departed for 31, while Williams hung around a while longer, adding 35 himself before being bowled by Mushangwe in the 11th over with the score on 91. At that point Vipers were well-placed, but that was also the point where the wheels fell off their innings somewhat, with a number of quick wickets making sure that they simply weren't able to get scoring again at anywhere near the required rate. Their innings finally petered out with the side closing on 150/9 after their 30 overs, handing Mountaineers a convincing 21-run yet. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 172/8 (20 overs; H Masakadza 52, Williams 3/28), Vipers 150/9 (20 overs; Williams 35, Maruma 3/24). Mountaineers win by 21 runs.

Rocks Fall Agonisingly Short Against Mountaineers

Southern Rocks versus Mountaineers was the second match of the day, and in the end was far closer and far more tense than might have been expected at the half-way point. Batting first after winning the toss, Mountaineers powered their way to 190/2 from their 20 overs, easily the highest team total of the tournament so far, with Hamilton Masakadza staying at the crease for the entire innings and amassing 102 runs (from 56 balls faced) along the way, before finally holing out to Tafadzwa Kamungozi on the final ball. Add in a determined 71 from Tatenda Taibu, and it looked as though Mountaineers had the match all sewn up. Rocks weren't going to give up without a fight, though, and Chamu Chibhabha got their innings started at a cracking rate of 13/over. That wasn't sustainable, but Chibhabha (70) and #3 Steve Tikolo added 107 for the 3rd wicket in 70 balls, keeping the side within a shout of their target, before Chibhabha finally fell to the bowling of Prosper Utseya. Tikolo (65) kept Rocks on track from there, but the wickets began to fall around him, and the loss of his own wicket with 4 balls remaining in the match and 9 runs still required probably called time on Rocks' chances. Craig Ervine fell 1 run and 2 balls later, leaving Alester Maregwede and Ian Harvey to finish the job - and they fell an agonising 2 runs short of victory, closing their innings on 189/6. Still, it was a determined effort from the side that is generally considered the weakest in the tournament, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them spring a few surprises yet. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 190/2 (20 overs; H Masakadza 102, Mahwire 1/18), Rocks 189/6 (20 overs; Chibhabha 70, Chitara 1/20). Mountaineers win by 1 run.

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