An hour after the start, with Mashonaland Eagles reeling on 34 for five, this match looked likely to be a brief, one-sided contest. It was indeed one-sided – but in favour of the side that had begun so badly. The difference was made by Elton Chigumbura, who scored a fine, disciplined rather than devastating century and totally turned the game around for his team. With Vusi Sibanda and Gary Ballance failing, the limited Midwest Rhinos' batting slithered weakly to defeat, giving the home side the Coca-Cola Pro50 trophy, which they deserved after dominating the league competition. Again Zimbabwe's three franchise cricketing tournaments have been won by three different winners during a season.
Eagles had home advantage for this final, as they had won six of their eight league matches against five by Rhinos, and were four points ahead. Rhinos won the toss, usually a great advantage on the Harare Sports Club ground which traditionally helps the seamers in the first hour, and predictably put the opposition in to bat. They had more reason than usual to hope for assistance from the pitch early on, as there had been much rain during the week and another downpour overnight. There was some movement in the early overs, but for a while Edward Rainsford and Mike Chinouya suffered some frustration. Eagles took the positive step of sending in their two main attacking batsmen, Sikandar Raza and Cephas Zhuwao, to open the batting, rather than saving them for later when the pitch was easier. This seemed to be paying off as they put on 31 in eight overs, although both were beaten at times.
Then Raza (20) fatally shouldered arms to a ball from Rainsford that came back in and knocked out his off stump. This started what has this season been a typical collapse as in the course of three overs the score slumped to 34 for five, with the loss in quick succession of Forster Mutizwa (0), Zhuwao (11), Tino Mutombodzi (0) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (0). It looked like curtains for Eagles, unless something very special happened – and it did.
The rest of the innings revolved around Chigumbura. First he found a good partner in Regis Chakabva (20), who helped him add 58 to steady the innings. Nathan Waller hit an aggressive 26 off 24 balls, including two sixes in an over from Graeme Cremer, but when Raymond Price went for 4, the score was 129 for eight in the 32nd over.
Then came the partnership that was to turn the match. With only Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa, of negligible batting skill, to come, Innocent Chinyoka hung in and played a fine supporting innings. They were to add 91 in an unbroken partnership that took Eagles to an unexpected total of 220 for eight. Chinyoka provided solid support and a few very good strokes while Chigumbura took charge. He never totally dominated the match as he can do, but played with excellent shot selection and judgment, with very few false strokes. He hit just nine fours in what was actually his first century in 220 official (List A) one-day matches. His century came off 112 balls in the penultimate over of the innings, and he finished with 104 not out.
Apart from a few brief lapses, Rhinos continued to bowl well to the end. Despite a poor and expensive start to his second spell, Rainsford finished with three for 35, while there were two wickets each for Chinouya and Richard Muzhange. There was some brilliant fielding at times, although a few lapses crept in towards the end of the innings.
Eagles quickly took charge when Rhinos batted. Vusi Sibanda lifted a firm return catch to Gumunyu-Manatsa off the second ball he faced, while Steve Marillier hit a six over square leg and was then lbw playing across a ball from Chinyoka. Two wickets were down for six runs and it was clear that the destiny of this match in all probability depended on whether Gary Ballance could, under this pressure, play yet another major innings in his very dominant season. Very cautious, Ballance took 12 balls to get off the mark and continued to play with care. But, off his 18th ball and with only four runs to his account, he suddenly snapped, flashed at a wide ball outside the off stump from Chinyoka, and edged to the keeper. 19 for three and game over – or as good as. Unless a near-miracle were to occur, with all due respect to Malcolm Waller, Rhinos do not have the depth in batting to recover from such a situation as this. They have no Chigumbura down the order to work wonders.
Knowing the match was lost, the rest of the top order had little fight to offer. Waller made 10 and Roly Benade showed some spirit to make 20. The Mashonaland juggernaut rolled on, halted temporarily by some good hitting from Cremer (47) and Rainsford (38) after seven wickets had fallen for 60 and Mashonaland Eagles knew they had the trophy in the bag. Chigumbura had the best figures of three for 27, although he bowled too many short balls. The match was over with almost eight overs to spare, and Mid-West Rhinos remain the only franchise which has yet to win a trophy. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 220/8 (50 overs; Chigumbura 104*, Rainsford 3/56), Rhinos 157 (42.1 overs; Cremer 47, Chigumbura 3/27). Mashonaland Eagles win by 63 runs.
[Match report via ZC]
A dismal innings by Eagles made life easier for Tuskers in this match than it should have been - although Tuskers had their own batting woes to deal with. See the Cricinfo match report. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 144 (46.2 overs; Garwe 40, Ewing 3/8), Tuskers 145/5 (37.3 overs; Chari 47*, Chinyoka 2/42). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 5 wickets.
Mashonaland Eagles proved to be the whipping boys for Matabeleland Tuskers, as Tuskers romped to the Logan Cup title with an innings-and-30-runs victory in Bulawayo this week. The win wasn't without some drama - Tuskers suffered their own batting collapse in their one innings - but the combined efforts of Terrence Duffin (104) and Glenn Querl (combined 6/70 in the match) saw the home side home.
Eagles posted 181 in their first knock, but after Tuskers reached 281 - a 100-run innings lead - they were skittled out for a woeful 70 in the second, with Sikandar Raza (29) and Nathan Waller (11) being the only batsmen to reach double figures. It's not the first such collapse for Eagles this season, either, which must surely set alarm bells ringing for what is traditionally the strongest side on the domestic circuit.
That's to take nothing away from Tuskers, though, who under coach Davy Houghton have now won the Logan Cup for two seasons straight, and did so this season with a game spare. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 181 (91.5 overs; Gupo 41, Querl 3/45) & 70 (38.4 overs; Sikandar Raza 20, Jones 4/14), Tuskers 281 (82 overs; Duffin 104, Mutombodzi 5/88). Matabeleland Tuskers win by an innings and 30 runs.
The weather denied Midwest Rhinos the chance of achieving the victory they deserved at Harare Sports Club today. At the start of the day a draw had looked very likely, even if the rain kept away, but Mashonaland Eagles approached the day with such a negative attitude that they played into the hands of the visitors, who bowled them out soon after lunch for 165, with Mike Chinouya bowling superbly to take five wickets. But Rhinos were scarcely able to start the chase before the weather struck yet again.
Eagles, who resumed on 82 for two wickets overnight, immediately made it quite clear that, much as they needed the six points for victory to keep up with Matabeleland Tuskers, they were intent on a draw and were not interested in quick runs to try to put pressure on Rhinos in the fourth innings. There was no run in the first twelve minutes, and then Michael Thornely, trying to shoulder arms, edged a catch to the keeper off Mike Chinouya, departing for 32. His overnight partner Ryan Bishop quickly followed, also caught at the wicket off Chinouya, driving outside the off stump for 33, and the score had declined to 89 for four.
The captain, Sikandar Raza, forsook his natural game and dropped anchor, but at the other end there was s steady decline of wickets with little aggressive intent, until the seventh wicket went down for 126. Nathan Waller then came in and played some positive strokes, running up 16 off 22 balls before running himself out looking for an unlikely single. At lunch the score was 161 for eight and Rhinos appeared to have a significant advantage – if the rain kept off.
Raza, 22 off 70 balls at lunch, decided afterwards that with only two uncertain wickets left, he should open out. He hit a superb straight drive for four, but then skied a catch to midwicket for 26; the batsmen crossed and Douglas Hondo was caught at slip off the next delivery for 5, the team being all out for 165. Chinouya deserved his reward of five wickets for 45 runs. Rhinos were set 161 to win in just under two sessions.
The pitch, rather uneven and cracked, helped the bowlers, though not extravagantly, but the greatest threat to Rhinos was the possibility of rain, which had cut short play on each of the first three days, and that would certainly be on their minds. Vusi Sibanda and Steve Marillier gave Mid-West Rhinos a brisk start until Sibanda was out lbw for the second time in the match for the folly of padding up and attempting no stroke to Garwe, for 9.
The skies now began to darken and Eagles looked for ways to waste time. The batsmen for their part seemed to adopt the 'que sera sera' attitude and made no great effort to speed things up. The umpires to their credit for once kept the players on the field for as long as possible, but when a drizzle started in addition to the bad light they had to go. The score was 34 for one off ten overs. Almost inevitably, the drizzle became heavy rain and it was obvious that Rhinos would be denied the victory they deserved. The draw ends their last realistic hope of winning the Logan Cup this season. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 207 (92.3 overs; Bishop 44, Muzhange 4/61) & 165 (69.5 overs; Bishop 33, Chinouya 5/45), Rhinos 212 (61.5 overs; Ballance 101*, Hondo 4/40) & 34/1 (10 overs; Marillier 12*, Garwe 1/13). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]
Eagles suffered the intervention of rain in their run-chase against Rhinos in the other Pro50 match of the weekend, but it came too late to save Rhinos, with Eagles just managing to complete the 20 overs required to ensure a result. Rhinos had posted 189 earlier, with their top order suffering an uncharacteristic collapse before Roland Benade (67), Nyasha Mayavo (38) and Simon Mugava (31) dug in in the lower order to bring some respectability to the score. Trevor Garwe and Nathan Waller did the damage for Eagles, taking 3 wickets apiece. Eagles openers Cephas Zhuwao (58) and Simbarashe Gupo (30) led Eagles reply, with both falling shortly before the rain intervened - but with the Duckworth-Lewis calculations setting Eagles a target of 61, they were well ahead and easily took the points. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 189/9 (50/50 overs; Benade 67, Garwe 3/24) ,Eagles 102/2 (20/20 overs; Zhuwao 58, Muzhange 1/34). Mashonaland Eagles win by 42 runs (D/L method).
After going all to pieces in their Logan Cup encounter during the week, Mountaineers didn't manage much better in the Pro50 rematch on Saturday. Mountaineers won the toss and put Eagles in to bat, managing to restrict them to 218 (after having them at 11/4 in the 4th over); Sikandar Raza and Elton Chigumbura top-scored, both with 58, while Tendai Chatara demolished the Eagles top order on the way to taking 5/38. That should have given Mountaineers a decent chance, but a collapse from 56/1 to 58/4 in the 13th & 14th overs killed their momentum. From there, Eagles made steady progress at chipping away at the remaining batsmen, and when rain intervened at the end of the 33rd over, Mountaineers were already sliding to defeat on 133/8. That proved to be the end of play, and when the Duckworth-Lewis calculations were done, Mountaineers were 59 runs short of the revised target of 193. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 218 (49.3/50 overs; Sikandar Raza 58, Chigumbura 58, Chatara 5/38), Mountaineers (33/33 overs; Pettini 33, Jarvis 3/49). Mashonaland Eagles win by 59 runs (D/L method).
While Mountaineers seemed at one point in the first innings to have Eagles by the throat, a ton by Eagles' Elton Chigumbura and a spectacular second-innings collapse by Mountaineers saw Eagles eventually emerge victors. Mountaineers had posted 219 in their first innings, before going on to reduce Eagles to 34/5 before Chigumbura came to the crease. His presence allowed Eagles to rebuild, and they went on to secure a first-innings lead before being bowled out for 238. At that point, it all went horrible wrong for Mountaineers, though, as Kyle Jarvie (4/18), Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa (3/9) and Chigumbura (3/20) blew through their batsmen, bowling the side out for a miserable 55, and while Eagles did manage to lose 3 wickets on the way to their target of 37, the result was never in doubt. If there was a bright spot for Mountaineers, is was the performance of Shingi Masakadza, who took a combined 9/75 in the match, but overall it'll be a match they'll want to forget. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 219 (82.5 overs; Pettini 55, Gumunyu-Manatsa 4/33) & 55 (26.3 overs; Utseya 11, Chatara 11*, Jarvis 4/18), Eagles 238 (74.3 overs; Chigumbura 121, S Masakadza 6/54) & 39/3 (8.5 overs; Bishop 15*, S Masakadza 3/21). Mashonaland Eagles win by 7 wickets.
Southern Rocks hit rock bottom today as they went down to a humiliating innings defeat at the hands of Mashonaland Eagles in only two days. Superb bowling from Kyle Jarvis was the main factor in rolling the visitors twice in less than a day’s play, but, well as he bowled, he may never have it as easy again in his entire career. He achieved the very rare feat in modern cricket of taking a ten-wicket haul in a single day and finished with remarkable match figures of ten for 53.
Without the injured Tatenda Taibu to add spirit to their batting, Southern Rocks looked a totally demoralized team. They may not be a strong team, but they usually hold their own in one-day cricket; in the four-day game they bat in particular as if they were on death row. This defeatist attitude has brought them disgrace yet again, so much so that right now they are a liability to the Logan Cup competition. Unless the players themselves get their heads right they are doomed to more dismal performances in what remains of the season.
The day began with Southern Rocks beginning their response to the Mashonaland Eagles total of 335, but their batsmen immediately showed they were quite unprepared mentally to build on the advantage given the team by their bowlers the previous evening. Conditions were rather testing early on, with Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa and Kyle Jarvis able to get a bit of movement and lift, but that did not excuse the dismal collapse that followed. Southern Rocks, like Mashonaland, have had endless trouble with their opening partnership, and Roy Kaia, the most successful in that position so far this season, has been moved down to number six. Southern Rocks might do well to follow the example of Mashonaland Eagles and promote a determined tail-ender after today’s display.
Prince Masvaure and Chamu Chibhabha both fell to the second balls they received, from Jarvis, edging into the slips, with the experienced Chibhabha playing a particularly flighty stroke. Sam Mwakayeni continued his sad run of low scores with 5, and Alister Maregwede suffered a vicious lifter first ball, which he could only fend off to third slip. After half an hour’s play Southern Rocks were facing disaster at 6 for four wickets.
Richie Mutumbami fought back briefly to make 12 before giving his wicket away with a nudge into the slips, and Tendai Chisoro, often a fighter, ran himself out foolishly for 7. The score slumped to 43 for seven. But Kaia was still there and he laid into Raymond Price’s bowling when the spinner came on, while Tinashe Panyangara also batted with spirit. At lunch the score had progressed to 69 for seven, but both fell quickly after the interval, with Price luring Kaia (26) out of his crease to be stumped for the highest score of the innings.
The last pair of Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi and Brian Vitori showed some spirit in adding 23 for the last wicket, but Jarvis came back to finish off the innings for 98 when he bowled Vitori. His figures were five for 23, after being four for 10 at one stage, as the last pair gave him some stick. With Vitori coming in at number 11, Southern Rocks have no serious tail; their problem is that they don’t seem to have a serious top order either.
Naturally Southern Rocks had to follow on 237 runs behind, and the main question seemed only to be whether they could survive the day. First impressions were that this was unlikely, as they again showed little appetite for a fightback. Jarvis continued to wreak havoc. In his first over Mwakayeni lobbed a simple catch to mid-off; in his third he removed Masvaure and Mutumbami with successive deliveries. Kaia went in his fifth. Chibhabha, after a lethargic start, fought back for a while with 22, but then Jarvis burst through his defence and spectacularly bowled him to take his tenth wicket of the day, just after tea.
Chisoro played with determination for a while to make 20, but even those batsmen who did show some fight failed to stay for the long haul. When Jarvis was rested, several of the batsmen seemed to have a death wish in trying to sweep Price, who picked up two easy wickets from that shot, including Chisoro, and almost had more. Panyangara, however, considers he should bat higher in the order and made his point with some powerful and determined strokes. He had some lucky escapes from some mishits, but his innings of 39 off 43 off 30 balls (four fours, three sixes) was by some way the highest in both innings.
There were 24 overs still remaining in the day when Southern Rocks were bowled out for the second time. In this innings Jarvis took five for 30, while Price had three victims. Southern Rocks have some serious soul-searching to do over the New Year, and the team needs a new spirit if it is to avoid further disgrace in the rest of the season. The bowlers came out of this match with some credit, especially Vitori and Panyangara, but the fielding was lacking and the batting abysmal. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 335 (88.5 overs; Mutizwa 118, Vitori 5/26), Rocks 98 (29.4 overs; Kaia 26, Jarvis 5/23) & 148 (34 overs; Panyangara 43, Jarvis 5/30). Mashonaland Eagles win by an innings and 89 runs.
[Match report via ZC]
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).
An exciting T20 final between the two former champions ended in victory for the first holders of the trophy, Mountaineers. At the halfway stage it looked as if the home team and last season's champions, Mashonaland Eagles, would triumph, as Mountaineers turned in an indifferent batting performance, and recent high scores in this tournament, especially by the home side, suggested that 143 was too small a target. But Mountaineers bowled and fielded superbly, and the pressure of the occasion probably affected the batsmen, and a middle-order collapse resulted in a fine victory for the Mutare-based team.
It was a humid afternoon with the possibility of more rain when Hamilton Masakadza won toss and bucked the trend by deciding to bat, perhaps with possible interruptions in play in mind. He probably soon regretted it, as the Mountaineers innings never took off. The start was promising enough, when Kevin Kasuza and Phil Mustard scored 29 together in just over three overs, before Kasuza (8) skied a catch into the covers. Then came a major blow, as Masakadza himself drove over a yorker from Andrew Hall and was bowled without scoring.
During the last year or two Mountaineers' batting has been all too dependent on Masakadza, and this time they never recovered from that loss, although at least they did not collapse. Mustard alone of the top order succeeded, scoring 34 of the first 50 runs, which came up in the seventh over. He made 56 altogether off 31 balls, falling lbw to his fellow English professional Rory Hamilton-Brown. When Prosper Utseya fell the score was 95 for five in the 13th over, not a bad scoring rate but with too many wickets down and too little batting strength in the tail.
Chris Harris held the innings together with a sound unbeaten innings of 34, and at last he found a reliable partner in Shingi Masakadza, who made 23 not out off 18 balls. But there was no major hitter available to take advantage of the death overs, and the final score was 142 for six, good enough at the start of the tournament but small stuff compared with the totals compiled in the last few matches. Hamilton-Brown, with two for 14 off three overs, returned the best figures, while Peter Trego took one for 15 off his four overs.
Dirk Nannes and Shingi Masakadza did their utmost to fight back for Mountaineers in a fine spell of bowling at the start of the Mashonaland Eagles innings. The dangerous Ryan ten Doeschate, after his magnificent century yesterday, today cut a catch to point with only a single to his credit; Trego slashed and was caught at the wicket also for 1. When Hamilton-Brown swung a catch to deep square leg the score was 25 for three in the fifth over and the game was on.
However, the inconsistent Stuart Matsikenyeri was on this occasion batting superbly, apart from a sharp return chance on 20, which the bowler failed to hold. The underrated Forster Mutizwa proved an admirable partner and the two began to turn the match around for Mashonaland Eagles. Mountaineers' other bowlers did not present the same threat as their new-ball pair and run-scoring was easier. The partnership added 44 and looked good enough to complete the job when there was a mix-up over a quick single and Matsikenyeri was run out for 34.
An unfortunate accident saw Mutizwa struck on the shoulder by a hard throw from the field; perhaps affected by this, he popped up a return catch to Utseya off the next ball he faced and was out for 27, leaving Mashonaland Eagles now struggling at 83 for five, required run rate now almost ten. They have more strength in their lower order than Mountaineers do, but Chigumbura (14) holed out at long-on and Andrew Hall was stumped for 2. With seven wickets lost, Regis Chakabva, yet to score, was the only recognized batsman left and 55 runs were needed off less than five overs.
Harris was bowled with great cunning, and Chakabva, struggling to score, got a leading edge to provide a simple return catch; 90 for eight. Mashonaland Eagles seemed to have reached the point of no return - but then Nathan Waller struck out boldly and lofted two successive balls from Harris for sixes. Nannes bowled a bad over to give away 12 runs, but then finished it with a superb yorker to bowl Waller for a gallant 19. The last pair needed to score 28 runs off the final two overs, but Shingi Masakadza needed only one delivery to york Tino Mutombodzi and bring the trophy home to Mountaineers. The Mutare side had performed superbly with the ball to come back, if not quite from the dead, then from the brink of disaster. The bowling honours were well shared, with three wickets to Shingi Masakadza, and two each to Nannes, Harris and Utseya. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 142/6 (20 overs; Mustard 56, Hamilton-Brown 2/14), Eagles 115 (18.1 overs; Matsikenyeri 34, S Masakadza 3/21). Mountaineers win by 27 runs.
[Match report via ZC