Mashonaland Eagles

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[Pro50] Eagles Maintain Winning Streak

The Mashonaland Eagles juggernaut rolls on, completing a clean sweep over the other four franchises in the first half of the Pro50 programme when they beat Matabeleland Tuskers convincingly at Harare Sports Club. Fine batting by Cephas Zhuwao and Ryan Bishop was followed by a good all-round bowling and fielding performance, so that this match was as good as over halfway through the Matabeleland Tuskers’ innings. Only some fine batting by Steve Trenchard in particular down the order kept the margin of defeat for his team down to reasonable proportions.

The weather was hot and dry, the pitch shaven but with reasonable bounce, and the spectators were conspicuous by their absence. Harare is the only cricket centre where this competition is not well supported by the public, perhaps through lack of marketing. Matabeleland Tuskers won the toss and put Mashonaland Eagles in to bat.

With Sikandar Raza moving down the order, the early Mashonaland Eagles batting was a study in contrasts. Dean Mazhawidza took 27 balls to get off the mark and made four runs in his first hour at the crease. Zhuwao as usual was eager for the big hit, and when he reached 50 Mazhawidza had 6. Zhuwao celebrated with 20 off an over from the experienced off-spinner John Nyumbu, but was caught at deep midwicket for 71, scored off 77 balls with 11 fours and 2 sixes.

By this time Mazhawidza had moved on to 10, but now he began to play more positively, keeping the score ticking over in company with Bishop, before falling lbw to Glen Querl for 39, made off 91 balls. The score was now 154 for two in the 36th over. When Sikandar Raza joined Bishop the pair proceeded to take the bowling apart, hammering 87 in partnership in the space of nine overs. Raza made 47 from 30 balls, departing in the 45th over with the score now 244 for four.

The course of the innings now changed dramatically, as in the final six overs the last seven wickets fell for 34 runs, in a display of frenetic batting against controlled and persistent bowling. Querl, who had been mainly responsible for Mazhawidza’s turgid start, finished with four for 49, while the medium-paced Brad Staddon took a more expensive four for 72. The final total was 278, when 300 had looked a certainty when Bishop and Raza were together.

The Matabeleland Tuskers innings never took off. They had quite a strong team, considering that the national team squad and also Zimbabwe A players were unavailable, but the loss of Charles Coventry through injury was a serious loss. The first six in their order, at least, were players with experience and a good track record, but they never really put it together. Terry Duffin, like his counterpart Mazhawidza, really struggled when he opened the batting; unlike him, he was out for just a single off 15 balls.

Gavin Ewing was in sound form and kept the board moving well; his next partner, Paul Horton from Lancashire, gave him good support and the pair added 45 runs in 12 overs. This was a sound platform for the team to build on, but the building never came. Ewing made exactly 50 off 60 balls before he was out in the 20th over, and with him went Matabeleland Tuskers’ hopes, as the middle order never even fizzled. Craig Ervine might have led the charge, but he was out for 16, and when Adam Wheater departed lbw, the match was as good as over at 116 for six with the required run rate now over eight. The bowling was not spectacular, but it was sound and steady and did the job.

Trenchard does not have a good one-day record, but he fought back well, hitting the bad ball hard, and with Querl in particular he produced Matabeleland Tuskers’ best batting of the match – easier with the pressure off, as victory was now not an option. Querl made 34 off 27 balls, the pair adding 66 in less than seven overs, and in the same over Trenchard was run out for 60 off 43 balls. The innings closed for 240, better than had seemed likely earlier. Mark Mbofana, with three for 26, was the most successful bowler, but they all turned in steady performances. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 278 (50 overs; Zhuwao 71, Querl 4/49), Tuskers 240 (46.1 overs; Trenchard 60, Mbofana 3/26). Mashonaland Eagles win by 38 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

[Logan Cup] Rhinos and Eagles Fight Out Thrilling Draw

Early in the game, Mashonaland Eagles seemed certain to win this one, but Midwet Rhinos showed plenty of fight as they secured a draw on a game that went down to the final ball and could have gone either way. Rhinos posted 321 in their first innings after being put in to bat, lead by Gary Ballance's 83 and Solomon Mire's 96 - a decent score, but kept in check by an impressive bowling performance from relative newcomer Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa, who took 5/89. In reply, Stuart Matsikenyeri's 144, added to strong contributions from Sikandar Raza (68) and Peter Moor (65) saw Eagles reach 463, a lead of 142.

Gary Ballance again fired strongly for Rhinos in the second innings, scoring 128 (and increasing the clamour for him to make himself available for the national side), while Riki Wessels pitched in with 73 as Rhinos posted 299, leaving Eagles with a target of 158 to win on the final afternoon. Rather than play for the draw, Eagles went for the win, but very nearly came unstuck as Rhinos' bowlers tore their way through the Eagles lineup, Gumunyu-Manatsa again leading the charge with 4/46, and Eagles found themselves facing the final ball of the day requiring 4 to win with just 1 wicket left. There were no winning runs for Eagles, no last-gasp wicket for Rhinos, as the game ended in a draw, but it really couldn't have been any closer, and it's unfortunate for Rhinos that the rules of this year's competition saw them leave with no point for their fighting effort. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 321 (96.4 overs; Mire 96, Gumunyu-Manatsa 5/89) & 299 (100.2 overs; Ballance 128, Gumunya-Manatsa 4/46), Eagles 463 (126.5 overs; Matsikenyeri 144, Chinouya 4/75) & 154/9 (27 overs; Chakabva 54, Rainsford 3/39). Match drawn.

[Logan Cup] Eagles Ease to Win Over Mountaineers

Mashonaland Eagles 1st innings 	
                                                R 	M 	B 	4s 	6s 	SR
SP Gupo 	c †Katsande b SW Masakadza 	4 	9 	9 	1 	0 	44.44
Sikandar Raza 	c Dawson b Mushangwe 	        39 	134 	103 	5 	0 	37.86
F Mutizwa† 	c †Katsande b SW Masakadza 	28 	55 	45 	5 	0 	62.22
S Matsikenyeri* c Mawoyo b SW Masakadza 	1 	10 	4 	0 	0 	25.00
E Chigumbura 	c Mawoyo b Tiripano 	        19 	52 	50 	1 	2 	38.00
TN Garwe 	c †Katsande b Maruma 	        22 	55 	33 	4 	0 	66.66
MRH Mbofana 	b Tiripano 	                64 	219 	160 	5 	3 	40.00
N Waller 	c Kasuza b Maruma 	        0 	2 	2 	0 	0 	0.00
TC Mutombodzi 	c Mawoyo b SW Masakadza 	62 	141 	127 	7 	1 	48.81
RW Price 	not out 	                9 	26 	11 	0 	0 	81.81
KM Jarvis 	c †Katsande b Tiripano 	        4 	7 	10 	0 	0 	40.00
	Extras 	(lb 4, w 5, nb 6) 	        15 					
	Total 	(all out; 91.2 overs; 443 mins) 267 	(2.92 runs per over)

Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Gupo, 2.3 ov), 2-46 (Mutizwa, 14.5 ov), 3-57 (Matsikenyeri, 16.6 ov), 
4-95 (Chigumbura, 33.5 ov), 5-95 (Sikandar Raza, 34.4 ov), 6-136 (Garwe, 46.4 ov), 
7-136 (Waller, 46.6 ov), 8-250 (Mutombodzi, 85.4 ov), 9-263 (Mbofana, 89.4 ov), 
10-267 (Jarvis, 91.2 ov)

Bowling 	O 	M 	R 	W 	Econ 		
SW Masakadza 	24 	8 	67 	4 	2.79 	(3nb, 1w) 	
DT Tiripano 	15.4 	4 	43 	3 	2.74 	(1nb) 	
S Mujaji 	15.4 	3 	51 	0 	3.25 	(2nb) 	
N Mushangwe 	20 	5 	47 	1 	2.35 		
T Maruma 	8 	1 	22 	2 	2.75 		
LA Dawson 	8 	1 	33 	0 	4.12 		

Mountaineers 1st innings 	
                                                R 	M 	B 	4s 	6s 	SR
TMK Mawoyo 	run out (Mutombodzi) 	        11 	57 	39 	2 	0 	28.20
B Mlambo 	b Garwe 	                17 	44 	31 	1 	1 	54.83
H Masakadza 	lbw b Chigumbura 	        32 	136 	94 	6 	0 	34.04
LA Dawson 	not out 	                110 	276 	229 	11 	2 	48.03
T Maruma* 	b Price 	                6 	23 	21 	1 	0 	28.57
KT Kasuza 	lbw b Price 	                5 	21 	17 	1 	0 	29.41
SW Masakadza 	b Price 	                13 	23 	18 	1 	1 	72.22
B Katsande† 	lbw b Mutombodzi 	        17 	31 	32 	1 	0 	53.12
DT Tiripano 	lbw b Jarvis 	                7 	36 	28 	1 	0 	25.00
N Mushangwe 	lbw b Chigumbura 	        0 	6 	5 	0 	0 	0.00
S Mujaji 	b Chigumbura 	                0 	7 	3 	0 	0 	0.00
	Extras 	(b 3, lb 2, w 2, nb 4) 	        11 					
	Total 	(all out; 85.3 overs; 333 mins) 229 	(2.67 runs per over)

Fall of wickets: 1-30 (Mlambo, 10.2 ov), 2-42 (Mawoyo, 12.5 ov), 3-112 (H Masakadza, 44.2 ov), 
4-121 (Maruma, 51.1 ov), 5-131 (Kasuza, 55.4 ov), 6-155 (SW Masakadza, 61.2 ov), 
7-190 (Katsande, 72.2 ov), 8-217 (Tiripano, 82.3 ov), 9-224 (Mushangwe, 83.6 ov), 
10-229 (Mujaji, 85.3 ov)

Bowling 	O 	M 	R 	W 	Econ 		
TN Garwe 	7 	2 	17 	1 	2.42 		
KM Jarvis 	16 	4 	52 	1 	3.25 	(2nb, 2w) 	
MRH Mbofana 	5 	1 	17 	0 	3.40 		
E Chigumbura 	13.3 	5 	12 	3 	0.88 	(1nb) 	
N Waller 	5 	3 	13 	0 	2.60 		
RW Price 	26 	4 	64 	3 	2.46 		
TC Mutombodzi 	13 	1 	49 	1 	3.76 	(1nb) 	

Mashonaland Eagles 2nd innings 	
                                                R 	M 	B 	4s 	6s 	SR
SP Gupo 	lbw b Mujaji 	                3 	57 	37 	0 	0 	8.10
Sikandar Raza 	c Mawoyo b Dawson 	        74 	130 	102 	9 	2 	72.54
F Mutizwa† 	lbw b Dawson 	                83 	188 	141 	6 	3 	58.86
E Chigumbura 	lbw b Mushangwe 	        5 	23 	28 	0 	0 	17.85
S Matsikenyeri* c Mujaji b Dawson 	        2 	13 	18 	0 	0 	11.11
TN Garwe 	c †Katsande b Dawson 	        0 	2 	2 	0 	0 	0.00
MRH Mbofana 	b Mushangwe 	                0 	2 	5 	0 	0 	0.00
N Waller 	c Mushangwe b Dawson 	        16 	16 	12 	0 	2 	133.33
TC Mutombodzi 	lbw b Dawson 	                0 	2 	2 	0 	0 	0.00
RW Price 	c †Katsande b Dawson 	        3 	33 	26 	0 	0 	11.53
KM Jarvis 	not out 	                1 	22 	8 	0 	0 	12.50
	Extras 	(b 16, lb 2, nb 7) 	        25 					
	Total 	(all out; 62.2 overs; 252 mins) 212 	(3.40 runs per over)

Fall of wickets: 1-49 (Gupo, 12.5 ov), 2-114 (Sikandar Raza, 30.3 ov), 3-126 (Chigumbura, 37.3 ov), 
4-139 (Matsikenyeri, 42.3 ov), 5-139 (Garwe, 42.5 ov), 6-140 (Mbofana, 43.5 ov), 
7-165 (Waller, 48.3 ov), 8-165 (Mutombodzi, 48.5 ov), 9-195 (Price, 56.6 ov), 
10-212 (Mutizwa, 62.2 ov)

Bowling 	O 	M 	R 	W 	Econ 		
SW Masakadza 	8 	3 	23 	0 	2.87 	(3nb) 	
DT Tiripano 	8 	2 	32 	0 	4.00 	(2nb) 	
S Mujaji 	5 	1 	20 	1 	4.00 	(2nb) 	
N Mushangwe 	23 	0 	68 	2 	2.95 		
LA Dawson 	18.2 	4 	51 	7 	2.78 		

Mountaineers 2nd innings (target: 251 runs) 	
                                                R 	M 	B 	4s 	6s 	SR
TMK Mawoyo 	c †Mutizwa b Waller 	        12 	62 	43 	2 	0 	27.90
B Mlambo 	c Sikandar Raza b Chigumbura 	4 	28 	25 	1 	0 	16.00
H Masakadza 	lbw b Mbofana 	                38 	93 	61 	6 	0 	62.29
LA Dawson 	b Mutombodzi 	                15 	52 	32 	1 	0 	46.87
T Maruma* 	b Mbofana 	                3 	20 	18 	0 	0 	16.66
KT Kasuza 	c Mutombodzi b Price 	        12 	32 	24 	2 	0 	50.00
SW Masakadza 	st †Mutizwa b Mutombodzi 	8 	5 	8 	2 	0 	100.00
B Katsande† 	lbw b Mutombodzi 	        2 	19 	17 	0 	0 	11.76
DT Tiripano 	not out 	                12 	0 	12 	1 	1 	100.00
N Mushangwe 	b Price 	                3 	11 	21 	0 	0 	14.28
S Mujaji 	c Chigumbura b Mutombodzi 	5 	3 	6 	1 	0 	83.33
	Extras 	(lb 4) 	                        4 					
	Total 	(all out; 44.3 overs) 	        118 	(2.65 runs per over)

Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Mlambo, 7.5 ov), 2-26 (Mawoyo, 14.5 ov), 3-66 (Dawson, 26.2 ov), 4-72 (H Masakadza, 27.6 ov), 5-75 (Maruma, 31.1 ov), 6-84 (SW Masakadza, 32.4 ov), 7-98 (Kasuza, 37.2 ov), 8-102 (Katsande, 38.4 ov), 9-107 (Mushangwe, 43.1 ov), 10-118 (Mujaji, 44.3 ov)

Bowling 	O 	M 	R 	W 	Econ 		
KM Jarvis 	6 	3 	7 	0 	1.16 		
RW Price 	6 	3 	17 	2 	2.83 		
E Chigumbura 	7 	2 	24 	1 	3.42 		
N Waller 	5 	2 	14 	1 	2.80 		
MRH Mbofana 	8 	3 	16 	2 	2.00 		
TN Garwe 	2 	0 	10 	0 	5.00 		
TC Mutombodzi 	9.3 	1 	25 	4 	2.63 		
Sikandar Raza 	1 	0 	1 	0 	1.00 		

Match details
Toss: Mashonaland Eagles, who chose to bat
Points: Mashonaland Eagles 7, Mountaineers 0
Player of the match: LA Dawson (Mountaineers)

Eagles Trounce Rhinos, With a Little Kiwi Help

Mashonaland Eagles did visiting Kiwi Rob Nicol a favour at the weekend and included the member of the touring New Zealand side in their team for the match against Midwest Rhinos, and immediately reaped the rewards. Whether franchise sides should be helping visiting players out in this way is another thing... After winning the toss and opting to bat, Nicol - opening for his 'adopted' side - put on 102, top-scoring for the match, while fellow overseas player Ryan Bishop (76) and back-in-form Stuart Matsikenyeri (80) helped the side to an imposing 308/5 from their 50 overs. Mike Chonouya took 3/67 for Rhinos, but with his 10 overs going for nearly 7/over he still won't have been too pleased with his spell.

That left Rhinos with a battle on their hands, but rather than fight they meekly capitulated to the Eagles' bowling. Rememberance Nyathi (34) and Riki Wessels (33) put up some fight - the psir added 64 for the 4th wicket - but that was about the only fight from the Rhinos as they were bowled out for 169, handing Eagles a 139-run win that extended their lead at the top of the tournament table to 8 points, with only 3 rounds of the tournament played. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 308/5 (50 overs; Nicol 102, Chinouya 3/67), Rhinos 169 (35.4 overs; Nyathi 34, Garwe 3/39). Mashonaland Eagles win by 139 runs.

[Pro50] Mountaineers Crumble to Eagles Again

After being comprehensively beaten in their Logan Cup meeting, Mountaineers found themselves unable to take their revenge on Mashonaland Eagles in their Pro50 meeting on Saturday. Eagles set a useful 269, with Stuart Matsikenyeri's maiden List A ton leading the way and, he'll be hoping, marking a return to some decent form - although his was the only Eagles innings of note. Shingi Masakadza, Donald Tiripano and Prosper Utseya bagged two apiece for Mountaineers. I reply, though, Mountaineers were truly dismal, apart from a fighting 71 scored by Hamilton Masakadza off 81 balls - but with none of his team-mates passing 20, he ended up being responsible for nearly half his teams runs, as Mountaineers were bowled out for a paltry 152, Kyle Jarvis (4/35) leading the carnage.

That leaves Mountaineers, usually considered one of the domestic game's premier sides, propping up the table in both the Logan Cup and Pro50 tournaments - very much unfamiliar territory for them. Eagles, meanwhile, are riding high at the top of the table, with the maximum 10 points from their two matches. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 269/9 (50 overs; Matsikenyeri 110*, S Masakadza 2/46), Mountaineers 152 (38.3 overs; H Masakadza 71, Jarvis 4/35). Mashonaland Eagles win by 117 runs.

[Pro50] Eagles Defeat Rocks

Forster Mutizwa drove Mashonaland Eagles to victory in their first match of the new season over the Southern Rocks in a Coca-Cola Cup one-day match played at Masvingo Sports Club on Saturday. Southern Rocks put up an impressive fight but some emphatic batting from the Eagles broke down their fortress on home soil.

The Zimbabwe domestic one-day competition has reverted to the 50-over format; last season the competition was played over 40 overs per side. However, the match in Masvingo had to be reduced to 40 each when rain had stopped play after 2.1 overs, when Rocks had scored five runs without loss. Mash Eagles won the toss and sent the home side in to bat, a decision that could have been prompted by the then overcast conditions – rare but ideal on a typical flat Masvingo wicket.

The young fast bowler, Nathan Waller, toppled the top order, removing Chamunorwa Chibhabha (15) in the 13th over, followed by Roy Kaia (29) in the 15th. Among a list of player movements this season is Prince Masvaure who left the Eagles for the Rocks, and his was the first wicket to fall, bowled by Trevor Garwe. Mark Vermeulen was the top scorer for the Rocks with a trademark proficient 41 runs from 71 deliveries, featuring three boundaries. Southern Rocks were 186 for eight after 40 overs. Visiting captain Stuart Matsikenyeri, on his debut match as the Mash Eagles skipper, tried out seven bowlers, the pick being Waller with two wickets for 18 from eight overs.

Mutizwa was sensational as he shared two 48-run partnerships and was the mainstay of the Eagles’ brisk pursuit. He partnered with Matsikenyeri (28) and then Mark Mbofana (24*). The former Mountaineers right-arm medium-pacer, Tinashe Panyangara, was a worthy signing for the Rocks as he took the fight to the Eagles, claiming three for 28 off his allotted eight overs. Mutizwa however was unstoppable with a well-played unbeaten 73 from 92 balls. Eagles reached their target in 37.5 overs with six wickets in hand.

Many of the bowlers appear not have utilised their off-season time profitably as a total of 60 extras were conceded in the match, making up 16% of the total runs scored, with five penalty runs being awarded to the Eagles for the batsmen persistently running on the pitch in the Southern Rocks innings. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 186/8 (40 overs; Vermeulen 41, Waller 2/18, Mbofana 2/31), Eagles 188/4 (37.5 overs; Mutizwa 73*, Panyangara 3/28). Mashonaland Eagles win by 6 wickets (D/L method).
[Match report via ZC]

Eagles Draw with Tuskers

The other Logan Cup match of the round, Mashonaland Eagles v Matabeleland Tuskers, was a heavily rain-affected affair that drew to a close after the completion of the first innings. Tuskers chose to field after winning the toss, and held Eagles to 131, with Dean Mazhawidza's 78 being the only thing that stood between the side and even greater humilation. Keegan Meth had an outstanding spell with the ball, taking seven wickets for 42. As an indication of how much the weather had affected the match, it took Eagles until the morning of day four to complete their innings, which was just over 60 overs long.

Tuskers lasted a similar amount of time, but managed to post 188 and at least secure the point for a first-innings lead. Unlike Eagles, there was no stand-out innings, with Adam Wheater's 33 being the best of an otherwise forgettable innings. Chad Keegan took 4/43, with Andrew Hall chipping in with 2/36. With no chance of either side completing a second innings in the remaining time, that was all she wrote.

Full scorecard below the cut. The result leaves Tuskers in third in the tourney table, behind Rhinos - who they'll now meet in the final round, starting Friday, in a match that will decide who goes on to meet Mountaineers in the Logan Cup final. Tuskers must win that match to go through, while for Rhinos a draw will do.
Eagles 131 (60.2 overs; Mazhawidza 78, Meth 7/42), Tuskers 188 59.3 overs; Wheater 33, Keegan 4/43). Match drawn.

Eagles' Wings Clipped by Rhinos

Eagles were trounced by an innings and 70 runs in the first of this week's Logan Cup matches. After collapsing to a paltry 97 all-out on the opening day, with Simbarashe Gupo's 24 being the best of a woeful outing. Ian Nicolson (4/33) and Neville Madziva (3/10) did the bulk of the damage between them, leaving Eagles struggling before they even began.

Rhinos' good form continued with the bat, too, as they posted 365 before declaring with a wicket still in hand, with opener Gary Ballance scoring 120 along with some useful contributions coming from Malcolm Waller (91) and Vusi Sibanda (46). Chad Keegan (4/72) did have some success with the ball for the home side, but with Rhinos taking a 268-run lead into the second innings.

And, as it happened, that was enough of a lead for them not to need to bat again. Eagles did better the second time around, but that 268 turned out to be too much of a mountain for them to climb, posting 198. Douglas Hondo's unbeaten 60* at the bottom of the order showed there was at least some fight in there, but not enough. The result puts Rhinos into second place in the table (pending the result of the ongoing Tuskers v Rocks match), and leaves Eagles still without a win in a season that, outside of the Twenty20 competition, has been truly woeful. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 97 (72.1 overs; Gupo 24, Nicolson 4/33) & 198 (60 overs; Hondo 60*, Mugava 3/72), Rhinos 365/9d (91.3 overs; Ballance 120, Keegan 4/72). Midwest Rhinos win by an innings and 70 runs.

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.

Rocks, Eagles Fail to Avoid Draw

The draw at Masvingo Sports Club was not inevitable, but it could really only be decided if the home batsmen had collectively given their innings away at the hands of Mashonaland Eagles. As it was, some sound batting by the later Southern Rocks players, notably Robertson Chinyengetere with a fighting 71, made the match safe, and after that it died a lingering death until being put down at the earliest possible moment allowed by the laws. The pitch had been dead all the time, and it usually takes the match with it.

Overnight Rocks were 287 for seven, facing the heavy but slow Eagles total of 510. They therefore needed another 71 runs to avoid the follow-on with only three wickets left. Even on such a pitch, the odds were probably against them, but those same odds made it likely that, even if they did follow on, they should be able to bat out the rest of the day. But it all depended on the Rocks’ state of mind.

That state of mind was strong. The overnight pair of Chinyengetere and Tafadzwa Kamungozi was very watchful and very determined, once Kamungozi had survived a hard high chance in the slips in the first over of the day, bowled by Chad Keegan. Tino Mutombodzi continued to bowl from the north end of the ground, as he had done for most of the previous day, generally pushing the ball through fairly flat and often bowling round the wicket to aim for the footmarks at the other end. Not surprisingly, he grew tired and, although being kept on to the end of the innings, he was unable to wrap up the innings in time for his team to enforce the follow-on.

Chinyengetere reached his invaluable fifty by pulling a ball from Mutombodzi for four; he was in fact quick on the hook and pull when bowlers of any speed pitched short, keeping the ball on the ground but generally getting only ones or two. Most of the runs came in this fashion, through steady accumulation in small currency. The partnership had added 74 when Kamungozi finally sliced a catch into the covers off Mutombodzi to depart for 24; 329 for eight.

Nine runs later, Chinyengetere’s fighting innings came to an end, as quite unexpectedly he pushed a ball from Mutombodzi into the hands of silly mid-off. Both these batsmen had fought very well, but fell victims not so much to the pitch or the bowlers as to lapses of concentration. This is a common failing in Zimbabwean batsmen, and explains why scorecards are so full of batsmen making tens, twenties and thirties, but failing to cash in for a really significant score.

The last pair now needed 23 runs to save the follow-on – and it was fortunate for Southern Rocks that in this match they had reasonable batsmen down to number eleven. Brian Vitori joined Hilary Matanga, and this pair continued the fight, waiting for the right ball and taking mostly the ones and twos. At lunch seven runs were still needed, but even had they failed the team would have had to bat abysmally to be dismissed in the last two sessions. Finally, twelve minutes after lunch, the landmark was passed, and they added another 18 runs before Vitori was dismissed lbw to Innocent Chinyoka for 10, Matanga remaining unbeaten for an admirable 33. Mutombodzi in his 57 overs finished with seven for 137.

The rest of the match was purely academic, as Eagles batted a second time with a draw now a certainty. The best that can be said for most of the visiting batsmen was that they were not playing for their averages. Forster Mutizwa played briskly for 36, but the real exception was Simba Gupo, who built on his first-innings century with a carefully compiled 67 not out, making 214 runs in the match for once out, to a brilliant catch. If he builds on this, he will have a fine future. Scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 510 (169.3 overs; Gupo 147, Mahwire 2/71) & Eagles 140/5 (37 overs; Gupo 67*, Kamungozi 2/37), Rocks 379 (134 overs; Sikandar Raza 93, Mutombodzi 7/137). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]

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