Southern Rocks

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[Stanbic T20] Tuskers Make in Three in a Row

Matabeleland Tuskers continued their winning streak with a third successive victory, this time at the expense of the hapless Southern Rocks team. After restricting their opponents to 114 off their 20 overs, Matabeleland Tuskers were only nine runs short of victory with nine wickets in hand when rain ended the match and gave them a calculated victory.

The bad luck which has dogged Southern Rocks this season seems to have followed them to Harare. Their first match was rained off when they were in a strong position against Mid-West Rhinos. In this their second match, not having batted yet in the tournament, they lost the toss against Matabeleland Tuskers, who had batted twice, and suffered the disadvantage of being put in to bat.

For four overs they did well, Roy Kaia and Chamu Chibhabha scoring 24 runs together. Then the wheels came off, and stayed off for most of the innings. Both openers and the Kenyan Alex Obanda, who was all at sea against the swing of Keegan Meth, fell in quick succession and the score became 26 for three. After eight overs there were only 29 runs on the board, an almost certain recipe for disaster. The Namibian Shane Burger then hit out briefly, scoring 21 off 20 balls, including a six through the open window of the pressbox.

After Burger was out there was another slump, and when the South African Jon Kent was dismissed at the start of the 18th over the score was 89 for seven. Then the tailenders Hilary Matanga (25 not out) and Tafadzwa Kamungozi (out for 13 off the final delivery of the innings) saved some face for their team with a quick 25 together, so that Southern Rocks reached 114 for eight. There were two wickets each for Meth, Glenn Querl and Tom Smith, all of them cheaply.

When they bowled, Southern Rocks could not have wished for a better start. Chris Gayle, first ball, edged a ball from Brian Vitori that moved away from him and the keeper completed the job, sending him on his way immediately. But it was a false dawn. Well as Vitori bowled, the batsmen Tom Smith and Paul Horton were under no pressure and they were content merely to see him off and then work away at the other bowlers with plenty of time to reach their target. Just after Smith reached his 50, however, a shower of rain arrived and the players had to leave the field with the score at 106 for one. They were unable to return and Matabeleland Tuskers were awarded victory by the deceptive margin of 20 runs. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 114/80 (20/20 overs; Matanga 25*, Smith 2/12), Tuskers 106/1 (16.1/16.1 overs; Smith 63*, Vitori 1/10). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 20 runs (D/L method).
[Match report via ZC]

[Stanbic T20] Rhinos v Rocks Rained Off

Another poor batting performance by Mid-West Rhinos batting first left them with a small total to defend against Southern Rocks, but they were saved by the rain, which came on between innings and put an end to the match. The Masvingo team were very disappointed to be denied a likely victory by the weather after a good performance in the field.

Southern Rocks won the toss and followed the virtually obligatory custom of putting the opposition in to bat. Brendan Taylor and Gary Ballance made a fair start but, just as Taylor (11) was getting going he turned a ball from Brian Vitori, back at last after injury, to midwicket and was out when the score was 20. Riki Wessels looked the biggest danger to Southern Rocks as from the start he laid about him with a will, while Ballance played very much second fiddle. Ballance had scored 8 out of 48, having had little of the strike, when he felt obliged to get moving, but was caught by the keeper off a skier.

The most crucial moment came when Wessels, with 34 off 29 balls, threw his wicket away, trying an unnecessary reverse sweep and sending an easy catch; he walked off furious with himself. After this the Mid-West Rhinos innings went into steady decline, although Malcolm Waller (18) and Graeme Cremer (23) began well but failed to finish. The final total was only 131 for seven, with Tafadzwa Kamungozi (two for 17) and Shane Burger (two for 14) returning good figures off their four overs each.

Minutes after the players left the field, the rain started, and soon was so heavy as to make it obvious further play was impossible. Southern Rocks had good reason to feel aggrieved; a victory for them was not assured, but the odds were perhaps better than two to one in their favour. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 131/7 (20 overs; Wessels 34, Burger 2/15), Rocks did not bat. No result - rain.
[Match report via ZC]

Mountaineers Demolish Rocks

Mountaineers coasted to an easy innings victory over the sadly depleted Southern Rocks team on the third day of their match at Harare Sports Club. The match was over shortly after tea, a good all-round performance by the home side.

Mountaineers continued their innings in the morning from their overnight score of 389 for five, with Timycen Maruma on 112 and Prosper Utseya on 63. They batted on for over an hour, perhaps with the batsmen’s individual landmarks in view. They pushed the score on briskly without looking to take the bowling to pieces, but both failed to reach their next landmarks, due to some good bowling from Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi. He bowled Utseya for 94, the batsman petulantly swatting his stumps down as he left the crease, and then a faster ball bowled out the Mountaineers captain. Maruma had made 149 off 223 balls, with 17 fours and three huge leg-side sixes.

At this point he declared, with a total of 467 for seven wickets and a lead on 321 on the first innings. Overall the best bowler was Prince Masvaure, with two for 44 off 16 overs, the best figures and the most economical, but he was not used on the third morning.

With more than five sessions to go and negligible chance of significant rain, Southern Rocks were in a seemingly hopeless position. In the second over they lost Sam Mwakayeni (2), shouldering arms and having his stumps shattered by a ball from Donald Tiripano. This was followed, though, by Southern Rocks’ best batting of the match – in fact, their ONLY good batting period of the match. Roy Kaia and Robertson Chinyengetere batted soundly until lunch, when the score was 54 for one.

After lunch Kaia began to open up and play some fine attacking shots, while his partner contented himself with blocking up the other end. In no time Kaia had reached his fifty, a landmark he achieved with a superb six over long-off. The pair took the score to 108, the first time this season Southern Rocks had reached 100 with only one wicket down in the Logan Cup. But then, after such fine batting by Kaia in particular, they fell in successive overs. First Chinyengetere played a weak stroke outside the off stump and was caught at the wicket off Shingi Masakadza for 30; then Kaia, with 69, drove a low catch straight to long-on off Utseya.

The middle order showed little fight, and soon the score was 129 for six. At this stage Stanley Marisa and Tendai Chisoro showed some fight, staying together to make the score 160 at tea. Shortly afterwards, though, Chisoro fell for 19, the next two batsmen came and went, and the closing stages were only enlivened by some defiant blows from the last man Taurai Muzarabani, who hit three sixes in scoring 19 not out off eight balls. Then Marisa’s defiant innings ended at 29, lbw to Natsai Mushangwe, and the team total had at least passed 200.

After their disastrous start to the season, Mountaineers are now on their way up and it is to be hoped they have regained the confidence to take on the stronger teams again. For Southern Rocks, virtually the only way is up, but to do that their top players need to start off by staying fit. Scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 146 (64.2 overs; Muzarabani 24*, Chatara 3/50) & 207 (63.1 overs; Kaia 69, Mushangwe 3/65), Mountaineers 467/7 decl (120.5 overs; Maruma 149, Mustard 105, Masvaure 2/44). Mountaineers win by an innings and 114 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Mountaineers Finally Off the Mark Against Hapless Rocks

Took them a while, but Mountaineers have finally broken their duck in the Pro50, with a win over Southern Rocks - although it was a match they should probably have lost as, batting first, Rocks had them reduced to 18/5 before Kevin Kasuza (129*) played a match-winning innings, adding 126 for the 6th wicket with Gary Chirimuta (46). He didn't find much support from the tail after that, but his efforts helped lift the side to 229 before his side were bowled out, giving them at least a chance of defending. In reply, though, Rocks made it easy for them, imploding to 123 all out in 36 overs, with Natsai Mushangwe again bringing himself to the attention of national selectors by taking 5/22 as Mountaineers eased to a 106-run win. The fragility of their batting lineup will be a concern - decent performances by them are few and far between this season - but a win is a win and Mountaineers will be happy to finally get some points on the board. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 229 (38.2 overs; Kasuza 129*, Kaia 4/22), Rocks 123 (36.2 overs; Chisoro 31, Mushangwe 5/22). Mountaineers win by 106 runs.

[Logan Cup] Tuskers Continue Streak with Win Over Rocks

Matabeleland Tuskers' good start to the season continue with an emphatic win over Southern Rocks in the latest round fo Logan Cup matches. Put into bat after Tuskers won the toss, Rocks made hard work of their first innings, with only captain Alester Maregwede (50*) putting on a decent knock as his side were bowled out for 148. Glenn Querl, back from playing for Unicorns in England, took 6/38 while Keegan Meth continued to make a mark for himself with 3/54. In reply, Tuskers posted 253, taking the first-innings point and leaving Rocks with a 105-run deficit to overcome.

Overcome it they did, but while their second innings was better than their first, they still only managed a below-par 204 from their turn. This time at least, Roy Kaia (54) and Mark Vermeulen (38) joined Maregwede (37) in putting up some resistance, but once again the pairing of Meth (5/53) and Querl (3/63) proved too much for Rocks to deal with as their lower order was skittled out. Tuskers, left with a target of 100 to win on day three, had few problems chasing it down, losing only the one wicket (Brian Chari, to a run-out) along the way to a 9-wicket victory that leaves them tied with Eagles on 14 points at the top of the tournament table. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 148 (51.5 overs; Maregwede 50*, Querl 6/38) & 204 (90.1 overs; Kaia 54, Meth 5/53), Tuskers 253 (73 overs; Wheater 76, Muzarabani 3/33) & 100/1 (41 overs; Duffin 49*, Ewing 45*). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 9 wickets.

[Logan Cup] Rhinos Trample Rocks

Southern Rocks 1st innings 	
                                                R 	M 	B 	4s 	6s 	SR
S Mwakayeni 	c Sibanda b Chinouya 	        9 	51 	33 	2 	0 	27.27
R Kaia 	        c †Wessels b Chinouya 	        2 	26 	18 	0 	0 	11.11
CJ Chibhabha 	lbw b Chinouya 	                74 	182 	152 	11 	0 	48.68
PS Masvaure 	c †Wessels b Madziva 	        9 	46 	35 	1 	0 	25.71
R Mutumbami† 	lbw b Mugava 	                1 	21 	11 	0 	0 	9.09
R Chinyengetere c sub (R Benade) b Chinouya 	18 	110 	74 	3 	0 	24.32
A Maregwede* 	c Ballance b Chinouya 	        3 	69 	54 	0 	0 	5.55
H Matanga 	c sub (R Benade) b Mugava 	1 	5 	5 	0 	0 	20.00
T Kamungozi 	c Madziva b Mugava 	        6 	34 	11 	1 	0 	54.54
T Panyangara 	c Madziva b Mugava 	        14 	21 	19 	2 	0 	73.68
T Muzarabani 	not out 	                0 	5 	3 	0 	0 	0.00
	Extras 	(lb 5, w 5, nb 3) 	        13 					
	Total 	(all out; 68.4 overs; 281 mins) 150 	(2.18 runs per over)

Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Kaia, 5.3 ov), 2-24 (Mwakayeni, 11.1 ov), 3-48 (Masvaure, 21.3 ov), 
4-63 (Mutumbami, 26.5 ov), 5-125 (Chibhabha, 50.5 ov), 6-126 (Chinyengetere, 56.1 ov), 
7-127 (Matanga, 57.2 ov), 8-135 (Kamungozi, 61.1 ov), 9-150 (Panyangara, 67.3 ov), 
10-150 (Maregwede, 68.4 ov)

Bowling 	O 	M 	R 	W 	Econ 		
EC Rainsford 	13 	6 	22 	0 	1.69 	(3nb, 1w) 	
MT Chinouya 	15.4 	8 	26 	5 	1.65 		
N Madziva 	11 	3 	23 	1 	2.09 		
IA Nicolson 	10 	2 	38 	0 	3.80 		
SM Mugava 	16 	7 	30 	4 	1.87 		
MN Waller 	3 	1 	6 	0 	2.00 		

Mid West Rhinos 1st innings 	
                                                        R 	M 	B 	4s 	6s 	SR
V Sibanda* 	lbw b Panyangara 	                18 	84 	64 	2 	0 	28.12
SJ Marillier 	b Panyangara 	                        0 	19 	15 	0 	0 	0.00
GS Ballance 	c sub (E Chauluka) b Kaia 	        210 	393 	336 	20 	2 	62.50
MN Waller 	c sub (E Chauluka) b Mutumbami 	        174 	360 	239 	26 	1 	72.80
MH Wessels† 	not out 	                        54 	104 	55 	5 	1 	98.18
R Nyathi 	not out 	                        39 	62 	40 	7 	0 	97.50
	Extras 	(b 3, w 3, nb 1) 	                7 					
	Total 	(4 wickets dec; 124.4 overs; 508 mins) 	502 	(4.02 runs per over)

Did not bat: SM Mugava, EC Rainsford, N Madziva, IA Nicolson, MT Chinouya

Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Marillier, 4.6 ov), 2-42 (Sibanda, 20.6 ov), 3-383 (Ballance, 105.3 ov), 
4-419 (Waller, 111.4 ov)

Bowling 	O 	M 	R 	W 	Econ 		
T Panyangara 	11 	4 	23 	2 	2.09 		
T Muzarabani 	15 	5 	43 	0 	2.86 	(1w) 	
PS Masvaure 	11 	1 	42 	0 	3.81 		
R Chinyengetere 21 	3 	68 	0 	3.23 	(1w) 	
T Kamungozi 	27.4 	2 	113 	0 	4.08 		
H Matanga 	17 	1 	89 	0 	5.23 		
R Kaia 	15 	1 	65 	1 	4.33 		
R Mutumbami 	6 	0 	42 	1 	7.00 	(1nb, 1w) 	
S Mwakayeni 	1 	0 	14 	0 	14.00 		

Southern Rocks 2nd innings 	
                                                R 	M 	B 	4s 	6s 	SR
S Mwakayeni 	b Rainsford 	                0 	10 	9 	0 	0 	0.00
R Kaia 	        b Rainsford 	                1 	46 	22 	0 	0 	4.54
CJ Chibhabha 	b Madziva 	                35 	109 	64 	4 	0 	54.68
R Mutumbami† 	c Madziva b Mugava 	        53 	118 	77 	11 	0 	68.83
A Maregwede* 	b Mugava 	                11 	18 	11 	2 	0 	100.00
R Chinyengetere c Marillier b Mugava 	        7 	9 	12 	1 	0 	58.33
PS Masvaure 	c Madziva b Mugava 	        6 	20 	11 	1 	0 	54.54
H Matanga 	not out 	                8 	18 	18 	0 	0 	44.44
T Kamungozi 	b Nyathi 	                1 	8 	5 	0 	0 	20.00
T Panyangara 	lbw b Nyathi 	                0 	1 	1 	0 	0 	0.00
T Muzarabani 	c Chinouya b Nyathi 	        6 	5 	8 	1 	0 	75.00
	Extras 	(lb 4, nb 5) 	                9 					
	Total 	(all out; 38.5 overs; 177 mins) 137 	(3.52 runs per over)

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Mwakayeni, 2.2 ov), 2-18 (Kaia, 9.3 ov), 3-69 (Chibhabha, 23.2 ov), 
4-95 (Maregwede, 27.2 ov), 5-103 (Chinyengetere, 29.3 ov), 6-121 (Masvaure, 33.2 ov), 
7-121 (Mutumbami, 33.4 ov), 8-127 (Kamungozi, 36.2 ov), 9-127 (Panyangara, 36.3 ov), 
10-137 (Muzarabani, 38.5 ov)

Bowling 	O 	M 	R 	W 	Econ 		
EC Rainsford 	8 	0 	13 	2 	1.62 	(4nb) 	
MT Chinouya 	6 	2 	21 	0 	3.50 		
N Madziva 	6 	0 	36 	1 	6.00 		
IA Nicolson 	9 	1 	30 	0 	3.33 		
SM Mugava 	6 	3 	20 	4 	3.33 		
R Nyathi 	3.5 	1 	13 	3 	3.39 	(1nb) 	

Match details
Toss: Southern Rocks, who chose to bat
Points: Mid West Rhinos 7, Southern Rocks 0
Player of the match: GS Ballance (Mid West Rhinos)

Rocks Fight Back to Last-Ball Win Over Tuskers

Matabeleland Tuskers probably thought that they'd set s good enough target in their Pro50 match against Southern Rocks - batting first after being put in by Rocks, the Tuskers managed a decent 264/9 from their 50 overs. Captain Gavin Ewing led the way with 67, Steven Trenchard added 48, while Duffin, Wheater and Ervine (supposedly too injured to play in the T20 in Harare, but still putting in a showing here) all passed 30. Roy Kaia took 3/32, while Tendai Chisoro nabbed 2/43 for Rocks.

Rocks' reply got off to a horrible start, with the side 3/30 after 9 overs as the top order spluttered. But Richmond Mutumbami's 94 off 79 balls got the innings firing, and while captain Alester Maregwede, in at 6th, had to deal with wickets falling around him, he managed to add 70 off 90 balls before finally falling with 2 balls remaining in the innings - and 5 runs required to win. Last man in Tafadzwa Kamungozi then took the bulls by the horns, scoring a four to tie the scores and then one run off the final ball to secure a fighting comeback win for Rocks, who are quickly earning a reputation as a side that just doesn't give up - at least in the one-day game. Tuskers, meanwhile, won't be pleased at letting them win a match that at one point they looked certain to lose. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 264/9 (50 overs; Ewing 67, Kaia 3/32), Rocks 265/9 (50 overs; Mutumbami 94, Ncube 5/71). Southern Rocks win by 1 wicket.

[Pro50] Rocks & Rhinos Tie

A match which, to all appearances, was virtually doomed to be one-sided from the start, went down to the wire thanks to a magnificent century from Tatenda Taibu, returning to play for his home franchise.
Against the odds, he almost took Southern Rocks to an unexpected victory, but with too little support from the middle order he fell at a crucial stage. Then, when the match appeared as good as over, a spirited innings by Tendai Chisoro and some guts from the last pair led to a remarkable tie.

Rocks were without all three of their frontline seamers. Their bowling was to be opened by Robertson Chinyengetere, a useful but part-time seamer, and Bruce Tembo from the second team. Their ordeal was made worse by losing the toss, Rhinos deciding to bat on a warm sunny morning on a flat batting pitch.

Had Rocks held all their catches, they may well have been able to contain the Rhinos innings within reasonable bounds, even with their threadbare attack; as it was, with several chances going down and a few sloppy pieces of work in the field, they had no chance. The visitors may have been a little overconfident as some of their batsmen did not climb in as they should have done. Steve Marillier fell early, making 20 off 22 balls before clipping a ball straight back to the bowler, Tendai Chisoro. Then Vusi Sibanda, not in his best form, skied a catch to mid-off, which was dropped, although the sun was probably in the fielder’s eyes. Gary Ballance, after playing himself in, went in for some big hitting, and survived a chance on the midwicket boundary. He was eventually run out for 46 thanks to some superb work from Taibu. Sibanda made 47, rarely looking at his best apart from a superb straight six.

The innings really took off when Brendan Taylor (55) and Malcolm Waller were together and added 79 in ten overs. Simon Mugava made a quick 24, but the best innings was undoubtedly that of Waller, who chose his shots well in making an unbeaten 86 off 87 balls, with ten fours and a six. The 300 came up in the final over, the grand total being 305 for eight wickets. Roy Kaia removed Riki Wessels and Remembrance Nyathi cheaply, briefly stemming the flood, but none of the other bowlers had much success.

Roy Kaia began Rocks’ seemingly hopeless run chase with a bang, going for his shots and playing them very well. The 50 went up in the eighth over, most of them to Kaia, but soon afterwards he was out, caught at the wicket off Mike Chinouya, for 31 off 33 balls. Immediately the run rate dropped, and soon Ian Nicolson produced a fast and lethal yorker to remove Chamu Chibhabha for 20.

Then came the partnership between Chinyengetere and Taibu that really got a lively crowd of about a hundred excited. Taibu played the leading role, as expected, playing his shots with panache and running like a hare between wickets. He hit two straight sixes and no bowler could tame him. There were a few fumbles in the field and one possible chance that the fielder apparently picked up late. They kept close to the required run rate of over six an over, and clearly Taibu was the key figure – if he went, there may well be nobody else to take the team home.

The 200 went up in the 35th over, with two wickets in hand. The stand was broken at 166, though, as Nicolson returned to produce another fine yorker that bowled Chinyengetere for 58. At 229 for three, 77 were still needed in 12 overs. Shortly afterwards, in partnership with Richie Mutumbami, Taibu reached his century off 92 balls. The scoring rate slowed, though, as wickets fell at the other end, and when almost nine an over were needed, Taibu hit out in desperation, only to loft a catch to deep midwicket for 106 in the 45th over. He faced 102 balls and hit nine fours and two sixes. It looked like game over for the Rocks.

However, Tendai Chisoro began to find the middle of his bat and kept the excitement going to the last over, though, when Southern Rocks still had 11 runs needed. Edward Rainsford bowled well and Chisoro, after missing the first two deliveries, skied the third for a catch. The last pair were hardly expected to do the job, but an edged boundary helped. Five were needed off the final ball – only for Rainsford to bowl a yorker that shot through the gap between bat and pad, evaded the wicket-keeper and went through for four byes to bring about a remarkable tie.

Nicolson’s two wicket-taking yorkers were vital for Mid-West Rhinos, while Simon Mugava did just as vital a job, his three wickets causing the middle-order collapse that cost Southern Rocks the match. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 305/8 (50 overs; Waller 86*, Kaia 2/32), Rocks 305/9 (50 overs; Taibu 106, Mugava 3/47). Match tied.
[Match report via ZC]

[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]

Southern Rocks Crowned MetBank Pro40 Champions

Southern Rocks are celebrating their first tournament victory, while Mid-West Rhinos are regretting their poor batting that cost them the match, their fourth loss in a final in two seasons. Malcolm Waller stood almost alone as their team collapsed for 151 all out, with Tafadzwa Kamungozi’s leg-breaks taking three vital wickets in the middle order, and there was no excuse for their batting failure. Southern Rocks kept their nerve and consistent batting from the top order took them to a fine eight-wicket victory.

For both teams this was the final game of the season, so they were not preoccupied with thoughts of the Logan Cup final, as their semi-final opponents had been. Southern Rocks won the toss and, no doubt encouraged by their confident run-chase on the previous day, put Mid-West Rhinos in to bat. This proved to be a good move, as their opponents never came to terms with their batting. The pitch was rather slow but gave the bowlers very little help, so the batting side had only their own inadequacies to blame.

Brendan Taylor again failed, chipping a ball gently up on the leg side, for mid-on to run round and take a diving catch. Both openers were gone for 5, requiring Vusi Sibanda and Waller to dig in, which they did with such care against a good attack that after seven overs the score was only 8 for two. Waller played a beautifully-timed flick over long leg for six, but Sibanda was never fluent, and finally chipped a catch to midwicket after scoring 14 off 38 balls. Riki Wessels top-edged a reverse sweep to the keeper and Remembrance Nyathi fell third ball, both to the leg-spinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi, and at this point Mid-West Rhinos were reeling at 54 for five.

Unperturbed by this lack of support, Waller continued to work the ball around the field in mature fashion, and at last found a reliable partner in Cremer. Cremer did a fine job in keeping the score ticking over, and the pair largely turned the situation around by adding 75 together at the rate of six an over. Finally, though, Waller clipped a low catch to midwicket and departed for an admirable 68 off 82 balls. There was not much left in the batting. Cremer, after batting so well for 37 off 39 balls, tried a foolish reverse sweep to be lbw to Kamungozi, the bowler’s third crucial wicket in the middle order. The tail collapsed and the team was all out for 151, wasting more than three overs of their innings. Mike Chinouya, like Kamungozi, took three wickets, while both Blessing Mahwire and Brian Vitori bowled very well. It was an excellent performance by a team that at the start of the season had been desperately weak in bowling.

With just 152 to win, Southern Rocks in theory could take their time and cruise home, as long as they kept their nerve. The wild card was a storm lurking on the horizon. Perhaps with this in mind, Sikandar Raza played a remarkably risky and fortunate innings, lofting many strokes just out of reach of the fielders and getting away with it. The bowling was good, but was inhibited by having too few runs to back it. Raza’s luck could not last for ever, though, and he was out for 44 off 72 balls, driving a sharp low catch to extra cover off Cremer.

Chibhabha continued where he left off the previous afternoon, batting in mature, sensible fashion, keeping the score moving but without taking risks. He is still not as comfortable against spin as pace, though, and Waller’s off-spin removed him lbw for 27, with the score at 98. But this was the Mid-West Rhinos’ last success. Craig Ervine again saw them home with an unbeaten innings of 42, but this time it was Elton Chigumbura who hit the winning runs, a hammer-blow past mid-on to the boundary. Southern Rocks have made great progress this season, despite failing to win a Logan Cup match, and this trophy will be a worthy tribute to their departing coach Monte Lynch, whose strong disciplined approach may not always have been appreciated but has worked wonders in the performances of several members of his side. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 151 (36.4 overs; Waller 68, Chinouya 3/28), Rocks 155/2 (34.5 overs; Sikandar Raza 44, Waller 1/14). Southern Rocks win by 8 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]

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