Southern Rocks

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Rocks Claim First Blood in One-Day Competition

After playing out a draw in the Logan Cup, Southern Rocks and Mashonaland Eagles managed a competitive game in the one-Day MetBank Series. The tournament has some unusual playing conditions - 40 overs per side, in keeping with the one-day domestic competitions in England and South Africa, but allowing sides to field 13 players each (11 batting, 11 fielding). Rocks won the toss and opted to field, and Eagles managed to post a fairly impressive 252/7 from their 40 overs, with Greg Lamb posting an unusually rapid-fire 96 off 78 balls to lead the scoring. Steve Tikolo took 2/46 to lead Rocks' bowling figures, but with Eagles having raced along at 6.3/over for their innings, it was Rocks who faced the uphill battle to win.

They didn't shirk from the challenge, though - while Steve Marillier fell first ball to get Rocks off to a bad start, Sikandar Raza scored a career-best 77 off 61 balls to get the chase off to a good start, and while the mid-order pair of Craig Ervine (3) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (27) threatened to bog the side down, the arrival of Steve Tikolo brought with it the firepower to finish off the chase, as he fired 56 off 42 balls to see his side home with 4 wickets to spare. Doug Hondo's 1/12 was the best of an uninspiring Eagles attack.

That puts Rocks in the unusual situation of topping the table, at least until the result of the other match of the round comes in, and Eagles in the equally unfamiliar place of bottom. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 252/7 (40 overs; Lamb 96, Tikolo 2/46), Rocks 256/6 (38.1 overs; Sikandar Raza 77, Hondo 1/12). Southern Rocks win by 4 wickets.

Rocks & Eagles Draw in Season Opener

Southern Rocks and Mashonaland Eagles shared the points in a tame draw in first of the opening round of Logan Cup matches, played in Masvingo. Rocks have strengthened their side in the off-season, and their new signings came up trumps for them against a side that had dominated them last season. Batting first after being put into bat by Eagles, Rocks posted a competitive 325, with Chamu Chibhabha leading the way with 85 while fellow opened Steve Marillier contributed 55. Useful contributions from Tendai Chisoro (34) and Hilary Matanga (36*) in the lower order also boosted the home side's total, while Tino Mutombodzi confirmed his status as "one to watch" by taking 5/97 for Eagles.

Eagles' first innings was dominated by another up-and-coming player, Forster Mutizwa, who claimed the second century of the season by scoring 114 (Charles Coventry claiming the first ton of the season in the other match of the round). Regis Chakabva's 53 and Cephas Zhuwawo's 45 ensured that Eagles kept pace with Rocs, although scores elsewhere in the Eagles lineup maybe weren't so useful. The Harare side declared on 331/9, a slender lead of just 6 runs.

The Rocks openers then ensured that a draw was the only possible outcome, as Marillier (98), Tendai Chitongo (69) and new signing Tatenda Taibu (153*) stamped their authority on the match, with captain Steve Tikolo's 92 essentially drawing a line under the match. Rocks declared when Tikolo's wicket fell, on 449/5, but that left Eagles with just 5 overs to bat to see out the rest of the match & record the draw.

The verdict, then, is that Rocks have certainly bolstered their batting, but are still perhaps lacking in the bowling department. It also has to be said the Eagles' side for this match had a distinctly second-strng look to it, with some players including captain Elton Chigumbura still on county duty in England. Rocks will still be please, though, with a performance that has shown them to be a far stronger side that last season's. Scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 325 (101.2 overs; Chibhabha 85, Mutombodzi 5/97) & 449/5 decl (115.4 overs; Taibu 153*, Mutombodzi 2/111), Eagles 331/9 decl (121 overs; Mutizwa 114, CHinouya 3/78) & 26/0 (4.5 overs; Masvaure 25*, Chisoro 0/6). Match Drawn.

Rocks Strengthen Side, Appoint New Coach

After a poor season last year, Southern Rocks seem to be shaping up to be one of the stronger sides heading into this year's domestic competitions. In addition to signing Tatenda Taibu and Stuart Masikenyeri, both former Mountaineers players, the franchise has appointed former England batsman Monty Lynch as head coach. Lynch has previous experience of the Zimbabwe scene, having spent some time as coach of Takashinga (then Old Winstonians) back in the mid-1990s. Taibu will share captaincy of the side with Steve Tikolo. who returns to the franchise for a second season.
Zimbabwe Independent - Former England player Lynch to coach Rocks

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]

Dead Rubber Ends in Draw

...which was probably predictable enough. With nothing left to play for but pride, Rocks and Tuskers settled on sharing what pride was on offer in their final Logan Cup match of the season. Rocks arguably got the better of the matchup, with a first-innings 431 that included centuries from Craig Ervine (108) and Richmond Mutumbami (100), and a cautious 82 from Erick Chauluka, an innings that gave them a 171-run over their Bulawayo rivals, who had been bowled out for 260 thanks to good work by Tendai Chitongo (4/53) and Blessing Mahwire (3/41). Tuskers did make something of a comeback in their second innings, though, with their 397 enough to make sure that Rocks were fighting more against the clock in their second knock than against Tuskers' bowlers. Greg Strydom made an impressive contribution, knocking 89 off just 55 balls (clearly trying to stake a late claim to a place in the WorldT20 squad). Rocks nearly threw it away, though - facing a target of 227 to win from 41 overs on the last day, they collapsed alarmingly, losing 8 wickets before the end of play (with in-form Keith Dabengwa taking 4/33) and just holding out to secure the draw. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 260 (72.4 overs; Dabengwa 63, Chitongo 4/53) & 397 (96.5 overs; Strydom 89, Odoyo 3/39),
Rocks 431 (141 overs; C Ervine 108, Dabengwa 3/89) & 136/8 (41 overs; Tikolo 42, Dabengwa 4/33). Match drawn.

Franchise 'B' League: Rhinos Draw with Rocks

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.
Rocks 221 (73.2 overs; Ervine 109*, Madziya 5/14) & 204/5 (52.4 overs; Kondo 86, Madziya 2/25), Rhinos 197 (68.1 overs; Mahlunge 74, Kaia 2/23). Match Drawn.

Franchise 'B' League: Rocks 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.
Eagles 285/8 decl (75 overs; Tichana 121, Macharaga 2/41), Rocks 155 (54 overs; Moyo 53, Shereni 4/14). 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.

Rhinos Still in the Chase as Rocks Fall Again

The second match of the day pitted Southern Rocks against Midwest Rhinos. Rocks have been unlucky in this tourney, with two close losses leaving them stranded at the bottom of the table, while Rhinos have just paid the price for inconsistency. It was Rhinos who finally got the run of the good fortune today, though. Rhinos won the toss and opted to field, and suffered a run of early wickets that saw them reduced to 64/4 during the 9th over as the top order failed to find form. The pairing of Alester Maregwede (48) and Craig Ervine (62) changed the tone of the Rocks' innings, though - the pair remained at the crease for the remainder of the innings, putting on 113 from 69 balls to leave Rocks on 177/4 at the close, a score that they seemed to have a good chance of defending. Throughout the tourney, though, Rocks' main weakness has been an unthreatening bowling attack, and that was what eventually cost them today. After scoring the early scalp of Vusi Sibanda (4), there was little else to cheer about for Rocks as, led by Rikki Wessels who carried his bat for the innings with an unbeaten 86, Rhinos chased down the target with a healthy 10 balls to spare. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 177/4 (20 overs; C Ervine 62*, Stevens 1/25), Rhinos 179/3 (18.2 overs; Wessels 86*, Ireland 1/28). Rhinos win by 7 wickets.

Eagles Edge Closer to Final With Win Over Rocks

Another match, another down-to-the-wire thriller - this competition surely isn't lacking in entertainment and close finishes. The teams this time around were Southern Rocks and Mashonaland Eagles, in the second match of the day, and once again Rocks will be rueing their bad fortune after another agonisingly narrow loss. Eagles won the toss and opted to field, allowing Rocks to do their best to carry on where they left off yesterday as the opening pairing of Chamu Chibhabha (61) and Sikandar Raza (38) saw the side to 111 off 81 balls before the first wicket fell. At that point, though, the wheels fell off as three wickets fell in three balls during a Doug Marillier over (sadly not a hat-trick, as the third wicket was a run-out). Alester Maregwede (20*) and Steve Tikolo (36) were fortunately able to rebuild from there to see Rocks to a competitive total of 168/4. In reply, Eagles suffered wobbles of their own, with the early wickets of Doug Marillier and Prince Masvaure slowing their charge to the total, but an impressive unbeaten 81 off 52 balls by Cephas Zhuwawo formed the backbone of the innings, with Elton Chigumbura's 41 form 27 also proving useful. At the death, though, it was a rapid-fire 13 not-out from 5 balls by Forster Mutizwa that powered Eagles past the target with just one ball to spare. That gives Eagles a clear lead at the top of the table, although with just two games played Vipers could yet mount a charge of their own. Let's hear it for close competitions. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 168/4 (20 overs; Chibhabha 61, Marillier 2/11), Eagles 171/4 (19.5 overs; Zhuwawo 81, Sikandar Raza 1/20). Eagles win by 6 wickets.

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