The sun is finally shining and the players have accustomed themselves to this format of the game, the runs are flowing at Harare Sports Club. In another high-scoring match with a thrilling finish, Mid-West Rhinos just staved off a remarkable batting challenge from Mashonaland Eagles to win by 7 runs. The young Richard Muzhange bowled particularly well at the death to save the match for his team, after brilliant innings from Stuart Matsikenyeri and Peter Trego.
Mashonaland Eagles, who gave the captaincy today to the Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown, inevitably decided to field. Brendan Taylor and Riki Wessels made a sound start, moving the score along and taking few chances, bringing the 50 up in the eighth over, although Taylor was missed off a difficult chance on the square-leg boundary. They speeded up, the 100 being reached in the 12th over, both batsmen reaching fifties soon afterwards. Wessels was first to go, at 111, pulling a catch to midwicket for 51 off 44 balls. At the 15-over mark the score was 114 for one, and at this point Taylor skied a catch, out for 54 off 42 balls.
Well as they batted, such a score with only two wickets down and five overs to go was perhaps a little disappointing. Fortunately for Mid-West Rhinos, Gary Ballance was now in and he carried on exactly where he had left off the previous afternoon. With a series of brilliant strokes, especially adept at swinging balls over the midwicket boundary, he tore the bowling apart, being mainly responsible for another 70 runs coming off the last five overs. His share was 53 not out, scored off 25 balls, with two fours and five sixes, a display of hitting even more awesome than that which won the previous match.
Mid-West Rhinos therefore finished with the almost invincible score of 184 for three. Mashonaland Eagles were handicapped at the bowling crease by the loss of Raymond Price, who had to leave the field in the middle of his second over after hurting his hand attempting a difficult return chance. Both wickets fell to Rory Hamilton-Brown (two for 32).
Mashonaland Eagles kept their heads as they replied, the opening pair putting on 27 by sensible cricket in four overs before Hamilton-Brown (19) skied a catch. His partner Matsikenyeri, after a very shaky start against the pace of Shaun Tait, settled in and played some good strokes, aided now by Trego, and after ten overs they had taken the score to 75 for one – exactly 11 an over needed off the remaining ten.
Matsikenyeri reached his fifty off 41 balls, and the 100 came up in the 14th over. Then the batsmen stepped up a gear, and at 15 overs they were pulling back into the game, with 126 on the board; Mid-West Rhinos (pre-Ballance) at this stage had only 114. Tate came back and slowed down the scoring rate until he was taken off after bowling two accidental beamers in an over. Then Matsikenyeri was caught at the wicket trying to scoop a ball from Mike Chinouya, for 73 off 55 balls (four sixes, four fours). Mashonaland Eagles now needed 34 off the final three overs.
Tension mounted as Richard Muzhange bowled a superb over for three runs; 31 now needed off the last two. Chinouya conceded 11, which left 20 runs to be had from the young Muzhange’s final over of the match. Trego hit 2, 2, 6 and 1, when Ryan ten Doeschate was run out attempting a second. Nine were needed from two balls, with Trego facing. He could only manage a single off the first; Elton Chigumbura could not hit the final delivery, and the bowler had kept his head to win the match for his team at the death. The gallant Trego was unbeaten with 71 off 49 balls.
Mid-West Rhinos are deservedly on a high at present after two superb victories under pressure – but they still have some members of their side failing to contribute significantly, and this makes them vulnerable when their top players inevitably have a bad day. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 184/2 (20 overs; Taylor 54, Hamilton-Brown 2/32), Eagles 177/3 (20 overs; Matsikenyeri 71, Mugava 1/33). Midwest Rhinos win by 6 runs.
[Match report via ZC]
At the halfway stage of this match, after a blistering century from Chris Gayle, it appeared that Matabeleland Tuskers’ ultra-strong overseas contingent had unbalanced the tournament. They seemed on the verge of a fourth large victory out of four.
The tables were turned, however, as magnificent innings from Brendan Taylor (75 not out off 54 balls) and Gary Ballance (67 off 34 balls) put on 105 in nine overs and brought about an amazing victory for Mid-West Rhinos with three balls to spare.
Mid-West Rhinos won the toss and decided to field on a warm, sunny day, the best weather of the tournament so far. It did them no good, however, as although bowling reasonably well they were able to take only one wicket – and the fact that all the batting was done by overseas players serves to emphasize the inordinate effect their batch of overseas players is having on the balance of the tournament. In the second over Tom Smith was brilliantly run out by Edward Rainsford, and this was the only wicket Mid-West Rhinos managed to secure.
The rest of the innings was the Chris Gayle show, with Paul Horton playing a good supporting role. Gayle tore the attack apart at times, although he had periods of devastating hitting and quieter periods where he worked the ball around the field more often. His first great assault was against Rainsford, whom he hit for two sixes in an over. Later Graeme Cremer came under the hammer, three sixes off four balls, the first landing in the television balcony and the third clearing it completely.
Gayle sent up a huge skier over extra cover in the penultimate over, but the fielder seemed to lose sight of the ball and didn’t even attempt a catch. Then, in the final over, he reached his century with a towering six off Richard Muzhange’s fifth ball, and added another six off the final delivery to finish with 109 off 59 balls. He hit seven fours and eight sixes, and the bowlers were helpless against him; the only one to escape severe punishment was the off-spinner Simon Mugava, whose four overs cost 20 runs. Horton finished with 47 not out, and the total 171 for one.
Mid-West Rhinos had an almost impossible target. The experiment of opening with Riki Wessels failed, as he swatted a catch to short extra cover in the third over. Brendan Taylor, knowing his responsibilities, spent 14 balls over his first six runs before swinging a ball from Keegan Meth over midwicket for a big six. Now he went into top gear and found a good partner in Lou Vincent (25). When Vincent went at the end of the tenth over, though, at 62 for two, 110 were still needed off the remaining ten.
Two sixes off three balls from Keith Dabengwa brought up Taylor ’s fifty, off 38 balls. Gary Ballance proved an even better partner, reaching new heights in T20 cricket with a remarkable innings of skill and improvisation. He scored even faster than Taylor , reaching fifty off 28 balls. Such blistering batting left 19 to be scored off the final two overs. With a six from Ballance, before he was caught at mid-on off the final delivery, the 19th over went for 14, needing Taylor to make sure five came off the last over, to be bowled by Gayle. He duly hit the first for four to tie the scores, and pulled the third for another boundary to bring off a remarkable victory. Taylor hit five fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 75, while Ballance’s startling 67 had six fours and four sixes.
The message is clear – Matabeleland Tuskers can be beaten after all. This match has brought the tournament to life. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 171/1 (20 overs; Gayle 109*, Horton 47*), Rhinos 175/3 (19.3 overs; Taylor 75*, Ncube 1/17). Midwest Rhinos win by 7 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]
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]
Rhinos looked to have the stronger batting lineup on paper but, put into bat after Mountaineers won the toss, they didn't live up to their potential. In-form Gary Ballance lasted just 4 balls before departing for a single run, and while Brendan Taylor (37) and Riki Wessels (31) put on a good 53-run partnership for the 2nd over, that was pretty much it as far as Rhinos were concerned - no other batsmen reached double-figures, as Rhinos limped their way to 115/9. Natsai Mushangwe (3/19), Prosper Utseya (2/20) and Shingi Masakadza (2/27) did most of the damage. The target, 116 at 5.8/over, didn't exactly look hard to get.
And so it proved. While Mountaineers suffered a few setbacks along the way, the combined efforts of Hamilton Masakadza (34) and Chris Harris (39*) guided their side home with 7 balls to spare. Rhinos weren't able to contain the run rate enough to really put pressure on Mountaineers, and it told in the end. After a horrible start to the domestic season, Mountaineers seem to have found their form at just the right time, and are off to a winning start. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 115/9 (20 overs; Taylor 37, Mushangwe 3/19), Mountaineers 116/4 (18.5 overs; Harris 39*, Cremer 1/12). Mountaineers win by 6 wickets.
Another day, another loss for Kenya, this time in the first of two T20s they're scheduled to play against Midwest Rhinos. Kenya, batting first, posted 114 before being bowled out, with only Obuya (44) and Odhiambo (24) making much of an impression; Graeme Cremer marked his return to fitness with 2/17; but once again it was Gary Ballance who starred for Rhinos, scoring 43 off 41 balls - ably assisted by Malcolm Waller, with 33 off 25 - as Rhinos raced to the target with over 3 overs to spare. Full scorecard below the cut.
Kenya 114 (18.5 overs; Obuya 44, Muzhange 3/15), Rhinos 115/5 (16.3 overs; Ballance 43, Otieno 3/20). Midwest Rhinos win by 5 wickets.
Matabeleland Tuskers were given a trouncing by Midwest Rhinos in their Pro50 meeting on Saturday, despite a ton from Tuskers captain Gavin Ewing and a useful 507 from Craig Ervine. The rest of the home side's lineup failed to contribute much, leaving them on 227 at the close of the innings - well sub-par on the Queen's pitch. In-form Rhinos captain Gary Ballance took full advantage with an unbeaten ton of his own, with Malcolm Waller continuing his own impressive run of form with 65 not out, as Rhinos reached their target with nearly 10 overs to spare. The result pins Tuskers to the bottom of the Pro50 tournament table, and lifts Rhinos into second place, although they've still got some work to do to catch Eagles. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 227 (49.5 overs; Ewing 106, Rainsford 3/35, Rhinos 228/1 (40.5 overs; Ballance 108*, Dabengwa 1/42). Rhinos win by 9 wickets.
Mountaineers finally got a mark in the win column after their very poor start to the domestic season, with a 3-wicket win over Midwest Rhinos in Kwekwe. Early on, it had looked Rhinos' game - batting first after being put into bat, they posted 309, led by captain Gary Ballance (100) and Roland Benade (98) - although the small detail that the rest of the team failed to do much was perhaps a warning sign of what was to come. Shingi Masakadza (5/47) and Tendai Chatara (3/68) did the damage with the ball, with Masakadza adding impressive economy to the mix, conceding only 47 runs from the 25 overs he bowled. In reply, Mountaineers appeared to be in all sorts of trouble early on, collapsing initially to 6/77 before some fight was found, then falling further to 132/9 when wickets 7-9 fell for 21 runs. The 10th-wicket pairing of Kevin Kasuza and Tapiwa Mufudza managed to add another 92 runs, frustrating Rhinos and seeing Mountaineers to a half-decent 224 before Mufudza was finally removed. Kasuza, who had been 3rd man in, ended on an unbeaten 132 and can take a lot of credit for Mountaineers' eventual win.
If their first knock was dominated by two notable knock and not much else, Rhinos' second knock simply featured not much. The usually-reliable Ballance was out for a 15-ball duck, and while Riki Wessels (40) and Simon Mugava (30) tried to bring some respectability to their innings there again wasn't much support from elsewhere in the lineup as Rhinos were knocked over for just 143, leaving Mountaineers with a target of 229 to win, with Tendai Chatara again in the wickets with 5/56. For Mountaineers, it was once again a one-man show, with Ned Eckersley stepping up to the plate this time to lead the innings - after coming to the crease with Mountaineers on 2/33, he marshalled the side through most of the remainder of the chase, scoring 85 before departing with the score on 209, his only real support coming from Timycen Maruma (41). But he'd done his part, and Shingi Masakadza and Donald Tiripano completed the innings to see Mountaineers home. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 309 (103.1 overs; Ballance 100, Masakadza 5/47) & 143 (67.1 overs; Wessels 40, Chatara 5/56), Mountaineers 224 (69.5 overs; Kasuza 132*, Rainsford 3/31) & 230/7 (74.3 overs; Eckersley 85, Rainsford 2/34). Mountaineers win by 3 wickets.
Midwest Rhinos claimed a 5-wicket victory over Mountaineers, who continue to struggle this season, remaining winless in both the Pro50 and Logan Cup competitions. Batting first, Mountaineers posted 221/8 from their 50 overs, led by Jethro Maudzi's 77 on his List A debut, while Richard Muzhange took 4/45 for Rhinos. That target proved to be no real problem for Rhinos to overhaul, though - Stephen Marillier (40), Rememberance Nyathi (46) and Riki Wessels 48) each played a significant role in the chase, with Rhinos reaching their target with 11 overs to spare. Tendai Chatara led the bowling figures for Mountaineers, taking 3/70, but this was yet another game that Mountaineers will want to forget. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 221/8 (50 overs; Maudzi 77, Muzhange 4/45), Rhinos 224/5 (39 overs; Wessels 48, Chatara 3/70). Midwest Rhinos win by 5 wickets
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.
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)