Midwest Rhinos

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No Play in Final Round of Metbank Pro40 Matches

Rain wiped out both of this week's Metbank Pro40 matches - Rhinos v Tuskers in Kwekwe, and Rocks v Mountaineers in Mutare - so it's as-you-were for the tournament table. The next matches are the semi-finals, and here's the lineup:

28 January      Mountaineers v Rhinos           Harare Sports Club
29 January      Tuskers v Rocks                 Harare Sports Club

Wet Weather Results in Resultless Week in Logan Cup

Bad weather denied Mountaineers and the Southern Rocks a result in their Castle Logan cup match which only permitted two days play, at Mutare Sports Club. The match was plagued with heavy rain and wet outfield condition, but this however did not change Mountaineers position from the top of the log with 26 points, neither did it remove Rocks from their rock bottom position with no win and just two points on the board.

Meanwhile the Kwekwe Match between Midwest Rhinos and Matabeleland Tuskers was abandoned due to a wet outfield caused by excessive rainfall without a ball being bowled.

In Mutare, Rocks won the toss and elected to bat posting 259 all out in the first innings. Stuart Matsikenyeri enjoyed his return to Mutare Sports club as he top scored with 64 runs with support from Raza Butt 31 runs and Tafadzwa Kamungozi who hit out a run a ball 44 runs. As the weather threatened to stop play on countless occasions both team tried to make the most of their time in the middle with the Mountaineers 218 all largely down to efforts from Tinotenda Mawoyo who scored 40 runs and Mark Vermeulen’s entertaining knock of 34 runs.

Rocks made the Mountaineers work hard for their runs, with Brian Vitori and Kamungozi each picking up four wickets. Vitori was the main threat as his pace proved to be the difference between the two teams’ first innings totals. The young left arm seamer could have picked up more wickets had his team been more clinical in their fielding. Steven Marillier and Tatenda Taibu gave the Rocks innings more zest with half centuries that put up 158 for three in the final session. Taibu was out for 53 runs of 55 balls in an innings that featured five fours and two sixes.

Marillier’s knock was more patient for 68 off 89 balls with only eight boundaries from the innings. Taibu and Marillier built the Rocks’ highest partnership 76 runs for the third wicket. The two captains agreed to call it a day with an hour of play left; the score at this point was realistically beyond any teams reach, as the hosts needed 194 runs in the last 15 overs of the final day. Scorecard for the Rocks / Mountaineers match is below the cut.
Rocks 259 (76 overs; Matsikenyeri 64, Mushangwe 3/71) & 158/3 (35 overs; Marillier 62, Maruma 1/17), Mountaineers 218 (77.2 overs; Mawoyo 40, Kamungozi 4/60). Match drawn.
Midwest Rhinos v Matabeleland Tuskers: Match abandoned.
[Match report via ZC]

Maruma Shines for Mountaineers

In a low-scoring match where the batsmen on both sides failed miserably to come to terms with the pitch, Mountaineers owed everything to their all-rounder Timycen Maruma for their victory over Mid-West Rhinos.

Maruma was the only batsman of the day to emerge with much credit, and his 59 was more than twice any other player in the match could offer. Mountaineers backed this up with fine bowling, but the Mid-West Rhinos themselves will always believe, correctly, that they should have been able to chase down a target of only 164.

This match was played at Harare Sports Club, a neutral venue, as the Mutare Sports Club ground was unfit for play after prolonged rain. At the start of the match Mountaineers were top of the tournament log with 18 points, while Rhinos were fourth with 12. Mountaineers, put in to bat, looked likely losers early on as their top order struggled to adapt to a slow pitch and could not time the ball properly. All the specialist batsmen failed, the only one to reach double figures being Tino Mawoyo, who made 20 before skying a drive and being caught at mid-off. The first five batsmen were all back in the pavilion for 50 runs.

The hero of the innings, and the match, was Timycen Maruma, who showed the others – too late for them – how to do it. He bided his time, pushed for ones and twos and waited for the right ball to make his big hits. Those big hits were a four and no fewer than five sixes, spread around the field from long leg to deep extra cover. He found capable support from Gary Chirimuta and Donald Tiripano, the latter helping to add 60 for the seventh wicket, a partnership that ensured Mountaineers at least had a target they could hope to defend. Tiripano made 16 before being run out backing up too far and being sent back. Maruma was finally dismissed lbw for 59 off 54 balls, as he advanced down the pitch to attack a ball from Rainsford and was hit on the full toss. The innings quickly closed for 163 with three balls in hand. Rainsford was the best bowler, controlling the ball well and taking four wickets for 27 runs.

When Rhinos began in pursuit of this moderate target, Brendan Taylor was not about to assess the pace of the pitch; he scored two off his first ball, from Shingi Masakadza, and then slashed at the second to present the keeper with a simple catch. Gary Ballance and Vusi Sibanda for the most part played sensibly against good bowling, apart from an occasional flash at the ball or a risky single, Sibanda finding it difficult to play in the gaps at first. They took the score to 35 before Ballance had his middle stump uprooted by a yorker from Tinashe Panyangara. When Sibanda miscued a pull to mid-on off Tendai Chatara for 15, the score was 41 for three and the match was in the balance.

It quickly swung Mountaineers’ way as they kept up the pressure, and three wickets went down in seven balls to make the score 60 for six. It was a puzzle why Riki Wessels, the one batsman left with the skill and experience to lead a fightback, had not come in until now, at number eight. For a while, it looked as if Wessels might do the trick. With Paul Franks as a valuable partner, he played with real intent and for the first time the Rhinos innings looked stable. But then he moved across too far to drive a straight ball from Prosper Utseya and was adjourned lbw for 22, the highest score of the innings; 95 for seven. It was now only a matter of time, and Utseya wrapped up the tail to finish with three for 10. But all the main bowlers joined in the spoils and they defended their target superbly. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 163 (39.3 overs; Maruma 59, Rainsford 4/27), Rhinos 130 (36.2 overs; Franks 22, Wessels 22, Utseya 3/10). Mountaineers win by 33 runs.

Mountaineers v Rhinos Abandoned

It was meant to be Mountaineers' first match on a newly-laid pitch & outfield at Mutare Sports Club, but the weather knocked that idea on the head - play was washed out on day one, delayed on day two, and come the beginning of day three conditions and a poor forecast led to the abandonment of the fixture. With the first innings remaining unfinished, no points were awared to either side.

MidWest Rhinos, missing Graeme Cremer, Ian Nicolson and Taurai Muzarabani, had won the toss on Thursday and decided to bat against a Mountaineers team at full strength. Play only began after tea, and the newly relaid outfield was still soft, uncut and rather muddy in places. It is unlikely fussy English cricketers would have wanted to play. Almost three hours’ play were possible, and the two schoolboys seen on the premises and suspected of being spectators would have had an entertaining time, as wickets fell and runs came at a good pace until the batsmen shut up shop in the closing overs.

Rhinos were soon in deep trouble against the tournament leaders, and it was largely of their own making. There was a little movement off the pitch, but the batsmen couldn’t – and didn’t – use it as an excuse. The first wicket to fall was that of Friday Kasteni, in the second over, nudging a catch into the slips off Tinashe Panyangara. In the next over, bowled by Shingi Masakadza, Brendan Taylor was not happy to be given out lbw; both openers were gone without scoring. The next over brought another wicket, as Gary Ballance, after hitting two boundaries, one a fortuitous thick edge through the slips, edged a catch into the same area as he attempted to drive, and three wickets were down for just 8 runs. "We pride ourselves on our honesty," the Rhinos coach Jason Gillespie said, adding that all three had admitted to poor shot selection.

Vusi Sibanda and Malcolm Waller fought back by positive methods, hitting the loose ball well and playing with much more intelligence. A good stand seemed to be developing when Sibanda played over a yorker from his rival captain, Hamilton Masakadza, and was bowled for 14; 41 for four. With Riki Wessels as his new partner, Waller continued to play what looked set to be a superb rescue innings. Sadly, he was out to the poorest stroke of them all, fencing feebly outside his off stump to be caught at the wicket off Shingi Masakadza. He had made 38 off 73 balls, and his team was now 81 for five.

Paul Franks, the Nottinghamshire seam-bowling all-rounder, now came in and kept the score ticking over with Wessels. With the seamers earning a well-deserved rest after their fine efforts, spinners Timycen Maruma and Prosper Utseya came on to bowl, slowing the scoring, especially Utseya, whose six overs cost four runs. The batsmen survived to fight another day – but sadly the weather had other ideas, and that was all she wrote. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 110/5 (45 overs; Waller 38, Panyangara 2/29), Mountaineers did not bat. Match abandoned.

Rhinos Succumb to Eagles

Rain ruined this match at Harare Sports Club, cutting the overs drastically and turning it, indirectly, into an easy win for Mashonaland Eagles. This was largely because Mid-West Rhinos were unable to adjust to the different match conditions and made a serious mess of their innings. It was a good all-round bowling performance by Eagles, and Regis Chakabva (47 not out) led their cruise to victory.

Jupiter Pluvius played games with the cricketers at the start of the match. Eagles won the toss and put Mid-West Rhinos in to bat, but the start was delayed by a shower. When play did begin, only fifteen balls were bowled before the rain returned. During that time the visitors lost the wicket of Gary Ballance, who fenced at and edged a ball from Douglas Hondo to the keeper, for four runs. For the next couple of hours the showers came and went, returning each time play was about to start, and more than two hours were lost before the rain relented. The match was reduced to 25 overs a side, rather too harsh a cut as, even had the match gone the full distance; it would have been over before four o’clock.

Rhinos were quite unable to re-programme themselves to play what was now almost a T20 match. The bowling was tight but the batsmen were too defensive and soon got themselves in trouble through their slow scoring. Taylor hit one six over wide long-on before hitting a catch straight at midwicket for 17 off 19 balls; the previous delivery Vusi Sibanda had gone for 5 off 20 balls. After 13 overs the score was a mere 52 for five. Remembrance Nyathi and Rikki Wessels then shared a useful partnership of 41 in nine overs, with Nyathi (29) the dominant partner before he fell to a fine catch by Prince Masvaure running from long-on. Wessels did not bat well at first and he kept finding the fielders, but in the end he found his timing and raced to 43 not out. He finished the innings with a six over midwicket, which took the total to 120 for seven – but that was hardly competitive, at less than five an over. There were two wickets each for Hondo, Andrew Hall and Raymond Price, with Hall much the most expensive. The bowling had been good, but was helped by poorly judged batting.

The Eagles batsmen were much better prepared mentally for their innings, and were helped by knowing exactly what their none-too-difficult target was. Cephas Zhuwao, the designated suicide pilot, hammered away for 34 off 26 balls (3 fours, 2 sixes) before skying a catch in the sixth over. In the next over Prince Masvaure was superbly caught by Sibanda in the gully and they had to consolidate – but at 42 for two they could afford the time to do so. Regis Chakabva and Forster Mutizwa did so capably, adding 43 until Mutizwa was unfortunately run out, accidentally off the bowler’s hand, for 17. With Greg Lamb as his new partner, Chakabva led the way to victory with 47 not out off 42 balls, and there were still 4.3 overs in hand. Play finished before 3.40, which emphasizes that the regulations concerning interrupted matches like these need amending. At least 30 overs per side could very comfortably have been played. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 120/7 (25/25 overs; Wessels 43*, Price 2/17), Eagles 121/3 (20.3/25 overs; Chakabva 47*, Taylor 1/2). Mashonaland Eagles win by 7 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]

Rhinos and Eagles Reach Stalemate

Disappointingly, the match between Mashonaland Eagles and Mid-West Rhinos at Harare Sports Club fizzled out in a tame draw. Andrew Hall’s fighting century saved the match for his team, and Mid-West Rhinos were unable to bowl out the home side, while the declaration came too late to give either side a reasonable chance of victory. Again Mash Eagles were indebted to their player-coach Hall for getting them off the hook in a tight position.

Overnight the match was in the balance, with Eagles on 192 for seven in their first innings, 225 runs ahead. Rhinos needed a quick breakthrough, but this they did not get. Hall, 89 overnight, simply carried on from where he left off, taking 25 minutes to reach his century, which took him 172 balls. Chad Keegan, his tail-end partner, continued to stick to the basics, playing straight and waiting for the loose ball, and this method stood him in good stead. Even the second new ball made no impression on the batsmen. They had added 137 for the eighth wicket before Keegan finally departed, Vusi Sibanda taking a fine diving return catch in his follow-through. Keegan’s 45 was the highest of the English professional’s career.

By now, with a lead of 290, Eagles were on even terms or better, this partnership having almost turned the game on its head. Raymond Price came in and scored 13 briskly before being caught off a sweep at short fine leg, and then came the declaration, at 274 for nine. Hall remained unbeaten with 127, scored off 211 balls and containing 12 fours, a typical fighting innings that almost certainly saved the match for his team. The best bowler was Ed Rainsford with three for 41 off 18 overs, tight accurate bowling throughout, while Graeme Cremer also took three wickets.

Rhinos now needed 308 to win in 64 overs, well over four runs an over on a pitch that had not really been good for quick scoring, and with a heavy outfield. It was not an enterprising declaration, as only a large and brilliant innings by somebody could have won Rhinos the match, and this would also make it harder for Eagles to bowl them out in the time remaining. It never looked like becoming an interesting finish.

The first ball of the innings, Chad Keegan to Brendan Taylor, kept quite low and the batsman had to jab down on it; this no doubt also convinced the visitors that the target was simply not a practical proposition. The pitch was now too flat to encourage the bowlers, apart from a bit of uneven bounce, so batting practice was the order of the day. Friday Kasteni made 17 off 68 balls before a leading edge brought a catch at backward point off Raymond Price, while Taylor, who has not made too many runs recently, was just happy to play a quiet game and regain his form. Gary Ballance was more inclined to enjoy himself, using his feet against the spin and showing enterprise, while Taylor was caught at square leg for 67. Ballance himself was caught at extra cover for 32, and when play was ended by mutual agreement an hour early, as provided for in the laws, Mid-West Rhinos were 137 for three and the match was further from a result than it had ever looked during the first three days. It was an unfortunate end to a good close match. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 319 (96.1 overs; Mbofana 68, Cremer 3/88) & 274/9d (93.5 overs; Hall 127*, Rainsford 3/41), Rhinos 286/9d (98.4 overs; Ballance 125, Hall 3/43) & 137/3 (49.5 overs; Taylor 67, Price 2/55). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]

Rhinos v Rocks Pro40 Match Abandoned

The MetBank Pro40 meeting between Midwest Rhinos and Southern Rocks, scheduled for yesterday in Kwekwe, was abandoned without any play due to rain & a wet outfield. With no result, both sides take two point each from the abandonment.

Rhinos Trample, Rocks Crumble

Sorry, couldn't resist. Midwest Rhinos secured victory over Southern Rocks without needing to bother with Day Four in the second of this week's Logan Cup ties. Batting first, Rhinos posted 459/7 before declaring, with tons from Vusi Sibanda (136) and Malcolm Waller (102) leading the charge, while Mluleki Nkala (50) and Roland Benade (51*) also chipped in. That was, it turned out, more than enough to win the match.

Rocks weren't without their moments, though, with Roy Kaia impressing in both innings, albeit in a losing cause. Rocks were bowled out for 197 first time around after a poor start - although Kaia and Richmond Mutumbami put on 96 for the 3rd wicket, the high-point of the innings. Still 262 runs short of Rhinos' total, Rocks were then forced to follow on, and this time got off to a good start, with Kaia (58) and Samuel Mwakayeni (45) putting on an opening stand of 104. Wickets fell regularly from there, though, and with Malcolm Waller (4/57) and Simon Mugava (3/49) on form for Rhinos, Rocks were bowled out again for 205, still well short of making Rhinos bat again.

The result doesn't effect standings in the tournament table, with Rhinos in third and Rocks propping up the table in fifth. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 459/7d (115 overs; Sibanda 136, Matanga 3/78), Rocks 197 (67.2 overs; Kaia 68, Mugava 4/33) & 205 (62.1 overs; Kaia 58, Waller 4/57). Midwest Rhinos win by an innings and 57 runs.

Tuskers v Rhinos Pro40 Clash Abandoned After Injury

The Metropolitan Bank Pro40 encounter between Matabeleland Tuskers and Midwest Rhinos at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo was abandoned with only eight balls bowled due to some damp patches on the outfield which the umpires deemed unsafe to the players.

Tuskers, who had won all their previous three matches, were on five runs for the loss of one wicket in 1.2 overs when the umpires took the players off the field. After heavy rains had pounded the pitch the previous night, two visible patches were left deep on the outfield and this saw the match not able to start on scheduled time.

When the match started two hours late, Midwest Rhinos skipper Vusi Sibanda won the toss and sent Matabeleland Tuskers in to bat.

The hosts were in trouble as early as the first over. Ian Nicolson enticed Terrence Duffin with a delivery wide on the off stump and the left hander could only get the ball into the hands of Gary Ballance at gully to depart for a five-ball duck with Tuskers only having two runs on board.

The players were however off the field 1.2 overs into the match after Rhinos fielder Remembrance Nyathi slipped on the wet patch and injured his right ankle while trying to field a ball struck by Tuskers captain Gavin Ewing and the match never resumed. What there is of a scorecard is below the cut.
[Match report via ZC]

Rhinos Claim Win Over Tuskers

Midwest Rhinos claimed their first Logan Cup win of the season with an 87-run win over Tuskers in Bulawayo. Rhinos, led by Riki Wessels' first-innings 105, put on 348 for their first innings before bowling Tuskers out for 256 to claim the first-innings point and a 94-run lead at the half-way point. Terry Duffin fell just short of a ton himself, scoring 97 for Tuskers before falling to the bowling of Malcolm Waller.

Rhinos second innings was much like the first, with Wessels claiming his second ton of the match with an unbeaten 101 before Rhinos declared on 238/9, setting Tuskers a target of 331 to win the match. While Horton (95) and Trenchard (50) made a fight of it, though, Waller cut through the rest of the Tuskers lineup, claiming 5/58 in the second innings as Tuskers were bowled out for 243, leaving them well short of their target.

The win wasn't enough to allow Rhinos to overtake Tuskers in the tourney table, though, as Tuskers remain in second with Rhinos in third. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 348 (89 overs; Wessels 105, Ncube 3/71) & 238/9d (71.1 overs; Wessels 101*, Ncube 4/69), Tuskers 256 (88.4 overs; Duffin 97, Muzarabani 4/54) & 243 (74.5 overs; Horton 95, Waller 5/48). Midwest Rhinos win by 87 runs.

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