Midwest Rhinos

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Franchise 'B' League: Rhinos 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.
Rhinos 141 (52 overs; Nyathi 36, Munyede 4/23) & 28/2 (14 overs; Mutyambizi 10, Mutombodzi 1/7), Eagles 198 (66 overs; Mutombodzi 58, Topotsa 3/19). Match drawn.

Franchise 'B' League: Rhinos Draw with Tuskers

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.
Tuskers 407/8 decl (75 overs; Duffin 99, Mpofu 3/127) & 257 (52.3 overs; Chipare 119, Nyathi 4/30), Rhinos 206 (63.2 overs; Chikunya 45, Nyathi 45, Mankunzini 4/24) & 48/0 (10 overs; Chikunya 22*, Mahlunge 19*). 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: Eagles draw with Rhinos

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.
Rhinos 201/9 decl (67 overs; Mahunge 72, Tichana 5/54) & 152/6 (56 overs; Mahunga 76, Tichana 3/60), Eagles 243/8 decl (74 overs; Chinjoka 69, Madziya 2/38). Match Drawn.

Vipers Down Rhinos in Final Group Match

The second match of the day was also the final match of the group stage, pitting Desert Vipers - already out of the running - against Midwest Rhinos who, depending on whether you believed CricInfo's tournament table or SuperSport's, may still have been in with a shout. Vipers were at the crease first, as posted a decent 141/7 from their 20 overs - a score higher than it seemed they would get, after the side's top order failed to fire. It was the eventual arrival of #7 Chrisit Viljoen that finally put some urgency into the innings - he added 41 off 21 balls before losing his wicket on the final ball of the innings. Taurai Muzarabani took 2/24 to lead the bowling for Rhinos. In reply, early efforts by Rikki Wessels (32 off 15 balls) and Darren Stevens (33 off 25) saw Rhinos appear to be on course for victory, but the lower order unfortunately went to pieces under the Vipers' attack and the side limped its way to a disappointing 132/9 at the close. Louis Klazinga took 3/41, in the process almost certainly ensuring his side a place in the 3rd/4th place playoff. Full scorecard below the cut.
Vipers 141/7 (20 overs; Viljoen 41, Muzarabani 2/24), Rhinos 132/9 (20 overs; Stevens 33, Klazinga 3/41). Vipers win by 9 runs.

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.

Tuskers Edge Rhinos in Another Thriller

Day Five of the Stanbic T20, and the first match of the day was a close-fought bottom-of-the-table clash between Midwest Rhinos and Matabeleland Tuskers, with both sides needing to give their campaigns a boost if they were to keep their hopes of reaching the final alive. Tuskers won the toss and opted to field, and soon drew early blood as Rhinos lost Rikki Wessels (8) and Mluleki Nkala (0) early in the innings. Vusi Sibanda once again proved the rock around which Rhinos could base their efforts, though, adding 61, while in the lower order Malcolm Waller (33) and Ollie Rayner (24) both made useful contributions that lifted their side to 152/8 from their 20 overs - a higher total than had looked likely earlier in the morning. Chris Mpofu made the best inroads with the ball, taking 4/17 for Tuskers. The loss of Sean Williams in their first over saw Tuskers off to a wobbly start in their chase, but Gavin Ewing's 40 off 28 balls got things moving in the right direction and, despite the loss of several cheap wickets in the middle order, the side were there or thereabouts throughout their chase. It was the lower order trio of Andy Blignaut (26), Tawanda Mupariwa (19) and Keegan Meth (30*) who finished the chase off, with Meth scoring the winning runs with Tuskers needing 3 runs off the final ball to secure the win. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 152/8 (20 overs; Sibanda 61, Mpofu 4/17), Tuskers 154/8 (20 overs; Ewing 40, Cremer 2/14). Tuskers win by 2 wickets.

Eagles Fall to Rhinos

Midwest Rhinos got off the mark with a win against Mashonaland Eagles in the first of today's Stanbic T20 matches. Eagles were put into bat after Rhinos won the toss, and with the notable exception of captain Elton Chigumbura, who top-scored for his side with an impressive 53, none of the Eagles batsmen were ever able to really get going. Darren Stevens did most of the damage with the ball, taking 4/26 from his 4 overs. Rhinos' reply was perfectly paced, too, helped along by an Eagles attack that failed to take any wickets (the two men out were both runouts). Brendan Taylor impressed win an unabated 45, Vusi Sibanda's superb season continued as he chipped in with 41, while Rikki Wessels added 37 as Rhinos reached their target with a ball to spare. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 140 (20 overs; Chigumbura 53, Stevens 4/26), Rhinos 146/2 (19.5 overs; Taylor 45*, Price 0/15). Rhinos win by 8 wickets.

Mountaineers Beat Rhinos in T20 Opener

Mountaineers got their quest for the domestic T20 title off to a flying start with an 8-wicket win over MidWest Rhinos in the opening match of the Stanbic Bank Zim Twenty20 this morning. Rhinos were put into bat after Mountaineers won the toss, and amassed 125/6 from their 20 overs, largely thanks to the efforts of Malcolm Waller (55) and Graeme Cremer (35), but that wasn't enough to put them out of the Mountaineers' reach - led by Hamilton Masakadza (74), the Mutare side chased down their target with over 4 overs to spare. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 125/6 (20 overs; Waller 55, Ncube 2/15), Mountaineers 126/2 (15.4 overs; H Masakadza 76, Stevens 1/21). Mountaineers win by 8 wickets.

Riki Wessels Planning to Return Next Year

Midwest Rhinos player Riki Wessels (son of Kepler Wessels, one of the applicants for the position of national coach) has indicated that he plans to return to the side next season. Wessels has had a fairly successful time with Rhinos so far, 313 runs at an average of 34.17 in the six Logan Cup matches he's played so far, and in an interview with the Zimbabwe Standard had good words to say about the standard of play in the competition this year:

"I am busy trying to sort out my papers so that I can return to play next season. I really enjoyed my time here with the Rhinos and cricket has a bright future in Zimbabwe. It is not long before Test cricket returns to the country because I have seen they have got quite a few exciting young cricketers like Vusi Sibanda, Brendan Taylor and Graeme Cremer."

"If you see these guys performing like this at their age it means they will get better as they grow older. [The franchise system] has helped a lot because the cricketers are now playing a lot of competitive cricket regularly and a lot of former players have also returned. The future is good and what is needed is a bit more exposure for the cricketers by playing against quality sides. The first year of running a franchise is also the difficult part. But this year it has gone rather well and the challenge now is to improve on the next season."

Wessels is expected to return to Northamptonshire during the upcoming English season.
Zimbabwe Standard - Wessels Set for Comeback

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