Midwest Rhinos battled out a draw with Sean Ervine.. er, Southern Rocks to keep their chances of a place in the Logan Cup final alive - just. It was a match that was dominated by a few key players, most notably returning 'rebel' Sean Ervine, who scored a career-best 208 & 160 with the bat, going on to take 3 wickets in the match. Rhinos won the toss and opted to bat, and put on a disappointing 267 before being bowled out, with Malcolm Waller's 124 being the one performance to impress. Blessing Mahwire took 3/26 for Rocks. In reply, Rocks got off to a very shaky start, being 4/13 at one point, before the Ervine brothers joined forces at the crease to add 178 for the fifth wicket. Craig was eventually out for 81, while Sean went on to 208. With the best score beyond the brothers being a paltry 26 from Tendai Chisoro, it really was Ervines versus Rhinos.
Facing an unexpected first-innings deficit, it was Rhinos' turn to step up to the plate, and with a little help from Brendan Taylor, who one-upped Sean Ervine by scoring 217, they did. Innocent Chikunya chipped in with 75, with Graeme Cremer reaching 53 not-out before the side declared on 443/5. That left Rocks chasing 337 to win, a target that the side threw themselves into in much the style of a Twenty20 match. While the third-wicket partnership of Steve Marillier and Sean Ervine was at the crease, there even seemed to be a chance for an unlikely Rocks win, but Marillier's removal with the score on 152 was the beginning of a procession of wickets, and also saw the run-chase drop well below the required rate. Ervine finally went for 160, and the match drew to a close 2 overs later with Rocks still 59 runs short.
That leaves Mountaineers in the driving seat for the remaining spot on the final, with Rhinos needing to beat them next week, and out-score them on bonus points, to claim the place. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 267 (77.5 overs; Waller 124, Mahwire 3/26) & 443/5 decl (94 overs; Taylor 217, S Ervine 2/63), Rocks 374 (105 overs; S Ervine 208, Cremer 5/125) & 278/8 (82 overs; S Ervine 160, Muzhange 3/58). Match Drawn.
Eagles' draw with Rhinos was enough for them to secure their position at the top of the Logan Cup table, and saw Rhinos fall further off the pace in the race for a place in the final with only two matches to play. With Eagles batting first after Rhinos chose to field, Greg Lamb led the way with 171, with support from Elton Chigumbura (53) and Regis Chakabva (70) as the side posted 376, with Ed Rainsford and Graeme Cremer claiming 4 wickets apiece. With Rhinos' best score in reply being Rikki Wessels' 66, though, the home side were left with a 90-run deficit after declaring on 286/9.
Come their second innings, though, Eagles looked far more vulnerable as Cremer ripped through the side, taking a career-best 8/92. It was only the tail-end efforts of Trevor Garwe (53*) that saved Eagles' blushes - and left Rhinos short of time to mount their comeback. Needing 295 from their second innings to win, they were able to reach only 168/5 before the close on the final day, with Mluleki Nkala (57) and Friday Kasteni (44) posting a 109-run opening partnership while Ray Price took 2/35 for Eagles. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 376 (101.4 overs; Lamb 171, Rainsford 4/57) & 204 (78.4 overs; Garwe 53*, Cremer 8/92), Rhinos 286/9 decl (84.4 overs; Wessels 66, Chigumbura 4/66) & 168/5 (66 overs; Nkala 57, Rice 2/35). Match drawn.
The Tuskers senior team may be having a shocker of a season, but with a healthy surplus of top-name players on their roster, the franchise's 'B' side made short work of Rhinos 'B' at Bulawayo Athletic Club last week, winnings by an innings and 66 runs. Tuskers won the toss and opted to field, and Rhinos - anchored by George Banda (72) and Duncan Robertson (64) - managed to post 231 in their first innings. Godwin Mamhiyo took 3/33 to lead the bowling figures for Tuskers.
In their first innings, though, Tuskers were clearly in command. Bolstered by former national players Terrence Duffin (91) and Mark Vermeulen (81), the side posted 393/9 before declaring, with three other players passing the 50 mark along the way. That left Rhinos chasing 162 just to make Rhinos bat again - but a woeful second innings that saw them add just 96 to their total saw victory handed to the home side, Godwin Mamhiyo again leading the bowling with 5/34. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 231 (72 overs; Banda 72, Mamhiyo 3/33) & 96 (32 overs; Banda 13, Mamhiyo 5/34), Tuskers 393/9 decl (74.5 overs; Duffin 91, Banda 3/23). Tuskers 'B' win by an innings and 66 runs.
Tuskers got off to a flier in their match against Rhinos, thanks to an impressive 158 by Keith Dabengwa, but failed to make the most of their early advantage, eventually falling to a convincing 8-wicket loss against Rhinos. Batting first after winning the toss, Tuskers suffered an early blow when #2 batsman Gavin Ewing was forced to retire hurt early in the match (he was able to return later), but with Dabengwa on form the side were looking good on 293/5 when he finally struck out, bowled by Ed Rainsford (2/43). Keegan Meth's 66 towards the end of the innings also helped propel the side to 337, when Tuskers declared, clearly feeling they had enough on the board to mount a good challenge. Rhinos were quick to dispel any such notion, though - while the home side suffered a lower-order collapse, the last six wickets falling for 73 runs, the good work had already been done by the top, with Vusi Sibanda (131) continuing his amazing series with another ton, and Brendan Taylor (104) also passing the century mark - the pair added 160 for the 4th wicket, and that was enough to give Rhinos the upper hand.
They didn't waste the opportunity, either, going on to bowl out Tuskers for 240 in their second innings and leaving themselves a target of 170 to win when their turn to bat came around again. Once again it was Sibanda that led the charge, adding an unbeaten 77, with Mluleki Nkala contributing 54 as Rhinos reached their target for the loss of just 2 wickets. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 337/8 decl (101.4 overs; Dabengwa 158, Cremer 4/133) & 240 (88.5 overs; Ebrahim 77, Muzarabani 3/29), Rhinos 408 (129.2 overs; Sibanda 131, Taylor 104, Meth 5/26) & 172/2 (32 overs; Nkala 54, Nyumbu 1/23). Rhinos win by 8 wickets.
Both of this week's matches in the Faithwear MetBank one-day series wewre dead rubber that could make no difference to the final tournament table, but with the semi-finals just a few days away there was at least momentum to play for. Mountaineers have set the running for most of the series, and went into this match with an unbeaten record, but it was Rhinos who came away victorious - and by a convincing margin. Mountaineers were put into bat after Rhinos won the toss, and were it not for the efforts of Stuart Matsikenyeri (86*) and Shingi Masakadza (57*) would have posted a frankly embarrasing total - Mountaineers were at 104/8 when the pair joined forces to put of a partnership of 108 that saw the side through to the end of their allotted overs and to a total that they had a chance of defending, at least on paper. Wickets were well spread around the Rhinos bowlers, with Michael Chinouya leading the pack with 3/39.
Chasing, Rhinos got off to an inauspicious start with the early losses of Innocent Chikunya and Friday Kasteni, but Brendan Taylor at 3rd became the anchor for the innings, seeing it through to the end and closing just one short of a ton, with Vusi Sibanda, Malcolm Waller and Graeme Cremer providing support. Rhinos reached their target with 3 1/2 overs to spare, and a boost to morale ahead of their semi-final against Mashonaland Eagles. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 212/8 (50 overs; Matsikenyeri 86*, Chinouya 3/39), Rhinos 215/4 (46.3 overs; Taylor 99*, Musoso 2/33). Rhinos win by 6 wickets.
After losing a full day to rain, Mountaineers and Rhinos played out yet another draw in Kwekwe, with Mountaineers securing their lead over Rhinos in the Logan Cup table by claiming more of the bonus points on offer. Put into bat after Mountaineers won the toss, Rhinos posted 202 for their first innings, a disappointing total by their standards as for once the side failed to have anyone blaze a trail for them - Graeme Cremer's 46 was the best of the bunch, closely followed by Brendan Taylor (41), but after that it was a case of failed starts - and a blinder of a innings by Shingirai Masakadza, who took 6/54 for Mountaineers.
In reply, Mountaineers suffered many of the same problems as Rhinos had before them, but where Rhino's best two got out in the 40's, Mountaineers' best two pushed on to impressive totals. Hamilton Masakadza added 155, while Tatenda Taibu reminded us that he still does have class by adding 95 - together, the pair added 235 for the 3rd wicket, the partnership the made the difference between the batting of the two sides. Ed Rainsford took 5/83 for Rhinos, with Taurai Muzarabani and Graeme Cremer claiming a pair each. Mountaineers finally declared on 362/9, but by then the match was already into the final day and a result was very unlikely. Rhinos reached 94/1 in their second innings before the close of play, rounding out another tame draw. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 202 (66.5 overs; Cremer 45, S Masakadza 6/54) & 94/1 (36 overs; Chikunya 39*, Matsikenyeri 1/20), Mountaineers 362/9 decl (117.5 overs; H Masakadza 155, Rainsford 5/83). Match Drawn.
ZC have issued a fixture list for the Franchise 'B' League, which will see sides play a series of 2-day matches during January, February and March. For the full schedule, check our Domestic Fixtures page.
Former Zim bowler Mluleki Nkala has joined the Midwest Rhinos on a short-term basis, according to the Sunday News. Nkala currently plays and coaches in the UK, but has agreed to join the Rhinos until he returns to the UK at the end of the month.
That said, the player does appear to have longer-term aims with another franchise side - Tuskers are reported to be reviewing the position of current coach Robin Brown after their poor run of form this season, with Nkala's name having been raised as a possible replacement - despite the side having apparently rebuffed his approaches to them about joining as a player:
"I wanted to join Matabeleland Tuskers but the impression I got was that they were not interested so I decided to join Midwest Rhinos."
According to the paper, Nkala would accept the coach post if it were offered to him.
Sunday News - Nkala joins Midwest Rhinos
Midwest Rhinos beat Southern Rocks by a convincing 8 wickets in the first of two Faithwear matches today, and in doing so left the door to the semi-finals open for Tuskers, who were still in with a shout of winning their own match in Harare when Rhinos claimed victory. A wet outfield had delayed the start of play enough for the match to be reduced to twenty overs per side, and it was Rocks who were given the chance to set the pace of play after being put in by Rhinos. It was only the Kenyan pair of Steve Tikolo (36) and Thomas Odoyo that put up much in the way of fight for Rocks, though, as a lower-order collapse saw the side restricted to 131/8 from their 20 overs, with five batsmen failing to reach double figures. Wickets for Rhinos were fairly evenly-spread, with Ed Rainsford, Taurai Muzarabani and Graeme Cremer all claiming two apiece.
Requiring 132 to win, then, Rhinos set about their task with a reasonable dose of caution, particularly after the early loss of Bothwell Chapungu, who hit his own wicket while on 7. Riki Wessels (74*) and Brendan Taylor (32) then began a well-paced innings that edged Rhinos slowly but surely towards their target. The loss of Taylor with the score on 103 then brought Vusi Sibanda to the middle, who saw the innings out with Wessels as the target was reached with 5 balls to spare.
No change in the league standings as a result of this match, but a morale-boosting win for Rhinos ahead of the semi-final that they're now assured of a place in. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 131/8 (20/20 overs; Tikolo 36, Muzarabani 2/19), Rhinos 132/2 (19.1/20 overs; Wessels 74*, Machiri 1/8). Rhinos win by 8 wickets.
For the third match in a row, Southern Rocks were frustrated by rain as their match against Midwest Rhinos in Kwekwe petered out to a draw. With two full days lost to rain, and interruptions on the remaining days, Rocks' bastmen got to face all of 2 balls in the match. Rhinos did at least get to complete an innings, scoring 185 in an uncharacteristically poor batting display, and will at least be pleased that the weather potentially saved their blushes and made sure they came out of the match with more points for the tournament table than Rocks did. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 185 (60.3 overs; Chapungu 75, Matanga 3/50), Rocks 0/0 (0.2 overs). Match drawn.