The second match of the round was Mashonaland Eagles v Midwest Rhinos in Harare. Both sides have been performing well in the 4-day Logan Cup, but have struggled to keep up with Mountaineers in the one-day competition and would have been looking to try and close the gap. Eagles won the toss and opted to field, and at first it seemed as though the opportunity to set the pace had given Rhinos the advantage - openers Riki Wessels (63) and Friday Kasteni 28) put on 89 for the opening wicket, and with Brendan Taylor adding a half-century of his own the Rhinos reached 268/6 from their 50 overs, a total that seemed as though it would be enough. Ray Price took 2/27 from his 10 overs for Eagles.
The early wicket of Tafadzwa Mufambisi with just 2 runs on the board would have also raised Rhinos' hopes, but it was all downhill from there as Eagles discovered some batting form - a third-wicket stand of 65 between Forster Mutizwa (49) and Ryan Butterworth (44) formed the foundation of the inninga, while Elton Chigumbura's powerful 90 not-out off just 55 balls drove Eagles to victory with just 7 balls to spare. The win sees Eagles leap-frog Rocks to take third place and narrow the gap on Rhinos to just 2 points. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 268/6 (50 overs; Wessels 63, Price 2/27), Eagles 269/6 (48.5 overs; Chigumbura 90*, Higgins 2/33). Eagles win by 4 wickets.
First up for this week's round of Faithwear Metbank one-day matches was the Masvingo meeting between Southern Rocks and Mountaineers, where Mountaineers managed to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition. Rocks won the toss and opted to bat, and after some early wobbles - the first two wickets were lost for just 15 runs - managed to build a decent score of 278/5 from their 50 overs. Craig Ervine did most of the work with a quick-fire 111 not-out (from 103 balls), with Thomas Odoyo chipping in with a useful 55 not-out, also at better than a run a ball. Steady Musoso led the bowling for Mountaineers, taking 2/41 from 6 overs.
In reply, though, Moutaineers never looked in trouble. Opener Tino Mawoyo amassed an impressive 97, with Tatenda Taibu (53) and Timycen Maruma (64*) backing him up as the visitors chased down the total with four overs to spare. Hilary Matanga's 2/46 was the best of Rocks' bowlers, most of whom never seemed to cause any trouble for their opposition.
That leaves Mountaineers on top of the table with 24 points, double the tally of second-placed Rhinos & assured of finishing top - although with four of the five sides able to qualify for the semi-finals next month, it's really just last place that sides want to avoid. With Rocks just one win ahead of last-placed Tuskers, though, they'll be casting worried looks over their shoulders. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 278/5 (50 overs; Ervine 111*, Musoso 2/41), Mountaineers 279/4 (46 overs; Mawoyo 97, Matanga 2/46). Mountaineers win by 6 wickets.
Mashonaland Eagles maintained their position at the top of the Logan Cup table, and an unbeaten record, with a 6-wicket win over Midwest Rhinos in Harare on Friday. Rhinos had looked in control at the end of day one - having been put into bat after Eagles won the toss, Rhinos finished the day on 280/6, lead by another ton from captain Vusi Sibanda (153). The early session on day two saw them collapse to 312 all out, though, with Trevor Garwe's 3/33 doing most of the damage. In reply, Eagles innings followed a similar pattern - Forster Mutizwa's 190 did most of the work, with useful contributions from Samuel Mwakayeni (70) and Ryan Butterworth (41), but there wasn't much else on offer. Eagles still managed to reach 406, though, giving them a first innings lead of 92. Michael Chinouya's 3/35 was the best of the bunch for Rhinos.
The second innings saw a further decline by Rhinos - Malcolm Waller (54) and Graeme Cremer (61) were the good knocks, while a number of other players got starts but failed to push on as Rhinos managed just 269 before being bowled out on the morning of the final day. Elton Chigumbura's 4/67 proved very useful - the big man also managed two catches and a run-out. Eagles were left chasing a target of 176, which they chased down with only minimal drama and with six wickets (and 6 overs) left in hand. The result leaves Eagles firmly in the driving seat of the tournament, and the only unbeaten side left. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 312 (98.5 overs; Sibanda 153, Grawe 3/33) & 269 (97.3 overs; Cremer 61, Chigumbura 4/67), Eagles 406 (117.3 overs; Mutizwa 190, Chinouya 3/35) & 176/4 (34.1 overs; Mwakayeni 46, Sibanda 2/45). Eagles win by 6 wickets.
Tuskers' turnaround ground to a halt on Saturday as Rhinos snuck a 1-wicket win in their Faithwear Metbank pairing in Bulawayo. Rhinos won the toss and opted the field, giving Tuskers the chance to set the pace for the match, and the early signs were good that they'd manage to put on a decent total. Bornaparte Mujuru led the scoring with 51, while Charles Coventry added 41, but the lower order went all to pieces - none of the bottom five reached double figures - allowing Rhinos to restrict them to 193 all-out. Malcolm Waller took 3/35, while Ed Rainsford chipped in with 2/47.
Rhinos got luck in their chase, though - only one person managed a decent innings (Vusi Sibanda's 82, one again pressing his case for a return to the national side), with the best of the rest being Graeme Cremer's 16. Patience allowed Rhinos to sneak their way home in the 48th over, though, with just one wicket to spare. For Tuskers, Chris Mpofu, Keegan Meth, John Nyumbu and Keith Dabengwa each took two wickets apiece. The win sees Rhinos close the gap between them and top-of-table Mountaineers from 10 points to 8. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 193 (42.1 overs; Mujuru 51, Waller 3/35), Rhinos 194/9 (47.3 overs; Sibanda 82, Dabengwa 2/18). Rhinos win by 1 wicket.
The Logan Cup headed into its second set of match-ups this week after a few weeks off, with the first match being the pairing of Tuskers and Rhinos in Bulawayo. After winning the toss, Tuskers got off to a flyer in their first innings, totalling 418. Charles Coventry led the charge with 100, while Gavin Ewing (62), Greg Strydom (55) and Keegan Meth (67) also made significant contributions. For Rhinos, Graeme Cremer did most of the damage with an impressive 7-wicket haul. Tuskers continued their good work when Rhinos came to bat, though, restricting the Kwekwe side to just 207, with Vusi Sibanda's 111 the only score of note. Chris Mpofu led the Tuskers bowling with 5/52.
That left Rhinos following-on, and between tons from Brendan Taylor (168) and new signing Riki Wessels (114) and interruptions due to rain, the side petered out to a draw, with Rhinos closing the final day on 419/7. Mpofu again was the best of the Tuskers attack, taking 3/56. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 418 (119.2 overs; Coventry 100, Cremer 7/124), Rhinos 207 (61.4 overs; Sibanda 111, Mpofu 5/52) & 419/7 (following on; 109 overs; Taylor 168, Mpofu 3/56). Match drawn.
History repeated itself in Mutare today - in their Logan Cup meeting earlier in the week, Rhinos had a woeful first innings against the Mountaineers, and in today's match had an equally bad opening knock. In the Logan Cup, of course, they had a second innings an used it well to make a remarkable comeback, but the one-day game isn't quite so forgiving. Rhinos won the toss and opted to bat, and almost immediately began to fall apart. There were only two partnerships of note: Friday Kasteni (39) and Vusi Sibanda (15) put on 48 for the 3rd wicket, while Solomon Mire (70*) and Michael Chinouya (6) added 59 for the final wicket as the Rhinos' tail wagged. The side were still bowled out for 166 in the 44th over, though, and needed to perform a miracle with the ball if they were to claim the points from the match. Donald Tiripano led the bowling for Mountaineers with figures of 4/27.
There was to be no miracle, though - in fact, Rhinos weren't even able to claim a wicket on the day, as opening pair Bernard Mlambo (88*) and Tino Mawoyo (63*) completed the chase without any help, other than from Rhinos bowlers, who proved completely unable to contain the duo. That secured Moutaineers a 10-wicket win, and left them sitting pretty on top of the Faithwear Metbank table at the half-way point of the competition, unbeaten and with double the points of their nearest rivals. Unstoppable? Just maybe. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 166 (43.4 overs; Mire 70*, Tiripano 4/27), Mountaineers 170/0 (36 overs; Mlambo 88*, Mayowo 63*). Mountaineers win by 10 wickets.
An eventful first day in the Logan Cup meeting between Mountaineers and Midwest Rhinos in Harare left it looking as though Rhinos were on the rocks, but an outstanding second-innings comeback saw them edge past Mountaineers by 19 runs to claim yet another win. Put into bat after Mountaineers won the toss, Rhinos managed a paltry 136 in their first knock, with Timycen Maruma (6/40) scything through the batting lineup - only four batsmen reached double figures, with Innocent Chikunya's 54 going a long way to sparing Rhinos' blushes. Mountaineers didn't do much better initially, ending the first day on 142/5, but come day two they found their footing and, led by Jethro Maudzi's composed 105 (on his first-class debut), progressed to 303 before Rhinos finally took their final wicket. Dylon Higgins, also on debut, took an impressive 6/93 for Rhinos and marked himself out as another spinner to watch, while Rememberance Nyathi took 3/44.
That left Rhinos trailing by 167 at the start of the second innings and still facing an uphill battle, but it was that man Vusi Sibanda who again put in an innings worthy of a captain to give Rhinos a fighting chance - he added 215, his third career-best innngs of the season, to lead his side to a total of 416. Friday Kasteni (38) and Rememberance Nyathi (36) were the best of the rest, while Timycen Maruma took 4/127 for Mountaineers. Mountaineers then had to chase 250 to win the match, and Rhinos made sure not to make it easy for them - apart from Johnson Marumisa's 64, none of the Mountaineers batsmen were able to push on past the 30 mark, and with Dylon Higgins again starring with the ball & taking 5/58 to bring his haul for the match to 11/151, Rhinos managed to bowl the home side out for 230 to secure a win that had looked highly unlikely just a few days before.
Their poor first innings performance did mean that Rhinos didn't claim as many points from the match as they would have liked, though, and with all sides having played four matches they're now one point off the lead, behind Mashonaland Eagles, while Mountaineers, with the same win/loss record as the sides above them, are five points behind Rhinos. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 136 (44.1 overs; Chikunya 54, Maruma 6/40) & 416 (103.5 overs; Sibanda 215, Maruma 4/127), Moutaineers 303 (106.4 overs; Maudzi 105, Higgins 6/93) & 230 (77.5 overs; Marumisa 64, Higgins 5/58). Midwest Rhinos win by 19 runs.
Not going to dwell on this one too much, as the match ended a week ago, but the full scorecard for Southern Rocks v Midwest Rhinos is in. We knew already that the match had ended in a draw, but it was another outstanding performance for Vusi Sibanda, who scored a ton in both innings (107 and 101 not out), backed up in both cases by solid fifties from Solomon Mire (66 and 56). Tafadzwa Kamungozi was the star for Rocks, posting 71 in the first innings before going on to take 4/86, while Eric Chauluka posted the third ton of the match, scoring 113. Rounding off the list of good performances is Ed Rainsford, who took 5/60 for Rhinos during the first innings. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 299 (101 overs; Kamungozi 71*, Rainsford 5/60) & 385/6 decl (98 overs; Chauluka 113, Muzarabani 3/44), Rhinos 290 (84.1 overs; Sibanda 107, Kamungozi 4/86) & 177/4 (Sibanda 101*, Matanga 3/59). Match drawn.
The pigeon has arrived from Masvingo with the scorecard for the Faithwear one-day meeting between Southern Rocks and Midwest Rhinos, and it looks as though it were worth waiting for, as Rocks edged past Rhinos by just three runs to bring the two sides level in the tournament table (although Rhinos still have a narrow lead on net run-rate). Rhinos won the toss and opted to field, and after removing the Rocks openers for just 9 runs scored would have thought they were off to a flyer. The next four Rocks players would all show a little backbone, though, with Alester Maregwede's 91 not-out being the pick of the bunch. Combined with the efforts of Craig Ervine (36), Tendai Chisoro (31) and Eric Chauluka (28), Maregwede - stand-in captain on the day - led his side to 239 all-out from their 50 overs. Perhaps not the greatest of totals, but is was to prove enough on the day - just.
Rhinos' innings got off to a decent-enough start, barring the dismissal of Duncan Robertson (2) in the sixth over, but Rocks were able to take regular wickets and keep any of the Rhinos, other than Friday Kasteni (80), from pushing on to good scores - Ed Rainsford's 31 not-out at 9th was the best of the rest. Frustratingly, Rhinos were able to keep up with the required pace, but found themselves falling just short, reaching 236/9 from their 50 overs, just 4 short of their target.
So, Rhinos finally drop one, which has allowed Mountaineers to move clear at the top of the tournament table, and the Kwekwe side will no doubt be rueing the loss of their key players to the national squad. Rocks, meanwhile, are beginning to build some momentum and are looking like the surprise package of the competition. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 239 (50 overs; Maregwede 91*, Chinouya 2/19), Rhinos 236/9 (50 overs; Kasteni 80, Chisoro 3/45). Rocks win by 3 runs.
You'll have noticed the absence of any reports on the Logan Cup and Faithwear meetings between Southern Rocks and Midwest Rhinos in Masvingo last week - that's because we're still waiting on hearing a scoreline, never mind seeing the scorecards. That said, ZC issues updated tables for both competitions this morning that give away the results: the Logan Cup meeting was a draw, while Rocks spring a surprise by beating Rhinos in the Faithwear match. More details on both matches if / when we get them.