Domestic Cricket

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Rhinos Beat Rocks by 98 Runs

The balance of this match had swung from one side to the other during the first three days, and it swung almost to the end. There was never any chance of Southern Rocks winning on the final day, but from looking dead and buried at lunch, superb defensive batting from Stuart Matsikenyeri and Robertson Chinyengetere took them to a position at tea when they looked likely to force a draw. But in the final session Mid-West Rhinos broke through again and the collapse of the last four wickets gave them victory by 98 runs. The young off-spinner Simon Mugava played a leading part with four good wickets and a run-out.

At the start of the day, Southern Rocks looked to be in a virtually hopeless position, with two wickets down for just 28 runs in search of a highly unlikely target of 309, and a rather awkward pitch to do it on. The situation immediately worsened when the overnight batsman Roy Kaia (10) edged the first ball he faced of the day into the hands of second slip; now 28 for three. In the event the pitch, although cracked and with balls keeping low at times, did not otherwise help the bowlers unduly and was not too difficult for a batsman concentrating on staying in rather than forcing the pace.

This Matsikenyeri was determined to do. He put his head down and took no risks, apart from one unwise attempted sweep that nearly had him lbw, and for a while he found a good partner in Sikandar Raza. They batted for almost an hour together until Raza was given out caught at short leg – another batsman departing most unhappy with the decision. When Richmond Mutumbami had an unwise swing at a ball from Simon Mugava and was bowled, the score was 76 for five and it seemed just one more incident in Southern Rocks’ seemingly inevitable slide towards defeat. At lunch the score was 94 for five, with Matsikenyeri on 35.

His new partner was Chinyengetere, who also put his head down, and for the entire afternoon this pair resisted everything the Mid-West Rhinos bowlers could send them. The bowling and fielding were generally good, but the batsmen would not be shifted. Matsikenyeri reached his fifty after more than three hours at the crease, and by tea the score had progressed to 162 for five. This was another session that changed the course of the match: at the start of it, Rhinos had seemed certain to win, while by the break Rocks were favourites to secure an unexpected draw.

In the final session the second new ball was taken, and this was make or break for Rhinos. Surprisingly Vusi Sibanda replaced Ian Nicolson with Roly Benade after two overs, but the move proved inspired, for Chinyengetere miscued a drive and was caught low down in the covers. His 47 had taken three hours and came off 157 balls; he well deserved a fifty. The pair had added 105 for the sixth wicket in those three hours.

Mid-West Rhinos went on the attack again with renewed hope, and Blessing Mahwire was run out by Mugava in a moment of confusion. Tafadzwa Kamungozi was next to go, caught at slip off the returning Nicolson, and finally Matsikenyeri’s long vigil came to an end. Just as Rhinos had put the fielders back to keep him away from the strike rather than get him out, he stepped in front of a straight ball from Mugava and was trapped lbw for 93. He batted more than five hours and faced 242 balls.

The last pair hung on as best they could, but 32 minutes was too long for them. They lasted only ten, without scoring a run, before Matanga was trapped lbw by Nicolson to end the match. In the end the last four wickets had fallen in six overs for only six runs. The youngster Mugava played the leading part for Mid-West Rhinos in the final innings, taking four for 56 with his off-breaks and also running out Mahwire. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 181 (71.3 overs; Nyathi 55, Sikandar Raza 2/5) & 326/9d (93.3 overs; Sibanda 104, Chibhabha 5/66), Rocks 199 (86.4 overs; Mahwire 66, Lewis 7/37) & 210 (99.3 overs; Matsikenyeri 93, Mugava 4/56). Midwest Rhinos win by 98 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Kasuza and Chatara Earn Mountaineers Points Over Tuskers

Mountaineers and Tuskers had to settle for a draw on the final day of their Castle Logan cup match at Mutare Sports club, with youngsters Kevin Kasuza and Tendai Chatara’s performances earning Mountaineers a point over Tuskers for a first innings lead. Despite the match being reduced to only one innings per side and no play being possible on the 2nd day, Mountaineers in their usual aggressive temperament, took a first innings lead with entitles them to a bonus point.

Zimbabwe under-19 opener, Kevin Kasuza (92), on his first class debut scored a half century along with Hamilton Masakadza (82) and Timycen Maruma (62) posted a competitive 328 runs all out for the home side. Kasuza continued his courageous performances from Zimbabwe under-19’s January tour to South Africa with an innings that featured 11 boundaries and two sixes. Keegan Meth starred for Tuskers with six for 58 runs in 23.4 overs.

Steven Trenchard top scored in the match with 124 run after wicket-keeper batsman, Adam Wheater (80), had initiated a decent chase for the Tuskers’ upper in the order but the visitors only managed to score 290 runs in the chase. Trenchard’s knocked five sixes and nine boundaries before being trapped lbw by Maruma. Mountaineers’ 38 run first innings lead was thanks in a main to Tendai Chatara’s five-wicket-haul for 56 in 21 overs. Scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 328 (106.4 overs; Kasuza 92, Meth 6/58), Tuskers 290 (77 overs; Trenchard 124, Chatara 5/56). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]

Rocks, Eagles Fail to Avoid Draw

The draw at Masvingo Sports Club was not inevitable, but it could really only be decided if the home batsmen had collectively given their innings away at the hands of Mashonaland Eagles. As it was, some sound batting by the later Southern Rocks players, notably Robertson Chinyengetere with a fighting 71, made the match safe, and after that it died a lingering death until being put down at the earliest possible moment allowed by the laws. The pitch had been dead all the time, and it usually takes the match with it.

Overnight Rocks were 287 for seven, facing the heavy but slow Eagles total of 510. They therefore needed another 71 runs to avoid the follow-on with only three wickets left. Even on such a pitch, the odds were probably against them, but those same odds made it likely that, even if they did follow on, they should be able to bat out the rest of the day. But it all depended on the Rocks’ state of mind.

That state of mind was strong. The overnight pair of Chinyengetere and Tafadzwa Kamungozi was very watchful and very determined, once Kamungozi had survived a hard high chance in the slips in the first over of the day, bowled by Chad Keegan. Tino Mutombodzi continued to bowl from the north end of the ground, as he had done for most of the previous day, generally pushing the ball through fairly flat and often bowling round the wicket to aim for the footmarks at the other end. Not surprisingly, he grew tired and, although being kept on to the end of the innings, he was unable to wrap up the innings in time for his team to enforce the follow-on.

Chinyengetere reached his invaluable fifty by pulling a ball from Mutombodzi for four; he was in fact quick on the hook and pull when bowlers of any speed pitched short, keeping the ball on the ground but generally getting only ones or two. Most of the runs came in this fashion, through steady accumulation in small currency. The partnership had added 74 when Kamungozi finally sliced a catch into the covers off Mutombodzi to depart for 24; 329 for eight.

Nine runs later, Chinyengetere’s fighting innings came to an end, as quite unexpectedly he pushed a ball from Mutombodzi into the hands of silly mid-off. Both these batsmen had fought very well, but fell victims not so much to the pitch or the bowlers as to lapses of concentration. This is a common failing in Zimbabwean batsmen, and explains why scorecards are so full of batsmen making tens, twenties and thirties, but failing to cash in for a really significant score.

The last pair now needed 23 runs to save the follow-on – and it was fortunate for Southern Rocks that in this match they had reasonable batsmen down to number eleven. Brian Vitori joined Hilary Matanga, and this pair continued the fight, waiting for the right ball and taking mostly the ones and twos. At lunch seven runs were still needed, but even had they failed the team would have had to bat abysmally to be dismissed in the last two sessions. Finally, twelve minutes after lunch, the landmark was passed, and they added another 18 runs before Vitori was dismissed lbw to Innocent Chinyoka for 10, Matanga remaining unbeaten for an admirable 33. Mutombodzi in his 57 overs finished with seven for 137.

The rest of the match was purely academic, as Eagles batted a second time with a draw now a certainty. The best that can be said for most of the visiting batsmen was that they were not playing for their averages. Forster Mutizwa played briskly for 36, but the real exception was Simba Gupo, who built on his first-innings century with a carefully compiled 67 not out, making 214 runs in the match for once out, to a brilliant catch. If he builds on this, he will have a fine future. Scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 510 (169.3 overs; Gupo 147, Mahwire 2/71) & Eagles 140/5 (37 overs; Gupo 67*, Kamungozi 2/37), Rocks 379 (134 overs; Sikandar Raza 93, Mutombodzi 7/137). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]

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.

Tuskers v Eagles Rained Off

Another rain intervention, another no result, as today's MetBank Pro40 match between Matabeleland Tuskers and Mashonaland Eagles became the latest victim of the weather. Play did get started, with Eagles winning the toss and opting to field, but only 12 overs were bowled before the rain began, with the match being abandoned sometime later. Having lost two early wickets - Horton for 0 and Ewing for 9 - I doubt Tuskers would have been complaining too much. Both sides get 2 points from the abandonment, which moves Tuskers into second place ahead of Southern Rocks (who are on a bye this week), while Eagles remain rooted to the bottom of the table - and as they're on a bye during the final round of matches next week, they now have no possibility of reaching the semi-finals and are out of the competition. Scorecard, what there is of it, below the cut.
Tuskers 32/2 (12 overs; Duffin 12*, Keegan 2/12), Eagles did not bat. Match Abandoned.

Tuskers Beat Eagles, Mutizwa Century in Vain

A five wicket haul from lanky fast bowler Christopher Mpofu saw Matabeleland Tuskers romp to a 65 run win over Mashonalad Eagles inside three days in a Castle Logan Cup encounter at Queens Sports Club, despite a superb century from visiting captain Foster Mutizwa. Mpofu picked five for 80 runs including the big wicket of Mutizwa who top scored for his side with 116 runs to deny Mash Eagles what seemed a well deserved first win in the Logan Cup. Fellow seamer Tawanda Mupariwa weighed in with three crucial wickets as Tuskers collected all the points from the match.

With the heavy rains having pounded the pitch on Thursday night, a wet outfield saw the entire morning session being lost as no play was possible. Eagles declared their first innings on 32/1 and Tuskers who scored 339 in their first innings chose to forfeit their second innings, leaving Eagles with a victory target of 308 runs with one and a half days to achieve it.

After the early loss of Cephas Zhuwao, who had his off stump knocked over by Mupariwa, Mutizwa and Prince Masvaure put on 57 runs for the second wicket with some hard knocks. Mpofu broke the stand when he had Masvaure caught behind for 29 but the batsman was convinced that the ball had grazed his arm on the way to Adam Wheater and reluctantly walked off the field. Ryan Butterworth never looked settled and was in the middle for just five minutes before getting a low edge from a Bradley Staddon delivery to be taken at first slip by Paul Horton to depart for a seven ball duck.

Mutizwa continued to dominate the Tuskers bowlers and was strong on the off side, punishing anything on the off stump, dispatching 11 fours on his way to his half century off 77 deliveries. He raced to the 90s in no time but was stuck there for sometime as a rejuvenated Njabulo Ncube peppered him with some unplayable short balls. After facing up to 139 balls and hammering 17 fours, Mutizwa got to the century when he pulled Ncube for four through mid wicket.

None of the bowlers tried out by Tuskers skipper Gavin Ewing had an answer as Mutizwa and continued to flay them all over the park. Mpofu finally got Mutizwa when he had him snared at mid wicket by Ewing. World Cup bound Regis Chakabva got six runs before Mpofu bowled him and Mpofu had another wicket in the same over, getting a leg before wicket decision against Tinotenda Mutombodzi who was out for a two ball duck and suddenly the match swung in favour of Tuskers.

Mupariwa claimed the big of Andrew Hall, the former South African all-rounder getting an edge to Wheater. Mpofu had his five wickets, Chad Keegan edging and taken by Wheater and it was all over soon afterwards when Mupariwa induced Lamb to an edge which was caught by Wheater. Mark Mbofana did not bat after breaking a finger fielding on the first day. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 339 (141.5 overs; Wheater 90, Keegan 3/30) & forfeited innings, Eagles 32/1 dec (15 overs; Masvaure 17*, Mpofu 1/9) & 242 (67.2 overs; Mutizwa 116, Mpofu 5/80). Matabeleland Tuskers win by 65 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

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.

Southern Rocks defeat Tuskers

Half centuries from Sikandar Raza and Chamu Chibhabha inspired Southern Rocks to a 45 run victory over Matabeleland Tuskers in a Met Bank Pro40 Championship match in Masvingo. Overnight rains caused a delay on the start of play due to a wet out field; one of the bowlers’ ends was too damp prompting the umpires to delay the start of play for the safety of the bowlers. However, frantic efforts by the ground staff paid off when play resumed earlier than expected.

The match was reduced to 32 overs. Tuskers’ won the toss and elected to field. The rains of the past few days did little to change the state of the wicket that was flat. For Rocks’ openers, surviving the new ball was key, something that they achieved, though Sikandar Raza was lucky to survive early on. First, he was dropped on the first ball of Tawanda Mupariwa’s over by Keith Dabengwa at mid-off. The next ball Raza launched a big one for six over the bowler. On the third ball of the same over, he survived again when his shot failed to carry towards Gavin Ewing at mid-wicket. Chamu Chibhabha on the other hand was playing with caution, but at the same time being able to score with relative quickness.

The first wicket partnership blossomed to produce 160 runs before Dabengwa dismissed Raza for lbw, sending the big hitter packing with a well played 80 off 59 balls. In came, Chigumbura who quickly found his stride forming a decent 58 run partnership with Chibhabha. Mupariwa bounced back to take two wickets in the 25th over. The first ball of the over was a full toss that Chibhabha pulled for a six. Then Chibhabha was caught at backward point by Gavin Ewing for 89 from 83. Chigumbura, was dismissed when he sky rocketed the ball to by Sean Williams at long off. The departure of Chigumbura ushered a batting collapse. Bradley Staddon picked 2 wickets in one over as Rocks finished at 253/6.

Needing just under eight runs per over, Tuskers openers had to replicate their Rocks’ counterparts with a big partnership. However, that was not be, instead there was a bowling partnership that did the early damage. Brian Vitori and Blessing Mahwire gave Rocks’ the kind of start they were hoping for. Duffin could only manage 6 runs from 11 balls before Vitori broke through his defences. Vitori came again in the next over to haunt Tuskers with the wicket of Charles Coventry for 11 (6).

Ewing held on from the other end until he was undone by unfortunate run out by Mahwire with a gallant 41 from 29 deliveries. Horton played a straight drive with Mahwire managing to put a hand to ball that hit stumps catching Ewing out of his crease. Williams’ comeback after missing the Castle Logan Cup match due to sickness, did not last long when he got a feint edge to wicket keeper Richmond Mutumbami.

Stuart Matsikenyeri was precise with his field placing and bowling changes. After drinks he brought Hillary Matanga who immediately made his impact with the wicket of Paul Horton with his first ball. Matanga’s spell proved to be very significant when he went on to claim another scalp in his next over, taking the game further away from the reach of Tuskers who kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

In a desperate attempt to save the game, Ewing brought in injured Keegan Meth who failed to bowl because of a knee injury that he sustained in the morning. Meth could only conjure a 21 run partnership with Staddon but that was not to be enough for Tuskers who finished on 208/8 in 32 overs. Matanga was the pick of the Rocks’ bowlers with four wickets for 30 in six overs, while Brian Vitori had two for 31 in five overs. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 253/6 (32/32 overs; Chibhabha 89, Staddon 2/33), Tuskers 208/8 (32/32 overs; Horton 48, Matanga 4/30). Southern Rocks win by 45 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

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