Domestic Cricket

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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]

Relentless Rain Forces a Draw in Masvingo

Relentless rains forced a draw result in the Castle Logan Cup match between Southern Rocks and Matabeleland Tuskers. The two teams were determined to force a result, but the skies had other ideas. Southern Rocks’ surprise declaration was succeeded by another shocker when Tuskers declared first thing in the morning meaning that their second innings lasted only 13.3 overs with score at 76/2.

This meant that Rocks needed 318 runs from the day’s allocated 90 overs. However, that was not to be as the overnight rains could not hold up. Play started in the afternoon and the overs to be played was reduced to 45 overs. Rocks went in to bat; Chamu Chibhabha had a quick 24 off 32 balls while Steve Marillier was had his usual pedestrian knock of 10 from 33. Unfortunately, play could only go on for a mere 10.3 overs as the rains kept falling until the match was declared a draw.

Tuskers will march out of Masvingo with a single point that they accumulated by virtue of the first innings lead. On day three, Craig Ervine had spearheaded a fight back for Southern Rocks with a terrific unbeaten 167. The day commenced on a bright note for the host team when Chamu Chibhabha and Craig Ervine amassed 119 runs for the third wicket partnership. This was an interesting passage of play that resulted to a stimulating contest between bat and ball. Ervine was dealing in boundaries denying left arm spinner Keith Dabengwa any room to settle.

On the other hand, Keegan Meth continued to trouble Chibhabha bowling straight and keeping the ball on the stumps most of the time. After a couple of lbw shouts, Meth’s persistence finally paid off when he broke through Chibhabha defences to send the Rocks opener back to the pavilion with 74 from 116 balls. Meth, though failing to find that late swing which has become his trademark continued with good rhythm when he dismissed Elton Chigumbura lbw in the next over.

After lunch Ervine raced to his fifth first-class century as he continued to hold the Rocks’ batting together. Sikandar Butt had an uncharacteristic slow start putting up another meaningful 58 run partnership with Ervine. The two looked to be going well until Butt graced Njabulo Ncube with a wicket when he went fishing for a short and wide delivery taking a shot that failed to beat Terrence Duffin at mid-off.

Ncube, inspired by the wicket increased his intensity with a series of bouncers that were directed towards the new batsman Richmond Mutumbami. In a moment of aggressive bowling he struck Mutumbami on the helmet twice in consecutive deliveries.

Mutumbami managed to break the shackles and started to play his shots. In an exhibition of classy and all round stroke play the Masvingo bred batsman strolled to 54 runs from 91 balls before Rocks dropped a bombshell by declaring with the score 342/5. The decision sent shock waves to almost everyone at the ground considering the fact Rocks were still 241 runs behind.

In an effort to force a result on the match Tuskers came looking to make quick runs and managed to score 76 for the loss of two wickets before the close of day three, but then the weather intervened. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 583/7d (156.2 overs; Horton 209, Ewing 191, Matanga 3/86) & 76/2d (13.3 overs; Wheater 39, Vitori 1/11), Rocks 342/5d (94.4 overs; Ervine 167*, Meth 3/75) & 36/0 (10.3 overs; Chibhabha 24*, Marillier 10*). Match drawn.
[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]

Mountaineers Edge Eagles

It was another closely fought match between Mashonaland Eagles and Mountaineers, this time in the one-day competition, a match that swung from one side to the other until the penultimate over, when a burst of strokes from Prosper Utseya saw the visitors home with six balls to spare. Nick Compton’s superb century had given Mash Eagles a fine opportunity to make a big score, but the later batting failed and, well though they bowled, they could not halt the determined Mountaineers from recording another win.

Both teams were strengthened by the return of the leading players who had just completed their tour of Bangladesh. Eagles decided to bat on winning the toss in warm, dry, partly cloudy conditions. Tendai Chatara bowled a good opening spell that prevented the big hitter Cephas Zhuwao from taking charge, and soon had him slashing a catch to the keeper for 6.

Eagles’ total of 222, though, was composed almost entirely of the two partnerships that came next, with Compton playing the major part in both. First he added 98 in 19 overs with Simba Gupo, and then 73 in 11 overs with Forster Mutizwa, and while he was there his team looked likely to build a very challenging total. He scored heavily from pulls early in his innings, as some of the bowlers pitched too short, but also played orthodox strokes all round the wicket once the bowlers got the message. The 50 came up in the ninth over and the 100 in the 18th. Gupo batted well for 35 until he was out to a brilliant leaping one-handed batch by Timycen Maruma at long-on. Mutizwa then came in and gave Compton good support in his 29, and at one stage the total was 183 for two in the 33rd over.

At this point Compton (102) swept a catch and the innings went downhill from there, just at the point when they should have been destroying the bowling in the final over. In the last 7.1 overs seven wickets fell for 39 runs, with Shingi Masakadza being the main beneficiary, taking four of them for 32 runs in his five overs. Mountaineers had fought back very well and were no doubt relieved that their target was not nearly as difficult as had looked likely. The slide of the Mash Eagles batting at the end of the innings turned out to be crucial in the result.

Tino Mawoyo and Jonathan Beukes began the Mountaineers innings with great determination, against steadily bowling that gave nothing away, Chad Keegan being the tightest of all. The batsmen had to rely on keeping the scores moving with ones and twos, but they did keep their wickets intact. They were not parted until the 21st over, when Mawoyo, on 43, hit a low return catch to Tino Mutombodzi; the score was now 101 for one. The scoring rate slowly began to climb, and with ten overs to go 75 runs were needed – but with eight wickets still in hand, Greg Smith having gone for 13.

A critical moment occurred when Beukes, on 61, was dropped off a hard low chance to the fielder on the square-leg boundary. Maruma was threatening to take control when he sliced a hard catch into the covers for 25, quickly followed by Mark Vermeulen for 2. But the balance shifted again as Beukes kept accumulating while Shingi Masakadza hit at everything with much success. With three overs in hand, 17 were needed, and for the first time the required rate was below six an over. At this point Beukes, with a fine 86 off 102 balls, hit a return catch to Innocent Chinyoka and the match was wide open again.

Utseya scooped a vital boundary over the keeper, off Douglas Hondo, and then swung another four wide of mid-on, and the 12 required runs were completed from the penultimate over. Mountaineers had won with a final burst and an over to spare, Utseya scoring 11 off five balls and Masakadza 27 off 18. The home side had bowled well and Chinyoka had three wickets to his credit, but the Mountaineers after their good start had just enough power to get home in time. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 222/9 (40 overs; Compton 102, S Masakadza 4/32), Mountaineers 223/5 (39 overs; Beukes 86, Chinyoka 3/39). Mountaineers win by 5 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]

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.

Mountaineers Claim Win Over Eagles

Despite batting collapses in both their innings, Mountaineers held on to claim a win over Mashonaland Eagles in the first of this week's Logan Cup games. Mountaineers opened the match with a below-par 283 in their first innings, composed of Greg Smith's 118 and Mark Vermeulen's 86 and not much else, as the rest of Mountaineers' lineup essentially crumbled. Eagles' bowlers shared the work, with Chad Keegan, Tino Mutombodzi and Prince Masvaure each taking two wickets. In reply, Eagles managed a nice, round 300 runs before themselves being bowled out, Mark Mbofana's 73 led the scoring in a more evenly-shared innings, while Silent Mujaji's 4/71 led the bowling figures for Mountaineers.

That gave Eagles the point for a first-innings lead, but at least at the start of their innings Mountaineers seemed set to finally break loose - the opening pair of Tino Mawoyo (82) and Bernard Mlambo (28) put on 71 for the first wicket, while Jonatahn Beukes added another 52, and at one point Mountaineers were nicely placed at 144/2. From there, though, it was all downhill, as batsman after batsman departed without reaching double figures. Natsai Mushangwe's 17 from 15 balls was as near to "resistance" as the middle and lower order offered on the way to being bowled out for 218, setting Eagles a target of 202 to win - a target that seemed very gettable, based on their first innings performance.

Cricket has a way of surprising, though, and Eagles' second turn with the bat ended up mirroring Mountaineers' in many ways, with just Mark Mbofana (64*) managing a score of any note - Simbarashe Gupo was the next-highest scorer, with just 23 - as Eagles were bundled out for 158, handing Mountaineers a 43-run win that secured their place at the top of the tournament table and added another layer of misery to Eagles' season. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 283 (77.5 overs; Smith 118, Masvaure 2/32) & 218 (62 overs; Mawoyo 82, Mutombodzi 4/35), Eagles 300 (114.5 overs; Mbofana 73, Mujaji 4/71) & 158 (77.1 overs; Mbofana 64*, Chatara 4/21). Mountaineers win by 43 runs.

Eagles Win the BancABC Under-13 Cricket Week

Mashonaland Eagles were crowned the winners of the BancABC under-13 cricket week, which was held at Prince Edward School in Harare this week, after defeating the Mountaineers by 125 runs.

The annual tournament had six under-13 teams coming from the country's five franchises and a Development XI squad as the sixth. It was used as the selection tournament for the Zimbabwe under-13 national squad (President XI) team.

The final started off with some gripping action before poor batting from the Mountaineers resulted in the most comfortable of wins for the home franchise. Eagles went in to bat first and posted a 201 runs for the loss of six. Nicholas Welch, in fine form, scored a patient 67 off 145 balls conquering the slow out field and bowler friendly conditions.

Mountaineers' bowler, Adriaan Kok, was the peak of the bowlers doing well to reduce the extent of the damage the Mutare giants were taking. He took four for 48 runs in 10 overs but his gallant effort was overshadowed by Mountaineers' disappointing run chase - they were all out for just 85 runs. Mountaineers however got a consolation after captain Sam Curran was voted the player of the series.

In other matches played of the final day:

Matabeleland Tuskers vs. Development XI
Tuskers beat Development XI by eight runs. Tuskers' Ryan Minter-Brown and Dumoluhle Dube propelled the Bulawayo outfit to a competitive 129 runs. Development XI came close to causing an upset before they were bowled out
for 121 runs. Mathew Conolly shone for the Tuskers with 3.5 over spell which yielded three wickets for just 14 runs.

Midwest Rhinos vs. Southern Rocks
Manson Chikowero's 5 five wicket haul ensured that Rhinos restricted Southern Rocks to low score off 58 all out and Midlands boys dispatched Rocks in a seven wicket victory with ease.
[Source: ZC]

Mountaineers Go Top After Win Over Tuskers

Mountaineers eased to a comprehensive 78-run win over Matabeleland Tuskers in the MetBank Pro40 match in Bulawayo yesterday. Led by Timycen Maruma's 67, Mountaineers set a target of 205 for the home side to chase, with Jonathan Beukes (38) and Greg Smith (33) also chipping in while Tawanda Mupariwa and Bradley Staddon each took three wickets to restrict Mountaineers to what seemed to be a gettable total.

Mountaineers' bowlers had other ideas, however, and put in an impressive display to bowl Tuskers out for just 127. Gavin Ewing (32) and Mbekezeli Mabuza (30) were the best of a woeful bunch for Tuskers, with seven batsmen failing to reach double figures, while Donald Tiripano (4/14) and Tinashe Panyangara (2/30) led the way with the ball to secure the win for Mountaineers. The winning margin secured the bonus point for the Mutare side, and that's enough to put them top of the tournament table, ahead of Tuskers on run rate. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 205/9 (40 overs; Maruma 67, Staddon 3/24), Tuskers 127 (32.1 overs; Ewing 32, Tiripano 4/16). Mountaineers win by 78 runs.

Eagles and Mountaineers in the BancABC Under-13 Cricket Week Final

Mashonaland Eagles and Mountaineers will clash for honours in the final of the Banc ABC under- 13 cricket tournament after coming tops in their respective groups.

Eagles finished at the summit of group A after beating Midwest Rhinos and playing out a draw against Matabeleland Tuskers in a match that was washed out due rain while Mountaineers ruled the roost in group B after inflicting a big defeat on Southern Rocks and drawing with Development XI.

Eagles will march into the final the more confident of the two after beating Mountaineers by 4 wickets in low scoring preliminary round match. Mountaineers were the first to bat and could only manage a paltry 52. Angus Curtis was the chief destroyer with 4 wickets at the cost of just 3 runs in 4 overs while Keith Jaure and Nicholas Welch took 2 wickets apiece.

In other matches played on day three of the Banc ABC under 13 cricket week, the Tuskers bowling trio of Jason James, Mathew Connolly, and Dumoluhle Dube did the damage as the Matabeleland outfit defeated Midwest Rhinos by 2 wickets. Rhinos went in to bat first but could only put 91 runs on the board as the overcast conditions made it difficult to bat. Rhinos bowlers were however not going lay down easily as a team effort made the run chase difficult for Tuskers who managed to crawl on the finishing line with only 2 wickets in hand.

Development XI got their first win of the tournament with an emphatic seven wicket victory over Southern Rocks in which Tinashe Nenhunzi's bowling figures of 3 wickets for 9 runs in 5.5 overs forced Rocks to an average score of 108. Something that the Development XI batsmen managed to chase with much ease coupled with some wayward bowling that saw Rocks conceding 32 runs in extras.
[Source: ZC]

Compton Secures Win for Eagles

This was rather a disappointing match, spoiled by intermittent rain throughout the day and the poor performance of the Southern Rocks team - but then there were very few spectators to be disappointed anyway. Midweek matches in isolation do this tournament no favours at all. Mashonaland Eagles were on top almost from the start, with brilliant batting from Forster Mutizwa and Nick Compton in particular, while only a magnificent fighting innings from Steve Tikolo saved Southern Rocks from serious degradation.

These two teams are actually at the bottom of the competition table, although Southern Rocks began the match with eight points from two victories, while Eagles had no points from their four matches, all lost. With the weather uncertain, Southern Rocks put Eagles in to bat on winning the toss. Once again they soon dropped a catch, as Cephas Zhuwawo was let off a hard airborne hit at backward point; he was soon celebrating with a six over long-off. Simba Gupo also had a fortunate escape, edging a ball just over slip to the boundary, but at 47 in the eighth over Zhuwao was bowled by Brian Vitori for 17; he had not altogether batted in his usual devastating style, taking 23 balls for his runs.

Gupo, who has not had much success at franchise level, batted well for his innings, especially as it was interrupted several times by brief rain breaks. He made 54 off 67 balls before being out to an overhead catch at midwicket off Robertson Chinyengetere. Then came the match-winning of the innings, between Mutizwa and Compton. Mutizwa batted with wonderful fluency, at one stage hitting Bruce Tembo for two successive sixes, and raced to 62 off 49 balls before sweeping a catch to the fieldsman at deep square leg. Compton's 50 also brought up the 200 in the 36th over, and by the end of the innings he had reached 90 (80 balls), many of the later runs coming with outrageous reverse shots or swings over the wicket-keeper's head. The total reached a very useful 257 for six, with Tafadzwa Kamungozi taking four for 44 with the benefit of wickets in the last few overs when the batsmen were slogging.

Southern Rocks never looked like making a challenge. They lost Steve Marillier, lbw to the first ball of the innings, and three wickets were down for 38 in the seventh over, all to Chad Keegan. This included Sikandar Raza, the man Eagles feared most for his ability to carve the bowling to pieces, the catch taken by the bowler himself after the batsman had skied a ball straight up. The inexperienced Roy Kaia did his best, but was unable to score at any pace, and once again a face-saving operation was needed by Tikolo, coming in far too low in the order at number seven. The two were sharing a useful partnership that had reached 45 when the light drizzle through which play had taken place for some time again worsened and they left the field at 98 for five in the 23rd over.

After the interval, Tikolo showed what might have happened had he batted at, say, number four, as he quietly tore the bowling to pieces, hitting boundaries almost at will, and this finally encouraged Kaia to hit out as well. The partnership finally came to an end for 102 in 15 overs, as Kaia was run out off a no-ball, for a promising 40. Then came more rain - it would have saved trouble to call the match off at this point and let everyone go home, but the laws must be followed, and it was another 20 minutes before the inevitable became official and the match was awarded to Eagles on Duckworth-Lewis. Tikolo the Great finished with 68 not out off 55 balls, and his team 161 for six in the 30th over. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 257/6 (40 overs; Compton 90*, Kamungozi 4/44), Rocks 161/6 (29.2 overs; Tikolo 68*, Keegan 3/21). Mashonaland Eagles win by 36 runs (D/L method).
[Match report via ZC]

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