Rhinos – 184 and 238 all out in 83.2 overs (Johnathan Campbell 68, Charles Kunje 54, Trevor Gwandu 39; Victor Nyauchi 4/41, Donald Tiripano 2/26, Wellington Masakadza 1/33)
Mountaineers – 323 and 102-0 in 14.4 overs (Kevin Kasuza 59*, Ben Compton 33*)
Mountaineers won by 10 wickets
Mountaineers opening batters Kevin Kasuza and Ben Compton made light of a target of 100 as they dominated the Rhinos bowling and romped home to a 10-wicket victory in three days at Harare Sports Club on Monday.
Overnight, Rhinos, 139 runs behind on the first innings, were 44 for three wickets in their second innings, with Charles Kunje on 11 and the night-watchman Trevor Gwandu yet to score.
They both opened this morning with a defensive game, Gwandu doing a sound night-watchman’s job for his team by batting on for nearly two hours to score 39 before being run out by Donald Tiripano at 108 for four – they had put on a valuable 68 together.
Two balls later the new man, Remembrance Nyathi, followed him back to the pavilion, caught off Vincent Masekesa, and Rhinos were back in trouble again.
Kunje continued to play doggedly, while Johnathan Campbell played one of the bright, positive innings at a time of need.
At 169, Kunje, after batting over four hours and facing 163 balls for 54, was finally bowled by Victor Nyauchi, but Campbell continued to make the bowling look easier in company with Nyasha Mayavo.
Campbell scored 68 before he was caught off Wellington Masakadza, while Mayavo scored 18, but on his dismissal the Rhinos tail collapsed.
Brandon Mavuta was the last man out, to Nyauchi, having scored 13, and the total was 238, which left Mountaineers needing exactly 100 runs to win.
Nyauchi was the best of the bowlers, taking four wickets for 41 off 19.2 overs, while Tiripano took two for 26.
Mountaineers were obviously keen to get the match over with quickly, as Kasuza and Compton came out to bat in brilliant fashion, attacking the bowlers freely.
It took them less than 15 overs to score the necessary runs with more than six overs of the day in hand.
Kasuza played the leading role, hitting 59 off 54 balls, including nine fours, while Compton made 33 off 36 balls, an overall rate of more than a run a ball.
Southern Rocks – 245 and 225 all out in 65.5 overs (Innocent Kaia 86, Brian Mudzinganyama 34, Travor Mutsamba 26*; John Nyumbu 3/41, Ernest Masuku 3/71, Ainsley Ndlovu 2/22)
Tuskers – 183 and 117-4 in 38 overs (Craig Ervine 42*, Tanu Makoni 20, Brian Chari 18*; Travor Mutsamba 2/16, Privilege Chesa 1/14, Tendai Chisoro 1/29)
Day 3 – Stumps: Tuskers need 171 runs
After three days’ play at Old Hararians Sports Club, Craig Ervine and Brian Chari are the key figures in Tuskers’ bid to chase down a target of 288 if they are to beat Southern Rocks on the final day.
At the close of play on Monday, they were in partnership and had 42 and 18 to their credit respectively, with the score 117 for four wickets.
At the start of the day Rocks, having gained a first-innings lead of 62 over Tuskers, had scored in their second innings 78 for one wicket, the overnight batters being Innocent Kaia with 60 and Brian Mudzinganyama with 11.
They took the score to 124 together before Mudzinganyama was bowled by Steve Chimhamhiwa for 34.
Kaia moved to 86 and was then out lbw by Ernest Masuku.
Cephas Zhuwao briefly threatened to dominate the bowling in his old style when he was out for 16 off 15 balls, to a return catch taken by Masuku.
At this point, Tuskers threatened to come back into the game, as the bowling of Masuku and John Nyumbu carved through the middle order, and the score, 146 for two at one stage, deteriorated to 160 for eight.
Just when a stand was needed, Travor Mutsamba (26 not out) and Nkosi Nungu (23) put on 47 runs together, and with the last man Privilege Chesa contributing a quick 12 runs, Rocks were doubtless relieved to finish with a final score of 225, which set Tuskers a difficult target of 288 to win.
Masuku finished with three wickets for 71 and Nyumbu three for 41, while Chimhamhiwa and Ainsley Ndlovu took two wickets each.
As Tuskers did their best to chip away at the target, they lost wickets steadily.
Tanu Makoni (20) and Nkosana Mpofu (13) were both out by the time 46 was on the board, followed by Milton Shumba (14) and Clive Madande (3), when the score was 89 for four wickets.
Chari now joined Ervine, and the pair played out time safely.
Tuskers’ chances of victory are not very great, but as long as either of these batters is still at the crease Rocks cannot feel safe.