Northerns claim regional series after Southerns fluff golden chance

Northerns – 273-9 in 50 overs (Nkosana Mpofu 88, Chamu Chibhabha 50, Tarisai Musakanda 35; Victor Nyauchi 3/42, Ernest Masuku 3/60, Tafadzwa Tsiga 2/18)

Southerns – 270 all out in 47.4 overs (Johnathan Campbell 46, Tashinga Musekiwa 43, Kevin Kasuza 38; Ainsley Ndlovu 4/27, William Mashinge 4/34, Tanaka Chivanga 1/50)

Northerns won by three runs

Nkosana Mpofu struck his second consecutive half-century as his Northerns team pipped Southerns by three runs in an exciting finish to decide the three-match regional Pro50 Championship series at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Wednesday.

On the other hand, Brandon Mavuta was both hero and villain for Southerns – he had scored a valiant 29 at a vital time to take his side to the brink of victory, only to lose his wicket to an unnecessary stroke that in the end cost them the match.

Richmond Mutumbami as captain of Southerns won the toss and decided to bowl first.

Much depended, for both teams, on how the in-form Tadiwanashe Marumani performed, but this time round it was not his day.

Against the opening attack of Ernest Masuku and Victor Nyauchi he could not get going and in the eighth over, having scored 11 off 22 balls, he was caught by Mutumbami behind the wicket off Nyauchi.

Later in the same over his partner, Brian Mudzinganyama, also fell for 11, beaten by Nyauchi’s pace and trapped lbw.

Nkosana Mpofu began his innings more fluently than either opener, and scored freely while the Northerns captain Chamu Chibhabha settled into what proved to be a major partnership with him.

They put on 124 in 25 overs before Chibhabha, just having reached 50, was beaten and bowled by the spin of Johnathan Campbell, with their team in the advantageous position of 151 for three.

Mpofu stayed until the 39th over when, trying to speed up the scoring, he was surprisingly lbw to Tafadzwa Tsiga, who is better known as a wicket-keeper and very rarely bowls.

He departed having made a brilliant 88, with one six and nine fours, off 104 deliveries.

Perhaps unfamiliarity with his bowling gave Tsiga an advantage, as in his next over he also removed Tanaka Chivanga (4) lbw with a googly – 195 for five.

The wickets were a setback for Northerns, but Shingi Masakadza is always a good man for such a situation, as he joined Tarisai Musakanda at the wicket.

Masakadza launched three sixes on his way to 27 off only 13 balls to give his team a welcome boost before Masuku had him lbw on returning for his final spell.

At 249, Musakanda was caught at mid-off from Nyauchi after scoring 35 off 38 balls – 249 for seven in the 47th over.

In the remaining overs, Spencer Magodo (21 not out off 14 balls) and William Mashinge (10) had a clout, before Masuku had Mashinge caught in the gully and Ainsley Ndlovu bowled first ball with the last two deliveries of the innings, giving a total of 273 for nine.

This improved Masuku’s figures to three wickets for 60, but Nyauchi had the best record of three for 42 in eight overs, while the surprise package Tsiga had two for 18.

Kevin Kasuza may have missed out in the second match on Monday, but he regained his sparkling form of the first match when Southerns batted.

He and Takudzwanashe Kaitano put on 46 for the first wicket in eight overs, of which Kaitano scored just nine before Chivanga trapped him lbw.

Kasuza was looking set for another big score when on 38 he was also out lbw to a fine delivery from Ndlovu, having faced 41 balls and hit two sixes and four fours.

Mutumbami drove a catch to point and left without scoring three balls later, but Tsiga and Timycen Maruma took the score past 100, when both were out for 27 in quick succession.

At 109 for five in the 22nd over, Southerns were now in some trouble as Campbell and Tashinga Musekiwa came together.

Scoring well, they kept their team in with a chance as they added 84 together in 15 overs, of which Musekiwa scored 43 off 56 balls before at 193 for six he was caught at deep midwicket.

Carl Mumba played his usual big-hitting game, and was looking dangerous with 18 off 12 balls before he skyed a catch to long-on in trying to hit what would have been his third six – 222 for seven.

All this time Campbell was holding the innings together, but when he had made 46 off 53 balls he was beaten and bowled by Mashinge, and at 233 for eight after 41 overs Southerns were in trouble again.

Mavuta was now the leading batter remaining, and the policy seemed to be for him to make the strokes while Masuku kept his end up.

With five overs left, they needed 23 runs to win.

In the 47th over, Masuku hit off-spinner Mudzinganyama for four and then Mavuta for six, taking the score to 270 for eight, four more runs needed.

Off the final delivery of that over, however, in a situation where safe singles would have brought Southerns the match, Mavuta decided to go for glory, opened his shoulders and drove a catch to long-off.

He had made 29 in a very fine innings of 27 balls.

The score was 270 for nine.

Mashinge then bowled to Masuku, who also seemed to lose his head as he slogged the fourth ball to deep midwicket, where it was fumbled and then caught by Mudzinganyama to end the match.

Masuku had scored nine, while the last man, Nyauchi, had not faced a ball.

The score was 270, and there were still 14 balls to be bowled, leaving Southerns to rue the big lofted shots in a situation where only four more runs were needed for victory.

Ndlovu was the pick of the bowlers, with four top-order wickets for only 27 runs in his 10 overs, while Mashinge had four for 34.

Marumani stars as Northerns level regional series

Southerns – 244-8 in 41 overs (Timycen Maruma 54, Richmond Mutumbami 48, Carl Mumba 47*; Faraz Akram 3/32, Nkosana Mpofu 3/58, Ainsley Ndlovu 1/35) 

Northerns – 245-5 in 38.2 overs (Tadiwanashe Marumani 71, Nkosana Mpofu 55, Spencer Magodo 41*; Tashinga Musekiwa 3/42, Victor Nyauchi 1/44, Keith Jaure 1/54)

Northerns won by five wickets

Tadiwanashe Marumani once again showed his one-day batting skills, playing a destructive innings of 71 off 41 balls to lead the way for Northerns as they beat Southerns by five wickets in the second match of this regional Pro50 Championship series at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Monday.

Again, a wet outfield delayed the start of play and this time the match was reduced to 41 overs a side.

Richmond Mutumbami, captaining Southerns, decided to bat on winning the toss.

In contrast to his brilliant form in the first match, Kevin Kasuza struggled this time round for 17 balls to score only two runs before he was lbw to a swinging ball from Faraz Akram.

He opened with Tafadzwa Tsiga, who scored 16 before being bowled by Tawanda Dzikiti in the 10th over at 36 for two.

Timycen Maruma, promoted to number three, was in fine form and shared a vital partnership with Mutumbami which took the score to 118 before the third wicket fell in the 27th over.

He scored 54 off 65 balls, while Mutumbami soon followed for 48 off 57, both to the left-arm spin of Nkosana Mpofu.

There was rather a slump in the middle order at this point, and after 33 overs the innings was in danger of melting away at 147 for six.

Johnathan Campbell was batting well to make 36 off 31 balls, but once again the main figure in the lower order was Carl Mumba, who smote the ball in his usual powerful style and in less than six overs, when Campbell was out, the score had shot up to 205 for seven.

Mumba finished the innings with 47 not out off only 23 balls, with four sixes and two fours, the final total being 244 for eight when the 41 overs were completed.

Akram was the most successful bowler with three for 32 off seven overs, while Mpofu also took three wickets, but they cost him 58 runs off eight overs after he had received some unwanted attention from Mumba’s bat.

In reply Northerns got off to a flying start, which is always possible when Marumani strikes form.

His partner Brian Mudzinganyama was first out for 20 after seven overs, the score at this stage being 71 for no wicket, with Marumani now on 43 off only 18 balls.

Marumani went on to reach his fifty off only 22 balls, but then seemed to lose a little steam – he was finally caught at long-off for 71 off 41 balls.

He had hit a six and 12 fours, and the score at this point was 128 for two in the 16th over, having built an excellent platform for the later batters to achieve victory.

The bowler was Tashinga Musekiwa, who proceeded to take the next two wickets to fall, those of Chamu Chibhabha for 17 and Brian Chari for three – 162 for four in the 22nd over.

Mpofu was still there batting steadily and Spencer Magodo supported him well to take the score past 200 in the 32nd over, before Mpofu was bowled by Keith Jaure for 55 after facing 73 balls and hitting two sixes and four fours.

William Mashinge joined Magodo, and these two played steady cricket without the pressure of a high required run rate, thanks to Marumani’s trail-blazing innings at the start.

Magodo finished with 41 off 46 balls, Mashinge with 15 off 26, both not out, as the two saw Northerns home in the 39th over quite comfortably.

Musekiwa with three for 42 was the most successful of the bowlers.

Both teams have now won a match, so the stage is set for the series decider on Wednesday.

Kasuza, Mutumbami power Southerns to victory in regional clash

Northerns – 160-6 in 24 overs (Chamu Chibhabha 47, Spencer Magodo 30, Shingi Masakadza 29*; Keith Jaure 1/9, Tinashe Muchawaya 1/26, Brandon Mavuta 1/27)

Southerns – 164-2 in 22.3 overs (Kevin Kasuza 80*, Richmond Mutumbami 51*, Prince Masvaure 12; Faraz Akram 1/16, Tawanda Dzikiti 1/26)

Southerns won by eight wickets

Kevin Kasuza found his best one-day form as his excellent innings of 80 not out, in partnership most of the time with Richmond Mutumbami, brought an eight-wicket victory to Southerns over Northerns in the first regional Pro50 Championship match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Saturday.

A wet outfield delayed play for so long that this match had to be reduced to 24 overs per side, making it little more than a T20 game.

Northerns won the toss and decided to bat, but got off to a bad start, which was to eventually cost them dearly.

They lost Tadiwanashe Marumani, who scored eight runs and was then caught at the wicket, all in the first over from Victor Nyauchi.

Tanu Makoni scored 14, but Tafara Mupariwa became badly bogged down, scoring only a single in 15 balls before he was out at 30 for three in the eighth over.

Chamu Chibhabha and Brian Chari improved matters, with Chari scoring 18 off 17 balls and Chibhabha, the Northerns captain, going on to make 47 off 36 balls.

His dismissal made the score 117 for five in the 20th over.

Spencer Magodo and Shingi Masakadza then took over, with Masakadza as so often being the most destructive batter on his team, scoring 29 not out off 17 balls with a six and three fours.

Magodo was run out off the last ball of the innings for 30 off 33 balls, giving Northerns a total of 160 for six wickets.

Five bowlers took one wicket each, with Keith Jaure the most economical, taking the wicket of Mupariwa for nine runs off his four overs.

Southerns quickly lost the wicket of Takudzwanashe Kaitano for three, as he slogged a catch to midwicket off Faraz Akram.

Prince Masvaure scored 12 off 22 balls before he was out after nine overs with the score 43 for two.

Kasuza, who opened with Kaitano, had sometimes struggled recently in limited-overs cricket, but this time round he was in superb form.

He formed a vital partnership with Mutumbami as the two batters mastered the bowling, pace and spin alike, and soon the only question was whether they would still be together when victory was achieved.

They were indeed, with Mutumbami scoring the winning runs with a big six over cow corner off Magodo, to bring up his fifty at the same time, scored off 42 balls (three sixes, three fours).

Kasuza was deservedly unbeaten with 80, taking only 67 balls for it, and he hit a six and eight fours.

The unbroken third-wicket partnership between the pair was worth 121 runs, and they won the match with nine balls to spare.

Akram was the most economical of the bowlers, taking one for 16 off four overs.

Mountaineers edge Rhinos to retain Pro50 Championship title

Mountaineers – 277-7 in 50 overs (Definate Mawadzi 70, Timycen Maruma 51, Peter Moor 44; Brandon Mavuta 3/34, Carl Mumba 3/50, Michael Chinouya 1/44)

Rhinos – 276-8 in 50 overs (Johnathan Campbell 57, Carl Mumba 44*, Prince Masvaure 43; Tinashe Muchawaya 2/33, Clive Chitumba 1/25, Victor Nyauchi 1/39)

Mountaineers won by one run

Mountaineers have retained the Pro50 Championship trophy after defeating Rhinos by a single run in a thrilling final that went down to the last delivery at Kwekwe Sports Club on Saturday.

Rhinos won the toss and put Mountaineers in to bat.

Kevin Kasuza, opening the batting, struggled for runs before he was finally caught off the bowling of Mike Chinouya for four, which took him 34 balls and came out of a total of 26.

His partner, Clive Chitumba, made 26 before he was bowled by Carl Mumba to make the score 44 for two.

Then came the partnership that put the team on course for a good total, as PJ Moor joined the Definate Mawadzi at the crease.

They wisely played themselves in and began to dominate the bowling, adding 82 together before Brandon Mavuta, as so often in this tournament, broke the stand by having Moor caught for 44, which came off 42 deliveries.

The captain, Timycen Maruma, came in next and he continued the good work, adding 91 with his young partner before Mawadzi was caught by Mavuta off Mumba for a very praiseworthy innings of 70 – he faced 90 balls and hit three sixes and four fours.

The score was now 217 for four after 41 overs, but Maruma himself went in the next over, bowled by Mavuta, having scored 51 off 45 balls (four sixes, three fours).

Tinashe Muchawaya fell first ball to Mavuta, and Mumba removed Spencer Magodo for one, so from 217 for three the score eight balls later was 219 for seven.

Fortunately for Mountaineers, Donald Tiripano joined Shingi Masakadza and the pair made a fine recovery, batting out the 50 overs together undefeated.

They added 58, both finishing not out with 27, and the final score was 277 for seven, no easy task for Rhinos.

Their best bowlers had been Mumba, with three for 50 in nine overs, and once again Mavuta, three for 34 in 10.

Madziva also did a very economical job, taking no wickets but bowling his nine overs for only 33 runs.

Rhinos made a bad start when Victor Nyauchi had their opening batter, Takudzwanashe Kaitano, caught at the wicket in the first over with only a wide to their score.

Then came a good partnership between Prince Masvaure and Tarisai Musakanda, who put on 71 together in 12 overs, until Musakanda holed out off Muchawaya for 37.

Eddie Byrom quickly fell for four, but Masvaure batted on well until Chitumba had him caught for 43 when the total was 126 for four in the 25th over.

Johnathan Campbell batted well and shared useful stands with Nyasha Mayavo (9) and Tashinga Musekiwa (31), but Rhinos were in trouble when the seventh wicket fell at 209 after 42 overs.

Sixty-nine runs were needed off the last eight overs, with just three wickets left, but Madziva with his skilful batting and Mumba with his big hitting went for the runs and kept within sight of victory.

Twelve runs were needed off the final over, with Tiripano to bowl.

Madziva hit the second ball for six, and off the final delivery two runs were needed to tie and three to win.

Mumba’s big hit again failed, but he got bat to the ball – the batters ran one and came back for the second that would have given them a tie, but the return from Nyauchi was too good and Madziva was run out for a heroic 25.

Mumba was not out with 44 off only 26 deliveries, including three sixes and three fours.

Mountaineers thus won the trophy and did well to keep their heads in that dramatic final over.

Muchawaya was the most successful bowler with two wickets for 33, but Nyauchi was the most economical with one for 39 in nine overs.

*******************************************************

Alliance Health Eagles – 286 all out in 49.4 overs (Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 85, Tadiwanashe Marumani 51, Faraz Akram 34; Nkosana Mpofu 3/40, Panashe Maphosa 2/43, Charlton Tshuma 2/53)

Tuskers – 256 all out in 47.2 overs (Taffy Mupariwa 85, Ainsley Ndlovu 37, Nkosana Mpofu 34; Kadeem Alleyne 4/50, Cunningham Ncube 3/43, Tanaka Chivanga 1/20)

Alliance Health Eagles won by 30 runs

A good all-round performance by Cunningham Ncube was a leading factor in Alliance Health Eagles’ 30-run victory over Tuskers in the Pro50 Championship third-place playoff match at Queens Sports Club on Saturday.

He scored an invaluable 34 with the bat when his team was in difficulty, and was equally well-timed in his bowling with three vital wickets as Tuskers seemed to be on course for victory.

Tuskers put Eagles in to bat on winning the toss, and the prolific opening pair of Nick Welch and Tadiwanashe Marumani went into action.

They made a good stand of 85 in less than 17 overs before they were separated by a run-out, Marumani going just after reaching his fifty – he made 51 off 60 balls, with six fours.

Two overs later Welch was caught and bowled by Nkosana Mpofu for 34, scored off 47 balls, and a small collapse began, as Kudzai Maunze went without scoring, followed by Chamu Chibhabha for two and Kadeem Alleyne for seven.

The Eagles score was now suddenly 100 for five and Tuskers were on top.

They were saved by a superb sixth-wicket partnership between Ncube and Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, who put on 127 runs in 21 overs to swing the balance again.

Ncube made a steady 34, while Kamunhukamwe, batting surprisingly low at number seven, hit out powerfully with five sixes and eight fours, before both were out in quick succession to make the score 230 for seven after 42 overs.

There was life in the Eagles innings still, with Faraz Akram scoring 34 off 26 balls, helped by Tanaka Chivanga with 14, and the innings closed at 286 all out in the 50th over.

Mpofu with three for 40 was the most successful bowler, while there were two wickets each for Charlton Tshuma and Ainsley Ndlovu.

Tuskers for the first 40 overs of their innings looked likely winners.

Tanu Makoni (28) and Mpofu (34) made a good brisk opening partnership of 53 in less than nine overs, and then Taffy Mupariwa batted brilliantly.

He attacked all the bowlers in fine style, and after 40 overs the score was 191 for only two wickets, with Tuskers apparently poised for victory.

Then came a disastrous collapse against the part-time bowling of Ncube and the medium-pace of Alleyne.

Four wickets went down in the space of 13 balls, the last of them being that of Mupariwa, perhaps allowing his concentration to be disturbed.

He was beaten by the spin of Ncube and stumped for 85 as he went down the pitch to him, having faced 100 balls and hit nine fours.

Tuskers were now 204 for six in the 43rd over and the match was transformed.

The only remaining batter to make a stand was Ndlovu, who hit out admirably to score 37 off 23 balls, and was eventually last man out as his partners withered at the other end.

The total was only 256, and there were still 16 balls left when the innings was completed.

Alleyne had taken quite a beating before his burst of wickets, and so had the unusual figures of four for 50 off only 5.2 overs, while Ncube took three wickets for 43 in seven overs.

These were the men who changed the match, although Tuskers have themselves to blame for their collapse after setting themselves up for victory.

Eagles therefore claim third place over Tuskers, who had begun the tournament so well.

Rhinos, Mountaineers to meet in Pro50 Championship final

Rhinos – 214 all out in 47.4 overs (Takudzwanashe Kaitano 93, Brandon Mavuta 36, Neville Madziva 36; Nkosana Mpofu 3/28, Ainsley Ndlovu 2/24, Allan Chigoma 2/37)

Tuskers – 164 all out in 42.3 overs (Brian Chari 61, Ainsley Ndlovu 34, Tanunurwa Makoni 23; Brandon Mavuta 4/29, Johnathan Campbell 2/29, Prince Masvaure 2/38)

Rhinos won by 50 runs

Rhinos sealed their place in the Pro50 Championship final after defeating the early tournament leaders, Tuskers, by 50 runs in their last round-robin match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Sunday.

The main architects of the victory were their opening batter Takudzwanashe Kaitano, without whose 93 runs they would probably not have won, and the leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta, who broke a dangerous partnership and finished off the Tuskers innings.

Tuskers put Rhinos in to bat on winning the toss, and immediately found Kaitano in brilliant batting form.

Prince Masvaure gave him good support as the pair plundered 68 runs off the first eight overs before Masvaure, trying to give his aggressive partner the strike, called for a quick single to extra cover and was run out by Ainsley Ndlovu.

This began a middle-order slide, as Kaitano held firm but his next four partners scored only 11 runs between them so that the fifth wicket fell at 96.

Neville Madziva, as in Friday’s match, stopped the rot and proved a sound partner for Kaitano as he swept towards a century.

Unfortunately, it was not to be, as with 93 to his credit off 102 balls, he miscued a scoop to fine leg and popped a simple catch, having hit two sixes and 12 fours.

The score was then 145 for six wickets in the 34th over, and the innings would have faded away had Mavuta not stood firm with Madziva, the pair adding 56 for the eighth wicket in 11 overs.

Both batters then went for 36, with Madziva, having supported Kaitano well, taking 61 balls without a single boundary, while Mavuta, free to be more aggressive, took only 43.

Rhinos were all out in the 48th over for 214.

The pace bowlers had been ineffective, taking not a wicket between them, but Nkosana Mpofu had figures of three for 28 and there were two wickets each for Ndlovu and Allan Chigoma.

Now Tuskers had their chance to chase down the target in the knowledge that, should they succeed, they would book their place in the Pro50 Championship final.

They began well enough, with a steady opening partnership of 35 in seven overs between Mpofu and Tanu Makoni before Wallace Mubaiwa dismissed Mpofu (19) and James McCollum (4) in quick succession.

Makoni was out for 23, and there continued a steady slide of wickets and of Tuskers’ hopes, until six men were out for 102 after 29 overs.

Brian Chari however was still there, and Ndlovu, nowadays quite an all-round force in his team, joined him to make a determined partnership.

Tuskers’ hopes slowly returned and grew as the runs came, and the fifty partnership was left behind.

But then came the vital blow, struck by Mavuta, whose bowling has been such a match-winning factor for Rhinos in this provincial one-day tournament.

He spun the ball past the groping bat of Ndlovu and had him out lbw for 34, scored off 40 balls, and Tuskers were 161 for seven.

In his next over Mavuta hammered two more nails into Tuskers’ coffin, sending back Ernest Masuku and Sheu Musekwa – 164 for nine.

Chari at the other end had no option now but to hit out with the last man at the crease, and when he did so against Campbell he skyed a big hit to cow corner where, most appropriately, the catch was held by Mavuta.

Tuskers were thus dismissed for 164 runs, with Rhinos sealing victory and a place in the final by 50 runs.

Mavuta completed his 10 overs – so he picked up the final three wickets just in time – and took four for 29, while there were two wickets each for Mubaiwa, Masvaure and Johnathan Campbell.

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Mountaineers – 239 all out in 44.1 overs (Peter Moor 66, Kevin Kasuza 43, Spencer Magodo 29; Tanaka Chivanga 4/35, Tapiwa Mufudza 3/54, Kadeem Alleyne 2/57)

Alliance Health Eagles – 239 all out in 39.4 overs (Kadeem Alleyne 76, Chamu Chibhabha 65, Faraz Akram 13*; Baxon Gopito 3/0, Victor Nyauchi 3/28, Clive Chitumba 2/42)

Match tied 

An amazing hat-trick by a specialist batter Baxon Gopito derailed Alliance Health Eagles when they were on the verge of victory and forced a tie that gave Mountaineers a place in the Pro50 Championship.

Until that point a closely fought match, played at Mutare Sports Club on Sunday, seemed to be going the way of the Harare-based team.

Eagles, successful in the toss, continued their usual policy of putting their opponents in to bat.

Gopito of Mountaineers scored a two off the first delivery, from Tawanda Dzikiti, but was bowled by the second.

Kevin Kasuza played a solid innings and Clive Chitumba (21) put on 47 with him in 10 overs for the second wicket.

There followed the major partnership of the innings, as PJ Moor regained his best form, played himself in carefully and then unleashed his powerful attacking strokes on the bowling.

They put on 79 together in less than 14 overs before Kasuza was bowled by Tanaka Chivanga for a very useful 43, an anchor innings that came off 80 balls.

Timycen Maruma was out for one, and Moor soon followed for 66, caught off Chivanga having faced only 50 balls and hit five sixes and five fours.

With five wickets now down for 148, some of the advantage had been lost, but Spencer Magodo hit well for 29 and Shingi Masakadza again came good with 23, so the total passed 200 with seven wickets down.

Tapiwa Mufudza, tossing the ball up, did a good job in luring the batters to destruction, taking three wickets for 54 runs in his 10 overs.

It was Chivanga who finished off the innings by having Masakadza caught, and his figures were four wickets for only 35 runs, while Kadeem Alleyne took a rather expensive two for 57.

The innings closed at 239, a total that Eagles no doubt felt confident they could chase down.

Their confidence was soon shaken, however, by the early loss of their prolific opening pair, Nick Welch and Tadiwanashe Marumani.

Marumani’s innings was short and sweet, as he slammed two fours and was then caught off Tinashe Muchawaya off the fourth ball he faced.

Welch lasted until the score was 24 in the fourth over, when Nyauchi trapped him lbw, also for eight.

Kudzai Maunze was the next to go, caught off Chitumba for 12 with the score at 51.

Fortunately for Eagles, Chamu Chibhabha was still in fine form after his brilliant innings on Friday, and he soon got after the bowling, supported by the West Indian Alleyne.

They both got right on top of the bowling, boundaries flowing from their bats, and as long as they were together Eagles seemed to be racing to victory.

They added 112 for the fourth wicket in 15 overs before Chitumba returned and had Chibhabha caught for 65, scored off 68 balls, with two sixes and seven fours – the score was 163 for four in the 26th over.

Alleyne was even more aggressive, receiving less of the bowling, but thrashing five sixes and five fours.

The 200 went up with only five men out, but at 205 Alleyne was out lbw to Vincent Masekesa for 76, scored off only 63 balls.

Cunningham Ncube went for eight, but Faraz Akram was batting well with Chivanga as the scores were levelled.

The news had no doubt now reached Mountaineers that Rhinos had won in Bulawayo and therefore claimed the Pro50 trophy.

At this point Mountaineers threw the ball to Gopito, who is a non-bowler at provincial level.

There followed the greatest surprise of the match, and some might say the whole tournament.

Chivanga did not score off Gopito’s first ball, but he hit a catch off the second.

From the third Mufudza popped a return catch to the bowler, who promptly bowled Dzikiti with his fourth.

Gopito had taken a hat-trick and the match was a tie!

His remarkable bowling figures therefore were 0.4 overs for no runs and three wickets.

Of the other bowlers Nyauchi had bowled well to take three wickets for 28 in 10 overs, escaping punishment from Chibhabha and Alleyne, while Chitumba had two for 42.

Mountaineers finished second behind Rhinos and the two sides will now meet in the Pro50 Championship final pencilled in for Saturday.

2022/23 PRO50 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLE

TEAM

M

W

L

T

N/R

PT

NRR

Rhinos

8

5

2

1

0

55

0.269

Mountaineers

8

4

2

2

0

49

-0.070

Tuskers

8

4

4

0

0

40

-0.105

Eagles

8

3

4

1

0

35

0.244

Rocks

8

2

6

0

0

20

-0.374

Rhinos topple Tuskers, as Eagles fall despite Chibhabha’s big ton

Tuskers – 167 all out in 47.2 overs (Nkosana Mpofu 51, Ainsley Ndlovu 32, Alvin Chiradza 20; Johnathan Campbell 4/40, Michael Chinouya 1/15, Prince Masvaure 1/20)

Rhinos – 168-6 in 40.5 overs (Eddie Byrom 71*, Takudzwanashe Kaitano 22, Neville Madziva 22*; Shane Getkate 2/33, Ainsley Ndlovu 2/34)

Rhinos won by four wickets

A fine fighting innings by Eddie Byrom saw Rhinos through a difficult run-chase to record a tense four-wicket win over Tuskers at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Friday.

This victory has taken Rhinos ahead of Tuskers to top the Pro50 Championship table after seven matches each.

Tuskers were put in to bat and their innings never really looked like prospering as they struggled all the way.

Their Irish professional James McCollum, who opened their batting with Nkosana Mpofu, was caught at the wicket in the second over off the bowling of Neville Madziva without scoring.

Taffy Mupariwa and Brian Chari both struggled for runs, scoring three and eight respectively.

Shane Getkate was more fluent but did not last long, quickly falling lbw to Brandon Mavuta when he came on to bowl for 14, which made them 69 for four in the 21st over.

Mpofu was batting steadily and well, though, and a good partnership looked to be developing between him and Alvin Chiradza.

However, Johnathan Campbell came on to dismiss them both.

Mpofu made a good 51 off 83 balls, while Chiradza, out at 116 for five, scored 20 off 37.

Of the later batters, only Ainsley Ndlovu made much of a contribution, and his was the most aggressive innings of the day, 32 off 40 balls before Campbell removed him too.

The innings steadily declined until Tuskers were all out in the 48th over for a total of 167.

Campbell in his 10 overs took four wickets for 40 runs, while five other bowlers took one wicket each.

Mike Chinouya’s figures were the most economical, one for 15 off six overs.

Tuskers fought hard to preserve their position at the top of the table.

Rhinos began their chase quite well as Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Prince Masvaure put on 34 for the first wicket.

The first two wickets actually fell through run-outs by Mpofu, first Kaitano for 22 and then Kiran Carlson for four.

When Masvaure, who played an anchor role, was bowled by Ndlovu for a cautious 18 off 53 balls, Rhinos were still quite well placed at 86 for three.

But the middle order started to slide, as Getkate removed Campbell for four and Nyasha Mayavo for six, while Ndlovu bowled out Tashinga Musekiwa for 4.

Rhinos were in trouble at 106 for six, but Byrom was still there, playing superbly.

At last he found a man to stay with him in Madziva, and they always had overs in hand, so the scoring rate never put pressure on them.

Runs came steadily and despite all the efforts of the Tuskers players they batted through 17 overs between them to complete a fine victory for Rhinos that took them to the top of the table.

Byrom’s 71 came off 92 balls, and he hit three sixes and six fours, while Madziva finished with 22 off 47 balls, a superb supporting innings.

Only four wickets fell to the bowlers, with Ndlovu taking two for 34 and Getkate two for 33.

*******************************************

Alliance Health Eagles – 322-6 in 50 overs (Chamu Chibhabha 155*, Cunningham Ncube 50, Nick Welch 40; Shingi Masakadza 2/39, Victor Nyauchi 2/78, Vincent Masekesa 1/46)

Mountaineers – 307-8 in 45.1 overs (Spencer Magodo 93, Shingi Masakadza 64*, Donald Tiripano 37; Faraz Akram 5/58, Tawanda Dzikiti 2/30, Kadeem Alleyne 1/86)

Mountaineers won by 15 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method)

An amazing eighth-wicket partnership of 112 between Spencer Magodo and Shingi Masakadza turned a Pro50 Championship match that had until then looked like a dead duck into a magnificent 15-run victory, according to Duckworth-Lewis, for Mountaineers over Alliance Health Eagles at Mutare Sports Club on Friday.

After a brilliant century from Chamu Chibhabha in the morning made Eagles, the loss of their first five wickets for 59 in reply seemed to point to an overwhelming victory for the visitors – until Magodo and Masakadza turned the tables when all seemed lost.

Mountaineers must have soon regretted their decision to put Eagles in to bat.

The visitors were given a brisk start by Nick Welch and Tadiwanashe Marumani, who put on 38 for the first wicket before Marumani in the seventh over was caught at the wicket off Victor Nyauchi, having scored 24 off 19 balls.

Kudzai Maunze was out for 13 with the score at 56 in the 11th over, which brought Chibhabha to the wicket.

Welch kept him company until going out for 40, at 94 for three, while Marshall Takodza made seven before departing.

Then came the partnership that stabilised the innings, as Cunningham Ncube joined Chibhabha at the wicket and the pair proceeded to hammer the bowling, adding 158 together in 23 overs.

Chibhabha played steadily to reach 50 off 73 balls, but then began to open up, at one stage hitting the occasional bowling of Kevin Kasuza for a four and two sixes off successive deliveries to reach 80.

He approached his first century in provincial cricket since April 2018 cautiously, and reached it neatly enough off 100 balls in the 46th over.

He then hit at everything, with Nyauchi in particular bearing the full fury of his assault.

In Nyauchi’s ninth over he hit him for two sixes and a four off successive deliveries, and his final over cost 28 runs, including two no-balls – Chibhabha scored the rest, including three sixes and a four.

In the meantime, Nyauchi had bowled Ncube for an invaluable 50 off 72 balls, Donald Tiripano bowled Kadeem Alleyne for 12 and the final total was a huge 322 for six wickets.

Nyauchi’s final figures were two for 78 off 10 overs, while Shingi Masakadza, who did not have to bowl to Chibhabha after his century, took two for 39 in eight overs.

Mountaineers were soon in trouble when they responded, losing Baxton Gopito for seven.

When Faraz Akram dismissed Joylord Gumbie (7) and PJ Moor first ball they were three wickets down for 24 in the fifth over.

Then Kasuza (21) and Timycen Maruma (11) went in quick succession, making it 59 for five in the ninth over.

Magodo kept up the attack, while Tiripano gave him good support with 37 off 56 balls, before he was out at 137 for six.

Tinashe Muchawaya also hit out to make 29 off 27 balls before he was out at 194 for seven, a scoring rate of almost six an over.

Until now probably nobody had doubted that, despite their attacking spirit, Mountaineers would lose the match, but the eighth wicket changed that idea.

That great fighter, Masakadza, now joined Magodo, and the pair went after the bowling hammer and tongs.

To their alarm the Eagles bowlers found they could not separate them, and runs came at a faster rate than ever.

They soon passed 200 and raced on towards 300, setting Eagles right back on their heels.

The 300 was passed, and then finally Akram, who had been kept back for the death bowling, returned and in his final over had Magodo caught by Alleyne to break the stand at 306 in the 45th over.

They had added 112 for the eighth wicket in just 11 overs and turned the match on its head.

Magodo, who richly deserved a century, was out for 93 off 96 balls, with two sixes and nine fours.

Nyauchi joined Masakadza, but a few balls later the light became so bad that the umpires took the players from the field and the match had to be decided by Duckworth-Lewis – which awarded victory to the gallant Mountaineers team.

Masakadza finished with 64 not out off only 45 balls, with three sixes and six fours.

Akram’s superb bowling brought him five wickets for 58 runs, while his new-ball partner Tawanda Dzikiti, who only bowled four overs, took two for 30.

2022/23 PRO50 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLE

TEAM

M

W

L

T

N/R

PT

NRR

Rhinos

7

4

2

1

0

45

0.157

Mountaineers

7

4

2

1

0

45

-0.081

Tuskers

7

4

3

0

0

40

0.028

Eagles

7

3

4

0

0

30

0.284

Rocks

8

2

6

0

0

20

-0.374

Mavuta’s seven-wicket haul in vain as Eagles win rain-hit game

Alliance Health Eagles – 211 all out in 45.1 overs (Tadiwanashe Marumani 79, Faraz Akram 40, Tapiwa Mufudza 26; Brandon Mavuta 7/41, Johnathan Campbell 1/22, Carl Mumba 1/32)

Rhinos – 95-5 in 23.3 overs (Takudzwanashe Kaitano 20, Prince Masvaure 19, Johnathan Campbell 15; Tapiwa Mufudza 3/18, Kadeem Alleyne 1/3, Tanaka Chivanga 1/31)

Alliance Health Eagles won by 21 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method)

Tadiwanashe Marumani (79 runs) and Tapiwa Mufudza (three wickets) were the key players for Alliance Health Eagles as they turned the tables on Rhinos at Kwekwe Sports Club on Monday, winning the return Pro50 Championship match between the teams by 21 runs on Duckworth-Lewis.

This was despite a brilliant bowling performance from Brandon Mavuta, who took seven good wickets for Rhinos.

Eagles, put in to bat, had a very patchy innings.

They enjoyed a brisk but brief opening partnership of 32 until in the sixth over Nick Welch (13) drove a catch to Takudzwanashe Kaitano at mid-off from Carl Mumba’s bowling.

His partner Marumani was a superb form, though, and as long as he was in a succession of failures by his partners was not as serious as it might have been.

He alone could handle the fine leg-spin bowling of Mavuta, who picked off his partners one by one at regular intervals.

Kudzai Maunze was caught at point by Mike Chinouya off Mavuta for two, while Chamu Chibhabha was beaten by the spin and stumped for six.

Six wickets were down for 117, but just as Faraz Akram arrived at the crease and began batting with more determination, Marumani tried a reverse sweep off Mavuta and popped a simple catch to Mumba at point.

He scored 79 off only 62 balls, with four sixes and nine fours.

Akram built a sturdy innings while Tanaka Chivanga became Mavuta’s final victim at 141 for eight before his overs expired.

With Mavuta now out of the picture, Mufudza could settle in and build the largest partnership of the innings, 61 for the ninth wicket with Akram.

Even so, they were unable to use up the full 50 overs, as at 202 Akram was caught at long-on off Johnathan Campbell’s bowling for 40, off 71 balls.

Mufudza was last out, run out for 26, and the final total was 211, scored off 45.1 overs.

Mavuta quite dominated the bowling, taking seven wickets for 41 runs.

The pitch continued to help the spinners, as Mufudza had a big part to play in Rhinos’ reply.

They began well, with Kaitano scoring 20 and Prince Masvaure 19 as they put up an opening partnership of 39.

But when Masvaure was out the score was 60 for four in the 19th over.

Campbell hit a quick 15, while Nyasha Mayavo batted more cautiously and was 13 not out when lightning persuaded the umpires to take the players from the field at 95 for five in the 24th over.

Rain brought the match to an end at that point without resumption, and it was clear that at this point in time Rhinos were at a considerable disadvantage.

Mufudza was mainly responsible for the trouble with three for 18 in eight overs.

Duckworth-Lewis was brought into operation, and the result was that Eagles were declared winners by 21 runs.

**********************************************

Mountaineers – 239 all out in 38.1 overs (Shingi Masakadza 49, Spencer Magodo 46, Tinashe Muchawaya 32; Nigel Mupurura 4/47, Sydney Murombo 2/41, William Mashinge 2/42)

Southern Rocks – 119-9 in 20.5 overs (Roy Kaia 34, Blessed Muzite 31, Cephas Zhuwao 14; Vincent Masekesa 3/21, Victor Nyauchi 2/24, Donald Tiripano 1/12) 

Mountaineers won by 52 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method)

A blistering innings of 49 by Shingi Masakadza was at the head of a fine revival by Mountaineers which led to a Duckworth-Lewis victory over Southern Rocks in a Pro50 Championship match at Mutare Sports Club on Monday.

After a late start due to overnight rain, Rocks put Mountaineers in to bat and soon had them in trouble.

Within three overs both openers, Kevin Kasuza and Clive Chitumba, were out for a single apiece, with the score two for two.

Joylord Gumbie, playing cautiously, made nine before he was bowled by Nigel Mupurura, while a more aggressive PJ Moor perished the same way for 25, making the score 41 for four wickets.

There followed a determined partnership of 57 between Timycen Maruma, who was out for 30, and Spencer Magodo, with 46.

The middle order scored well and aggressively, but lacked one player to break through and make the big score they really needed.

Donald Tiripano scored 36, while Tinashe Muchawaya got 32 off only 23 balls, with four sixes.

The most spectacular batting, though, came from Masakadza at number nine, whose powerful hitting brought him 49 off only 25 balls, with five sixes and two fours.

The whole innings was very entertaining, with 239 runs being scored, all out, off only 38.1 overs.

Mupurura was the most successful bowler with four wickets for 47 runs, while there were two each for Sydney Murombo and William Mashinge.

Rain meant that the target for Rocks was adjusted, setting them 185 to win in 26 overs.

This time round it was not Zhuwao’s day, although he hit three fours and raced to 14 off seven balls, but was then caught by Maruma off Victor Nyauchi – 23 for one in the third over.

Most of his team-mates tried to emulate his hitting, though with unfortunate results, as the fourth wicket fell for 44 in only the seventh over: Ben Curran eight, Brian Mudzinganyama 11 and Tafadzwa Tsiga three.

Blessed Muzite and Roy Kaia then put on a stand, and at 98 in the 15th over Muzite was bowled by Tiripano for 31 off 34 balls.

William Mashinge and Tendai Chisoro soon followed without scoring, out to successive deliveries from Vincent Masekesa, and Rocks stumbled to 99 for seven – still only in the 16th over.

Kaia was still there, batting well, and he tried to hit out as the tail collapsed about him, but he was eventually caught by Moor off Masekesa for 34, scored off 37 balls, the next ball after the run-out of Mutsamba.

At 119 for nine in 20.5 overs, the umpires took the players from the field due to bad light and Mountaineers were declared the winners by 52 runs.

Masekesa bowled well to take three wickets for 21 runs in his five overs, while Nyauchi had two for 24.

2022/23 PRO50 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLE

TEAM

M

W

L

T

N/R

PT

NRR

Tuskers

6

4

2

0

0

40

0.181

Mountaineers

6

3

2

1

0

35

-0.111

Rhinos

6

3

2

1

0

35

-0.239

Eagles

6

3

3

0

0

30

0.600

Rocks

8

2

6

0

0

20

-0.401

Rhinos pip Eagles, Rocks clobber Mountaineers

Rhinos – 220 all out in 45.3 overs (Johnathan Campbell 51, Tashinga Musekiwa 37, Takudzwanashe Kaitano 36; Tanaka Chivanga 6/31, Kadeem Alleyne 2/61, Tawanda Dzikiti 1/35)

Alliance Health Eagles – 210 all out in 47.3 overs (Nick Welch 91, Tadiwanashe Marumani 29, Hamid Ali 18; Johnathan Campbell 5/28, Michael Chinouya 2/59, Neville Madziva 1/18)

Rhinos won by 10 runs

Despite a brilliant six-wicket haul by Tanaka Chivanga and an outstanding innings of 91 from Nick Welch, Alliance Health Eagles still went down to Rhinos by 10 runs in a Pro50 Championship match at Kwekwe Sports Club on Saturday.

Rhinos struggled for most of their innings after being put in to bat.

Their brightest period was at the start, when an aggressive Takudzwanashe Kaitano and a cautious Prince Masvaure put on 46 for the first wicket in less than 10 overs.

Then Kaitano became the first of four wickets to fall quite quickly after he was caught in the covers off Faraz Akram for 36 off 33 balls.

Masvaure soon followed for 11 off 32 in contrast, and was quickly followed by Glamorgan professional Kiran Carlson for nine and Nyasha Mayavo for four, to make the score 79 for four in the 17th over.

All three fell to the pace of Chivanga, who was having a golden spell with the ball.

Tarisai Musakanda played a steady game for a while to try to repair the damage, but in the end he skyed a catch to deep backward point off the West Indian pace bowler Kadeem Alleyne for 23, to make the score 92 for five in the 20th over.

Recovery was on its way, though, in the form of Campbell and Neville Madziva, who put their heads down and worked hard to add 58 runs for the sixth wicket.

Chivanga then returned to trap Madziva lbw for 29, scored off 48 balls, but Tashinga Musekiwa stayed in with Campbell until the latter reached his fifty and then skyed a catch to midwicket at 185 for seven.

He was to be the Rhinos’ highest scorer with 51 off 71 balls.

The later batters did not have much to offer, but Musekiwa took the score past 200 before Chivanga returned for his final spell.

In successive deliveries he had Musekiwa caught at the wicket off an intended pull for 37 off 37 balls and then removed the last man, Michael Chinouya, to bring the innings to a close for 220, with four overs and three balls left unbowled.

Chivanga finished with the fine figures of six wickets for 81 runs in 8.3 overs, while Alleyne took two wickets but was expensive, conceding 61 runs from his eight overs.

Eagles had none too difficult a target to chase, and they opened their batting with Welch and Tadiwanashe Marumani.

These two laid into the opening attack of Carl Mumba and Chinouya with great vigour, racing to 65 in seven overs before Chinouya broke the stand by having Marumani caught at the wicket for 29, scored off only 18 balls.

Welch continued to bat in fine form, but had difficulty in finding a partner to stay with him, as Kudzai Maunze went for six and Chamu Chibhabha for five.

Hamid Ali scored 18, taking the score to 110 before he was out.

Alleyne was sixth to go at 135, followed by Akram (4) at 152, with Campbell playing the role of demon bowler.

The tail was now exposed, but Welch was still there, seemingly Eagles’ only hope now of achieving the victory that had looked reasonably certain earlier.

Chivanga proved to be a stubborn partner, holding his end up for eight overs and scoring useful runs as well, before he swept at a straight ball from Campbell and was bowled for 14 – 185 for eight, with Welch now on 91.

But that was where it ended, as in the next over Masvaure bowled him out for that score with an inswinger, and it was game over for Eagles.

Welch had batted superbly for his 91, scored off 106 balls and containing two sixes and eight fours.

The last pair of Tapiwa Mufudza and Tawanda Dzikiti had 30 runs to make to win in 10 overs, and they put up a great fight, scoring 20 of them until, with 15 balls in hand and just when it looked possible that they might pull off the task after all, the innings came to an end at 210.

Mufudza, anxious to score a rare four, slogged a ball from Madziva to leg, but could only give Carlson a straightforward catch.

He had made nine and Dzikiti 10 not out.

Campbell finished with the excellent figures of five for 28 off his 10 overs, while Chinouya had two for 59.

*********************************************

Southern Rocks – 304-7 in 50 overs (Richmond Mutumbami 73, Tafadzwa Tsiga 67, Cephas Zhuwao 54; Shingi Masakadza 3/44, Donald Tiripano 2/56, Clive Chitumba 1/29)

Mountaineers – 148 all out in 30 overs (Joylord Gumbie 40, Kevin Kasuza 32*, Tinashe Muchawaya 27; Sydney Murombo 3/25, William Mashinge 3/41, Tendai Chisoro 2/47)

Southern Rocks won by 156 runs

A typical rollicking innings from Cephas Zhuwao and a remarkable opening bowling spell from Sydney Murombo were the main features of Southern Rocks’ fine victory by 156 runs over Mountaineers in the Pro50 Championship at Mutare Sports Club on Saturday.

Rocks, bottom of the standings, put Mountaineers in to bat on winning the toss.

Ben Curran made 10 off 31 balls, but Zhuwao made up for this at the other end with another blistering innings, racing to 54 off 32 balls.

He hit a six and 10 fours, but was then caught at the wicket off Donald Tiripano, with the score 97 for two wickets, a fine start.

Brian Mudzinganyama quickly followed him the same way for 23, but then came the match-winning partnership that Rocks needed.

Richmond Mutumbami and Tafadzwa Tsiga came together and with fine batting put on 104 runs for the fourth wicket in only 19 overs.

Tsiga, the more aggressive of the two, scored 67 off 55 balls, with four sixes and four fours, taking the score to 202 before he was bowled by Clive Chitumba in the 37th over.

Mutumbami now took over the role of main scorer, helped by Blessed Muzite with 14, and batted on until he lost his wicket to Shingi Masakadza for 74 (97 balls, eight fours) in the final race for runs in the death overs.

The score was then 268 for seven, but in the 3.3 overs that remained Tendai Chisoro hit out brilliantly and made 27 not out off 15 balls, helped by 11 not out from Travor Mutsamba.

This last burst took the score to 304 for seven wickets, a fine total.

Masakadza did the best work with the ball, taking three wickets for 44 runs, while Tiripano had two for 56.

Credit should also go to Victor Nyauchi, who opened the bowling to Zhuwao, and yet still managed to emerge with the most economical figures, one for 35 off eight overs.

A devastating opening spell by Murombo quickly ensured that Mountaineers would have no chance of challenging their big total.

In his first two overs he picked up three wickets for five runs, three of them wides – Chitumba bowled, PJ Moor lbw and Timycen Maruma bowled, all without scoring.

Shortly afterwards Mutsamba had Spencer Magodo caught at the wicket and Mountaineers were shattered on 17 for four wickets, all four batters out failing to score.

Joylord Gumbie was playing a fighting innings at the other end, though, and Tiripano now came in to help him.

They took the score to 58 in the 14th over before Tiripano fell lbw to William Mashinge for 16, bringing in Kevin Kasuza, batting at number seven.

At 78, Gumbie’s courageous innings of 40 came to an end, caught by Curran off Mashinge after facing 56 balls.

This started a minor collapse, as in the next two overs both Masakadza and Nyauchi went without scoring, leaving the Mountaineers innings in tatters at 80 for eight wickets.

They still had some fight left, though, as Kasuza batted well and Muchawaya hit out boldly to score 27 off 18 balls, including three sixes and a four.

Masekesa as last man made seven, but there the innings closed at 148 after only 30 overs, with Kasuza not out with 32.

All five bowlers used took one or more wickets, with Murombo earning the reward of three for 25, while Mashinge took three for 41 and Chisoro two for 47.

Rocks after a disastrous start to the tournament can now celebrate their second victory in seven matches, by the large and encouraging margin of 156 runs.

2022/23 PRO50 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLE

TEAM

M

W

L

T

N/R

PT

NRR

Tuskers

6

4

2

0

0

40

0.181

Rhinos

5

3

1

1

0

35

0.103

Mountaineers

5

2

2

1

0

25

-0.395

Eagles

5

2

3

0

0

20

0.324

Rocks

7

2

5

0

0

20

-0.234

Marumani, Welch give Eagles wings despite falling just short of tons

Alliance Health Eagles – 315 all out in 49.5 overs (Tadiwanashe Marumani 98, Nick Welch 90, Kudzai Maunze 35; Sydney Murombo 3/48, Cephas Zhuwao 3/57, Cuthbert Musoko 2/39)

Southern Rocks – 241 all out in 48.1 overs (Tafadzwa Tsiga 57, William Mashinge 51, Richmond Mutumbami 39; Tawanda Dzikiti 5/67, Tanaka Chivanga 3/24, Marshal Takodza 1/35)

Alliance Health Eagles won by 74 runs

A dynamic opening partnership of 180 off 29 overs by Tadiwanashe Marumani and Nick Welch gave Alliance Health Eagles such a wonderful send-off in their Pro50 Championship match against Southern Rocks in Masvingo on Thursday that they were able to overwhelm the home side by 75 runs.

Rocks on winning the toss put Eagles in to bat, and soon had good reason to regret it.

Welch returned from Northamptonshire in England to open the innings with Marumani, and the pair put the Rocks bowling to the sword.

After 10 overs they had 44 runs on the board, and put up the 100 without loss in the 19th, with the batters running neck and neck.

Marumani reached his 50 off 56 balls, and later that same over Welch joined him after facing 57.

As they entered the sixties Marumani began to pull in front, racing towards three figures, but unfortunately he reached 98 and was then caught off the bowling of Cephas Zhuwao, having scored his runs off 96 balls with three sixes and 10 fours.

This magnificent partnership had put on 180 runs in almost 29 overs, and Welch at this stage had 71.

Welch soon followed, also caught off Zhuwao for 90 at 215 for two – 100 balls with a six and 10 fours – so it was disappointing that neither of these batters reached the centuries they deserved.

In the effort to score quickly, Chamu Chibhabha was out for six, also to Zhuwao, and Marshal Takodza for one, so at 233 for four Eagles now had to take care their batting did not implode.

Kudzai Maunze played well for 35 off 30 balls, and the middle order scored usefully, Hamid Ali making 26 and Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 15 off only 10 balls.

Wickets fell quickly at the death in the final push for runs, but Faraz Akram played some superb shots, scoring 25 off 14 balls with a six and three fours.

Eagles were unfortunate that he didn’t get to face the final over, when Sydney Murombo finished off the innings in five balls for no runs, giving an all-out total of 315.

Murombo took three for 48, but pride of place should go to Zhuwao, who put an end to the early run rampage with his three valuable wickets for 57 runs.

There were also two late wickets for Cuthbert Musoko for 48 runs.

For Rocks, a difficult task became virtually hopeless when the third over of the innings, bowled by Tawanda Dzikiti, saw the dismissals of Zhuwao (2) and Ben Curran first ball, both caught by Maunze, making the score 12 for two.

At 35, Brian Mudzinganyama became Dzikiti’s third victim when he was caught by Tapiwa Mufudza for 20.

After that Rocks seemed to accept that victory was out of the question and settled in to build themselves at least a respectable score.

There were fluent fifties from Tafadzwa Tsiga, 57 off 74 balls, and William Mashinge, 61 off 62 balls, while Richmond Mutumbami, unexpectedly coming in low at number seven, scored 39 off 40 balls.

Just before Tsiga was out the score was 150 for three, with Blessing Muzite having temporarily retired hurt, but with 15 overs left to score 166 runs obviously no run chase could be attempted.

Muzite returned and made some runs with the aggressive Musoko (15 off eight balls), but both were out together as the last three wickets all went down for one run, leaving Rocks all out for 241.

Dzikiti finished with five wickets for 67 in 8.1 overs, a fine performance if rather expensive, and Chivanga, who took two of the last three wickets, three for 24 off eight overs.

****************************************

Mountaineers – 205 all out in 44.2 overs (PJ Moor 67, Tinashe Muchawaya 35, Victor Nyauchi 24*; Ernest Masuku 5/38, Ainsley Ndlovu 2/41, Shane Getkate 1/19)

Tuskers – 179 all out in 32.3 overs (Ainsley Ndlovu 42, Ernest Masuku 30, Tanunurwa Makoni 17; Tinashe Muchawaya 4/54, Shingi Masakadza 3/27, Donald Tiripano 1/18)

Mountaineers won by 26 runs

An outstanding innings of 67 from PJ Moor was in the end the main factor in a fine victory by 16 runs for Mountaineers, who inflicted the first defeat in the Pro50 Championship this season on Tuskers by 26 runs at Mutare Sports Club on Friday.

Moor was the only recognised batter to make a score for Mountaineers that proved to be a match-winner as Tuskers put in a very poor show in chasing what should have been a rather straightforward target of 204 to win.

The Mountaineers innings never really took off from the start.

They opened with Kevin Kasuza and Clive Chitumba, who put on 15 runs together before in the fourth over Chitumba was run out by Ainsley Ndlovu for eight.

This brought in Moor, but he soon lost Kasuza, who was caught off Ernest Masuku for six at 22 for two.

In his next over Masuku had Timycen Maruma caught at the wicket for five – 29 for three.

Moor faced 16 balls, off which he scored only a single, but he suddenly opened up and hit Sheu Musekwa for two successive sixes.

Spencer Magodo began positively, making 14 off 11 balls, before he drove a catch to extra cover to make the score 60 for four.

Donald Tiripano batted quite carefully to score 13 off 28 balls before he was out to a return catch by Ndlovu, who also dismissed Shingi Masakadza for eight.

The score was now 111 for six and only Moor of the recognised batters remained, selecting his strokes well and hitting hard when he got the chance.

Victor Nyauchi came in next and wisely played a defensive game, but Moor became rather bogged down after reaching a fine fifty off 62 balls.

He was finally given out lbw to Nkosana Mpofu for 67 off 80 balls, having done an excellent job in keeping the Mountaineers innings afloat – the score was now 140 for seven after 34 overs.

The innings received new life, however, from Tinashe Muchawaya, who realised that nothing could be gained from defensive play and hit out boldly, striking Ndlovu for a four and two sixes in four deliveries.

He raced to 35 off 19 balls before he was well caught by Brian Chari at midwicket off Masuku, the score now being 191 for eight in the 39th over.

Masuku then had Vincent Masekesa and John Masara caught at the wicket for one and seven respectively to end the innings for 205 in the 45th over, with Nyauchi not out with 24.

He finished with the fine figures of five wickets for 38 runs in 8.2 overs.

Ndlovu was the best of the other bowlers with two for 41.

Tuskers had what looked like a fairly easy target, especially for a team with four wins out of four, but they soon found themselves in trouble.

No great haste was necessary, but Mpofu (6) and Tanu Makoni (17) were both out trying to hit aerial shots and instead giving catches.

Two wickets fell in the eighth over, as first Taffy Mupariwa (11) edged a catch to the keeper in trying to drive an overpitched ball outside the off stump, and then Shane Getkate (4), attempting to flick a ball to leg, lobbed a catch to midwicket.

The score was now 46 for four, and Muchawaya had the remarkable figures of four for 26 off four overs.

Chari (7) and Alvin Chiradza did not last long and Tuskers were deep in trouble with six men out for 73 runs.

Ndlovu hit out boldly and with more discrimination than his predecessors as he scored 42 runs off 42 balls, with Masuku now giving him good support.

He was out at 145 for seven in the 25th over and Tuskers were not out of it yet as Tanatswa Bechani played a solid role while Masuku now took the lead.

They managed to make the score 173 for seven, with 28 added and 34 still needed.

Then came the crucial blow, as Masuku lost his judgment and aimed a wild swing at a ball from Masekesa, to be bowled for 30.

It took Masakadza three balls in his next over to finish the match as he removed Musekiwa for four and Charlton Tshuma without scoring, leaving Bechani not out with a well-played 17.

The total was 179 and Tuskers had fought back hard, but could not quite make up for the overconfidence of their top order.

Muchawaya’s figures were now four for 54 off seven overs, which were rather fortuitous, but did the job, while Masakadza had three for 27.

2022/23 PRO50 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLE

TEAM

M

W

L

T

N/R

PT

NRR

Tuskers

5

4

1

0

0

40

0.438

Rhinos

4

2

1

1

0

25

0.078

Mountaineers

3

1

1

1

0

15

0.047

Eagles

3

1

2

0

0

10

0.107

Rocks

5

1

4

0

0

10

-0.642

Mavuta bamboozles Mountaineers as Getkate inspires Tuskers

Mountaineers – 197 all out in 45 overs (Kevin Kasuza 70, Shingi Masakadza 26, Victor Nyauchi 26; Brandon Mavuta 6/43, Mike Chinouya 3/41, Tashinga Musekiwa 1/34)

Rhinos – 198-6 in 45.5 overs (Charles Kunje 62, Johnathan Campbell 54, Takudzwanashe Kaitano 38; Vincent Masekesa 4/31, Donald Tiripano 1/34, Victor Nyauchi 1/35)

Rhinos won by four wickets

A brilliant spell of leg-spin bowling from Brandon Mavuta broke the back of the Mountaineers innings in a Pro50 Championship match at Kwekwe Sports Club on Sunday, resulting in a fine victory for Rhinos by four wickets after the first meeting between the sides on Friday had finished as a tie.

Rhinos put Mountaineers in to bat on winning the toss and at first it did not seem to have worked out well for them.

Clive Chitumba opened the batting with Kevin Kasuza and the pair put on a brisk 32 in seven overs before Mike Chinouya took the first wicket, having Chitumba caught by Mavuta at midwicket off a mishit for 12.

There followed the best batting of the innings, as Kasuza quite dominated the bowling.

PJ Moor played a useful supporting role, scoring 17 of a partnership of 54 before being well caught by Takudzwanashe Kaitano at point off Tashinga Musekiwa – 86 for two in the 21st over.

Then Mavuta wreaked havoc in the middle order, taking five wickets in six overs, including those of Timycen Maruma and Donald Tiripano, both without scoring.

When he had Kasuza caught at the wicket for a superb 70, scored off 98 balls with a six and six fours, Mountaineers had slumped to 131 for seven wickets after 32 overs.

Shingi Masakadza tried to repair the damage with some big hitting, scoring 26 off 18 balls, including two successive sixes off Johnathan Campbell, before he became Mavuta’s sixth victim, slicing a cut to be caught by Chinouya.

Mavuta now had the remarkable figures of six for 20 off seven overs, but now he seemed to lose his magic, as Victor Nyauchi and Vincent Masekesa hit out fearlessly, spoiling his figures so that he finished with six for 43 off 10 overs.

The pair added an invaluable 49 in 11 overs before Chinouya returned and produced two good straight balls to bowl out Nyauchi and the last man, Fortune Mhlanga, with successive deliveries.

Nyauchi made 26 and Masekesa 23 not out off only 25 balls, the final total being 197 off 45 overs.

While Mavuta was the outstanding bowler, Chinouya finished with three wickets for 41 in eight overs.

In reply Rhinos lost their captain, Prince Masvaure, for six, caught by Maruma at second slip off a swinging ball from Nyauchi – 29 for one.

His partner, Kaitano, was hitting the ball well, but Charles Kunje batted even better, and the pair took the score to exactly 100 before the next wicket fell, Kaitano being stumped off Masekesa for 38, scored off 49 balls.

Briefly, Mountaineers had a ray of hope, as Masekesa also took a wicket in both his next two overs, to dismiss Tarisai Musakanda for nine and Nyasha Mayavo for three, both caught by the wicket-keeper Spencer Magodo, making the score 108 for four.

But Campbell stopped the rot with Kunje, and they took the score to 148 before Kunje was fifth out, another caught at the wicket, for a fine 62 off 88 balls – he hit a six and six fours.

Mountaineers fought back with another wicket, as Neville Madziva became Magodo’s fifth victim of the innings, stumped off Masekesa for six.

With the score now 165 for six, Mountaineers were very much in the game still, but Campbell played with a cool head and Musekiwa was quite up to the task as he came in next.

In just five more overs the pair had polished off the remaining runs and taken Rhinos home to a good victory with four overs and a ball to spare.

Campbell made 54 not out off 78 balls with five fours, while Musekiwa made 12 not out off 10.

Masekesa was much the best bowler with his leg-breaks, taking four wickets for 31 runs in his 10 overs.

******************************************

Tuskers – 278-9 in 50 overs (Shane Getkate 120, Brian Chari 67, Tanatswa Bechani 38; Tendai Chisoro 2/37, Cuthbert Musoko 2/37, Sydney Murombo 2/38)

Southern Rocks – 274 all out in 48.4 overs (Brian Mudzinganyama 62, Cephas Zhuwao 35, Tafadzwa Tsiga 34; Nkosana Mpofu 5/47, Tanatswa Bechani 1/27, Charlton Tshuma 1/31)

Tuskers won by four runs

A brilliant century from Irish international batter Shane Getkate enabled Tuskers to extend their winning record to four matches out of four in the Pro50 Championship at Bulawayo Athletic Club on Sunday.

Southern Rocks put up a spirited fight, but in an exciting finish the home side again triumphed, this time by the narrow margin of four runs.

Tuskers chose to bat on winning the toss, and no doubt soon wondered if they had made a serious mistake.

Inside four overs they had lost their top three batters for just 16 runs – Tanu Makoni scored 14 of them, while Nkosana Mpofu went for one and Taffy Mupariwa without scoring, these two dismissed in three balls by Cuthbert Musoko.

But then came the partnership that saved their innings, as Getkate joined Brian Chari at the wicket and the pair turned things around.

In only 26 overs the pair so dominated the bowling that they put on 152 runs for the fourth wicket before Chari was caught in the deep off a lofted drive by Cephas Zhuwao, the bowler being Dylan Hondo.

Getkate swept past his century while wickets fell at the other end.

When he was finally dismissed, lbw to Tendai Chisoro at 235 for eight in the 45th over, he had scored 120 runs off 116 balls, and hit a six and 16 fours.

Tanatswa Bechani at number nine took over the final few overs and hit up a valuable 38 before being out two balls from the end.

Tuskers finished on 278 for nine wickets, with two wickets each for Musoko, Sydney Murombo, Chisoro and Hondo.

Mudzinganyama was in brilliant form as he unleashed a series of dazzling strokes against the pace bowling of Masuku and Charlton Tshuma to get Rocks off to a flying start.

After five overs Mudzinganyama, although having twice as much of the bowling, was on 25 and Zhuwao six.

Then both batters hit Tshuma for two fours in the next over, and the partnership continued at a fine pace until Zhuwao drove a catch to long-on at the end of the 10th over.

He had scored 35 off 29 balls, while Mudzinganyama now had 44 off 32, the total being 87.

It was never quite so good again, as Ben Curran was run out for one and Richmond Mutumbami, after hitting Ainsley Ndlovu for two sixes and a four off successive deliveries, was bowled for 22.

Mudzinganyama was bowled sweeping at Mpofu for 62 off 54 balls, and the score was 135 for four in 17 overs.

Then the innings became rather bogged down and the run rate declined.

Chisoro did well to score 24 off 15 balls, but Tafadzwa Tsiga struggled for runs, and eventually took 57 balls to make 34.

When he went, much depended on William Mashinge, as in his previous match, but he too struggled to get the score moving.

When he was finally bowled by Mpofu, he had scored 31 off 53 balls – the score was 231 for eight in the 40th over and, with all the recognised batters now gone, so were Rocks’ reasonable hopes.

Yet when nine wickets had fallen for 238, the last two men, Musoko and Murombo, stood up to the bowling and batted with great spirit.

Hitting the ball well, they took the score past 270 but, just as Rocks were daring to believe again, Musekiwa had Murombo caught at the wicket for 17 and the match was over.

The total was 274, with Musoko not out with 16, and there were eight deliveries to spare.

Mpofu, until this season noted mainly for his qualities as an opening batter, was the most successful bowler with five wickets for 47 runs with his off-breaks, the first time he has taken more than three wickets in an innings at provincial level.

2022/23 PRO50 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLE

TEAM

M

W

L

T

N/R

PT

NRR

Tuskers

4

4

0

0

0

40

0.701

Rhinos

4

2

1

1

0

25

0.078

Rocks

4

1

3

0

0

10

-0.421

Mountaineers

2

0

1

1

0

5

-0.204

Eagles

2

0

2

0

0

0

-0.580