Marumani stars with another fifty as Rocks cruise to victory again

Tuskers – 141-6 in 20 overs (Brian Chari 47, Luke Jongwe 41*, Ernest Masuku 13*; Roy Kaia 3/21, Dylan Hondo 2/31, Tendai Chisoro 1/14). Southern Rocks – 143-3 in 16.5 overs (Tadiwanashe Marumani 63*, Richmond Mutumbami 23, Brian Mudzinganyama 23; Ernest Masuku 2/28, Milton Shumba 1/22). Southern Rocks won by seven wickets

Tadiwanashe Marumani played another impressive innings at Harare Sports Club on Monday, scoring 63 not out to lead Southern Rocks to a seven-wicket victory over Tuskers.

On a warm, sunny morning, Rocks won the toss and put Tuskers in to bat, both teams having won their first match of this Domestic T20 Competition.

After playing themselves in for a couple of overs, Tuskers openers Brian Chari and Simbarashe Haukodzi began to open up, and Chari hit both Blessing Muzarabani and Travor Mutsamba for four and six off consecutive deliveries.

Tendai Chisoro came on to bowl and with his first delivery he trapped Haukozi lbw for 10, aiming a big slog to leg; 35 for one in the sixth over. Craig Ervine scored just a single before he too went on a cross-bat heave, and was comprehensively bowled by Dylan Hondo.

Sean Williams scored 13 off 15 balls before he top-edged a sweep off Roy Kaia and was caught behind square leg. In the following over, the 12th, Chari’s dynamic innings of 47 off 34 balls came to an end as he skyed a drive off Hondo to long-off; 76 for four.

Worse was to come, as at 83 Milton Shumba (3) tried a big drive against Kaia and was bowled, 13 overs having now been completed. Kaia took a third victim as Clive Madande (5) went on an extravagant reverse sweep and was out lbw, and Tuskers sank deeper into trouble, 91 for six after 15 overs.

Luke Jongwe often brings out something special when it is needed, and he took the attack to the bowlers, with support from Ernest Masuku. In the last five overs of the innings they put on 50 runs together without being separated, Jongwe finishing with 41 off 29 balls, with two sixes and two fours, while Masuku made a valuable 13.

The total of 141 for six wickets was not great, after all the early wickets, but at least it did give the Tuskers bowlers something to bowl against. Kaia’s three for 21 off four overs were the best bowling figures, while Chisoro was back to his usual economical self with one for only 14 runs off four overs.

Rocks began their innings with two boundaries off Charlton Tshuma, one each by Brian Mudzinganyama and Cephas Zhuwao. After 10 legal deliveries there were 27 runs on the board, but at this point Zhuwao lashed a ball from Masuku into the covers, immediately after hitting him for six, and was caught for 10 off four balls.

Marumani hit his second ball for six, which left Masuku with figures of one for 18 in his single over. After this the batsmen quietened down for an over or two, and the score moved to 48 in the fifth over when Mudzinganyama slashed across the line to a ball from Masuku and was caught at the wicket for 23.

Marumani and Richmond Mutumbami found no problems with the bowling as they had no great need to force the pace and runs came easily and steadily for them – after 10 overs the score was 102 for two wickets.

The pair put on 57 runs together before, at 105, Mutumbami drove uppishly on the off side and was caught by Ervine for 23, scored off 17 balls. Roy Kaia now joined Marumani, who was still batting superbly, and they hit off the remaining runs between them.

Marumani reached his fifty off 30 balls, but it was Kaia (14 not out) who swept Shumba for the winning four to end the match, 143 for three off 16.5 overs. Marumani was not out with 63, his second successive fifty, scored off 42 balls with six fours and three sixes.

Masuku was the most successful bowler, taking two wickets in two overs, but they cost him 28 runs. The spinners Ainsley Ndlovu and Shumba were the most economical – they alone managed to go for less than a run a ball.

Mountaineers – 144-9 in 20 overs (Wellington Masakadza 56, Donald Tiripano 20, Dion Myers 16; Brandon Mavuta 3/14, Neville Madziva 2/22, Ryan Burl 2/24). Rhinos – 121 all out in 18.2 overs (Ryan Burl 32, Charles Kunje 22, Brendan Taylor 13; Donald Tiripano 4/13, Victor Nyauchi 2/18, Tendai Chatara 2/28). Mountaineers won by 23 runs

Wellington Masakadza is best known as a left-arm spin bowler who is also a useful batsman, but today it was his fine rescue innings of 56 that turned what seemed like almost certain defeat for Mountaineers into a fine victory, as Rhinos were unable to challenge a target of 145.

This match was played between the two teams yet to win a game in this tournament, so the result is a welcome boost for Mountaineers, but a disaster for Rhinos, their second defeat in as many fixtures.

Mountaineers, put in to bat, lost the wicket of Joylord Gumbie in the first over, as he played a ball from Manson Chikowero into his wicket without a run on the board. Carl Mumba again suffered at the hands of batsmen, as he went for 12 runs in his first over, with a six from Dion Myers and a four from Kevin Kasuza.

Both these batsmen soon perished trying to hit Brandon Mavuta for six, Myers (16) caught off a straight drive and Kasuza (12) on the midwicket boundary, making the score 35 for three in the sixth over.

Gary Chirimuuta and Tony Munyonga now had to steady the ship, but Chirimuuta’s patience soon gave out, as he holed out off a big leg-hit from the bowling of Ryan Burl for nine; 46 for four in the ninth over.

Munyonga, usually a steady player, was next out for 12 at 54, caught behind the bowler Burl off a cross-batted swat, while Mavuta moved a ball back into Shingi Masakadza to bowl him for one; 59 for six in the 12th over.

Desperate situations in T20 can only be resolved by attack, and in the next over, bowled by Chikowero, Donald Tiripano hit two fours and Wellington Masakadza one to take the score up to 76. So well did these two hit that the hundred came up in the 16th over, but at 104 Tiripano (20) came down the pitch to hit a full toss from Johnathan Campbell, only to give a catch to long-on.

Victor Nyauchi made four before being caught off a miscued pull off Neville Madziva, but Wellington Masakadza was playing better all the time, and reached an excellent fifty off 36 balls with little of the spectacular hitting attempted by others.

He skyed a catch to mid-on off the final ball of the innings, bowled by Madziva, and was out for 56 off 39 balls, with seven fours. The team total was 144 for nine wickets, with Tendai Chatara two not out – no great target for a team to chase, but much would depend on how confident the Rhinos players felt.

Mavuta had certainly given Rhinos an advantage with his three wickets for 14 runs in his four overs, and only Wellington Masakadza’s fifty had given Mountaineers any hope of turning the tables.

This time Brendan Taylor opened the Rhinos innings with Prince Masvaure and, after the latter had taken a single, hit his first ball, a long hop from Wellington Masakadza, for six over square leg.

They scored 24 in the first two overs and then, on 25, Masvaure (10) tried to turn a ball from Tiripano to leg and top-edged it to give square leg a catch. Three balls later Taylor tried to dabble a straight ball from the same bowler to square leg, and was out lbw for 13 – hope rose again in Mountaineer hearts.

They had another great boost in the next over, as Tarisai Musakanda (5) slashed at a ball from Nyauchi outside the off stump and skyed a catch; 32 for three. Burl and Charles Kunje were in together, and there were no fireworks from Burl at first as the pair had to avoid risks in such a situation.

After a few overs, though, Burl decided the time had come to take on Wellington Masakadza, and swung him for two leg-side sixes in three balls. The stand was broken by another poorly-judged cross-bat shot, as Kunje tried to paddle a straight ball from Nyauchi to square leg and was bowled for 22; the stand had added 53 runs and taken the score to 85 in the 12th over.

Two overs later came the biggest blow, as Burl (32 off 30 balls) slashed a ball from Chatara square on the off side, but straight to Munyonga, and was out with the score now 96 for five in the 14th over. Mountaineers were right on top now.

Three balls later Chatara removed Burl’s partner, Tashinga Musekiwa, for nine, caught deep on the leg side; 97 for six. The total passed 100, but wickets were falling like skittles now, as Madziva (1) hit across the line to a ball from Munyonga to be bowled behind his legs at 101 for seven.

The rest of the Rhinos batsmen had nothing to offer, as Mumba and Mavuta fell to Tiripano for four and two respectively. Campbell did his best in making 12, but he was last out with the total at 121 in the penultimate over.

Tiripano returned the good figures of four wickets for 13 runs, dismissing the two openers and two tail-enders, while there were two wickets each for Chatara and Nyauchi. This victory is a lifeline for Mountaineers, who therefore still have a chance of reaching the final, but after two defeats Rhinos are in a precarious situation.