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.