Mountaineers – 330 and 149 all out in 58.1 overs (Donald Tiripano 33, Timycen Maruma 22, Wellington Masakadza 22; Tapiwa Mufudza 5/66, Keith Jaure 2/18, Brighton Zhawi 2/25)
Alliance Health Eagles – 208 and 51-2 in 13 overs (Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 28, Kudzai Maunze 12, Chamu Chibhabha 5*; Wellington Masakadza 1/3, Victor Nyauchi 1/19)
Day 3 – Stumps: Alliance Health Eagles need 221 runs
Fine bowling by the off-spinner Tapiwa Mufudza, who took five Mountaineers wickets for 66 runs and helped to bring about another batting collapse, kept Alliance Health Eagles in the game at Harare Sports Club on Friday and gave them a chance of victory with a target of 272 runs in the final innings.
At the close of play Eagles had scored 51 for two wickets.
Eagles began the third day at 172 for six wickets, still 158 runs behind on the first innings, with Wessly Madhevere on 35 and Keith Jaure 25.
Victor Nyauchi struck almost immediately, bowling Jaure for 26 after the addition of two runs to the total, and one run later Madhevere (36) chipped an easy catch straight to square leg off Tendai Chatara.
Chatara also removed Honest Ziwira for two, but the last pair of Mufudza and Brighton Zhawi put up a fight to add 30 runs together before the last wicket fell at 208, a deficit of 122.
Mufudza was bowled by Wellington Masakadza for 12, while Zhawi, who had the temerity to hit Chatara for six, was not out with 18.
Chatara finished with four wickets for 64 runs, while Masakadza had four for 57, Nyauchi taking the other two wickets.
Mountaineers, batting again, soon lost the wicket of Baxon Gopito, out to a simple catch at the wicket off Zhawi for two with the total nine.
Zhawi struck again three runs later, as he bowled Kevin Kasuza for six.
At lunch PJ Moor was not out with 19, partnered by Timycen Maruma with five, of a score of 36 for two wickets.
Mufudza struck after lunch, as he bowled Moor without addition to his 19; 38 for three.
For a while Maruma and Tony Munyonga stayed together, taking the score to 69 before disaster again struck.
Maruma was caught at the wicket off Mufudza for 22, Munyonga was also taken by Chakabva for 15 and Joylord Gumbie was bowled by Jaure without scoring.
In the first innings Mountaineers were 80 for six wickets – this time they were 74 for six, and Donald Tiripano and Masakadza found themselves together again trying to repair the damage.
They began their second rescue operation well, taking the score to 101 for six at tea, when Tiripano had 16 and Masakadza 12.
After tea, though, Masakadza fell to a sharp return catch by Mufudza for 22, with the score now 120 for seven.
Now Nyauchi had to try and reproduce the success of his first innings, but Mufudza struck again in his next over, as Tiripano tried a lofted drive only to hit a catch straight to the long-off fielder, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe.
His 33 was again the highest score of the innings, and Mountaineers’ second innings now appeared doomed at 131 for eight.
Without addition Nyauchi was lbw to Madhevere for two.
The last pair of Chatara, 13 before skying a catch to cover, and Brighton Chipungu, five not out, fought hard to add 18 runs, but the innings closed at 149.
Mufudza did a fine job with the ball, taking five wickets for 66 runs, while Jaure and Zhawi took two cheap wickets each to help skittle out the early batsmen.
Eagles therefore need 272 runs to win, and the poor Mountaineers batting has given them a chance of victory tomorrow.
Kamunhukamwe was promoted to open the innings with Kudzai Maunze, and they made a brisk start, putting on 26 runs in four overs before Maunze fell lbw to Nyauchi for 12.
Gareth Chirawu made four runs before he was caught at first slip by Maruma off Masakadza, to make the score 38 for two wickets.
Zhawi came in as night-watchman, but the situation became awkward for Eagles when Kamunhukamwe had to retire hurt with his score on 28 and the total 44.
The captain, Chamu Chibhabha, came in himself and hit a four, and at the close Eagles were 51 for two, with Chibhabha on five and Zhawi two.
This sets the stage for what could be an exciting finish tomorrow.
Rhinos – 229 and 281-8 in 85 overs (Takudzwanashe Kaitano 105, Tarisai Musakanda 53, Nyasha Mayavo 49*; Ainsley Ndlovu 4/58, Ernest Masuku 3/61, Charlton Tshuma 1/42)
Tuskers – 363 all out in 90.1 overs (Milton Shumba 90, Tanunurwa Makoni 83, Ainsley Ndlovu 61; Johnathan Campbell 3/65, Brandon Mavuta 3/96, Carl Mumba 2/44)
Day 3 – Stumps: Rhinos lead by 147 runs
A fine century from Takudzwanashe Kaitano may not save Rhinos from defeat by Tuskers at Old Hararians Sports Club tomorrow, as they finished the day only 147 runs ahead with just two wickets in hand.
Tuskers resumed their first innings this morning on 361 for nine wickets, a lead of 132 so far over Rhinos.
They could add just two runs to that score before Steve Chimhamhiwa was caught off Trevor Gwandu for 37, leaving Charlton Tshuma not out with two.
Brandon Mavuta and Johnathan Campbell took three wickets each, while two each fell to Carl Mumba and Gwandu.
Rhinos thus went in for their second innings with a large deficit of 134 runs to wipe off.
They made a very laborious start against Tshuma and Ainsley Ndlovu, scoring just one run in the first seven overs while losing the valuable wicket of Prince Masvaure, caught at the wicket off Tshuma without scoring.
Then Charles Kunje hit Ndlovu for four, only to be dismissed lbw two balls later.
Tarisai Musakanda came in with his usual aggressive intent, to join Kaitano, and they put together a stand that took the score to 79 for two wickets at lunch, with scores of 32 and 37 respectively.
In the afternoon they took the score to 104, before Musakanda was caught off Ernest Masuku for 53 – he faced only 48 balls and hit 11 fours.
Bright Matsiwe played more solidly to score 33, while Kaitano played just the sort of innings that was needed, playing a safe determined game and keeping the score moving.
Matsiwe fell lbw to Ndlovu for 33, and at tea the score had reached 193 for four, with Kaitano now 87 and Mayavo five, and their lead was now 59.
Kaitano went on to reach his second career century off 199 balls, but soon afterwards he fell lbw to Masuku for 105 – he faced 213 balls and hit 16 fours, and the score was 235 for five wickets.
Campbell stayed in for a while to score 14, but Carl Mumba (4) and Gwandu (2) didn’t last long and eight wickets were down for 277.
At the close Mayavo had reached 49 not out, while his latest partner Mavuta had four.