Mutumbami, Kaia put Rocks firmly in driver’s seat on second day

Tuskers – 159 all out in 42.3 overs (Milton Shumba 43, Luke Jongwe 34*, PJ Moor 25; Shane Snater 5/45, Blessing Muzarabani 4/45, Patrick Mambo 1/11). Southern Rocks – 271-6 in 73 overs (Richmond Mutumbami 74, Innocent Kaia 55, Ben Curran 35; John Nyumbu 2/67, Steve Chimhamhiwa 1/23, Charlton Tshuma 1/51). Day 2 – Stumps: Southern Rocks lead by 112 runs

Innocent Kaia and Richmond Mutumbami both scored fifties in a very consistent batting display for Southern Rocks at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday, taking their team into a strong position in their Logan Cup match against Tuskers.

After a delayed start due to wet patches on the outfield, Tuskers resumed their first innings with the score 148 for seven wickets; Luke Jongwe had 25 and John Nyumbu seven. Shane Snater opened the bowling to Nyumbu, and off his second delivery had him out caught by the wicket-keeper without addition.

Jongwe began to hit out with the possibility of being left stranded by the Tuskers’ long tail, hitting a couple of boundaries. But that was just what happened, as Blessing Muzarabani abruptly ended the innings by bowling out Steve Chimhamhiwa and Charlton Tshuma with successive deliveries, both brilliant yorkers, leaving Jongwe stranded on 34 off 41 balls; the total was 159.

Snater led the team off the field with his five wickets for 45 runs, the best of his brief first-class career, while Muzarabani took four for 45.

The Rocks innings began with Muzarabani’s last two victims, Tshuma and Chimhamhiwa, opening the bowling to Brian Mudzinganyama and Innocent Kaia. The left-handed Mudzinganyama kept the score moving from the start, always looking for runs, and he took most of the bowling.

He scored 12 out of 16 before he sliced a ball from Chimhamhiwa to be caught at second slip. This brought in Ben Curran to play his first major innings in the land where he grew up. He clipped his first delivery neatly past midwicket for two, but then struggled to score.

Innocent Kaia, however, getting more of the bowling, began to score. By lunchtime the score had reached 57 for one, with Innocent Kaia on 31 and Curran 13.

Lunch seemed to invigorate the batsmen, who showed much more fluency after the break, especially Curran. Innocent Kaia reached his fifty off 71 balls, though it was with an edged hook stroke that cleared the keeper.

He then threw his wicket away at 55 with a wild slash that was held in the slips; he faced 74 balls, hit eight fours, and the score was now 103 for two wickets. Only nine runs later Curran also gave his wicket away, having a heave at a ball from Nyumbu and being trapped lbw for 35.

Sikandar Raza and Mutumbami were now in together, and they scored freely, but tended to hit the ball in the air. Mutumbami was dropped at short extra cover when 5, and then Raza, on 23, pulled a ball from Tshuma and was brilliantly caught high above his head by Aarsh Jha at midwicket; 146 for four.

By tea Rocks had almost taken the lead, being 156 for four wickets, with Mutumbami on 23 and Roy Kaia on two. They went ahead soon after tea and turned up the assault on the bowlers, both scoring freely.

Mutumbami reached his fifty off 74 balls, but immediately after that Roy Kaia lost his wicket, caught at slip off Ainsley Ndlovu for 29, to make the score 213 for five. Mutumbami was eventually out lbw for 74, missing a sweep at a straight ball from Nyumbu; 249 for six, the lead now 90.

At the close the score was 271 for six wickets, with William Mashinge on 18 and Tendai Chisoro 16, which means that all the first eight batsmen in the order reached double figures, not a common occurrence. The bottom line is that Rocks have a good lead of 112 on the first innings, and still have four wickets in hand.

Eagles – 161 all out in 49.2 overs (Regis Chakabva 44, Gareth Chirawu 40, Wessly Madhevere 19; Brandon Mavuta 4/14, Tafara Chingwara 3/49, Neville Madziva 2/33). Rhinos – 134-4 in 51 overs (Takudzwanashe Kaitano 63*, Ryan Burl 18, Bright Matsiwe 16*; Tanaka Chivanga 1/14, Richard Ngarava 1/16, Oskar Kolk 1/45). Day 2 – Stumps: Rhinos trail by 27 runs

Tafadzwa Kaitano again did a fine job opening the batting for Rhinos at Old Hararians Sports Club today, scoring a determined fifty on a day when most batsmen found run-scoring difficult.

His innings of 63 not out has taken Rhinos into a position from which they certainly should be able to take a first-innings lead over Eagles. After a rain-ravaged first day, Eagles began the second, after a delayed start due to the wet outfield, at 58 for two wickets, with Gareth Chirawu on 34 and Wesley Madhevere on four.

Chirawu did not last long, being caught off Neville Madziva for 40, followed by Madhevere for 19, caught off Tafara Chingwara, making the score 108 for six when Oscar Kolk, an English/Welsh professional, fell without scoring.

The seventh wicket did not fall until 148, which was rather deceptive, as Faraz Akram retired hurt in between, but it was largely a case of Regis Chakabva standing alone. Nobody below him in the order reached double figures, though Brad Evans gave good support in his innings of nine.

Chakabva was eighth out at 152, having hit a determined 44; the innings eventually closed for 161. Brandon Mavuta, captain of Rhinos, did not give himself much of a chance as a bowler, bowling only 6.2 overs, but he took four wickets for only 14 runs, including that of Chakabva.

Chingwara took three wickets and Madziva two. Rhinos suffered a bad start when they lost Prince Masvaure in the first over, caught at the wicket off Richard Ngarava without a run on the board.

Kaitano again showed good form opening the innings for Rhinos, and received good help from Charles Kunje, who scored 14, in a second-wicket partnership of 47. Ryan Burl made 18 before being run out, and Remembrance Nyathi eight, while Kaitano reached his fifty off 113 balls.

At the close he was still there with Bright Matsiwe, 16 not out, and Rhinos will be hoping to build a big lead tomorrow.