Rocks stare at defeat despite Chesa rocking Tuskers
Tuskers – 366 and 212 all out in 54.4 overs (Ainsley Ndlovu 42, Tanunurwa Makoni 37, Taffy Mupariwa 27; Priviledge Chesa 6/86, Roy Kaia 2/54, Innocent Kaia 1/25)
Southern Rocks – 337 and 119-6 in 39 overs (Richmond Mutumbami 36, Innocent Kaia 22, Brian Mudzinganyama 18; Sean Williams 4/28, Nkosana Mpofu 1/18, Ainsley Ndlovu 1/29)
Day 3 – Stumps: Southern Rocks need 123 runs
Despite some excellent leg-spin bowling from Priviledge Chesa, Southern Rocks appeared to be heading towards defeat in their Logan Cup match against Tuskers at Old Hararians Sports Club at the close of play on Saturday.
Set 242 to win, they struggled to 119 for six wickets, and will need a remarkable performance from their remaining players if they are to win on the fourth and final day.
Day three began with Tuskers on nine for no wicket in their second innings, having earned a first-innings lead of 29.
Nkosana Mpofu soon fell for 12 in the morning, but useful batting from Tanu Makoni (37) and Taffy Mupariwa (27) took the score to 80 before the next wicket fell.
Chesa broke the stand, having Makoni caught, and within three overs he took four wickets, the others being Mupariwa and the prime scalps of Milton Shumba (1) and Sean Williams (4).
When Roy Kaia bowled out Clive Madande for 16, Tuskers were in trouble at 106 for six.
Luke Jongwe (24) and Jordan Morris (25) both adopted an aggressive policy, which succeeded for a while, but then Chesa dismissed them both.
The captain Ainsley Ndlovu played what turned out to be a decisive innings for Tuskers, escaping the wiles of Chesa and hitting 42 off 38 balls, the highest score of the innings from number nine.
Thanks to him, Tuskers passed 200 and were dismissed for 212, which left Rocks a target of 242, a situation which perhaps gave a fairly equal chance to both teams.
In a wise move, Ndlovu opened his bowling with Williams, who quickly caught and bowled Cephas Zhuwao for one boundary stroke, and soon afterwards trapped Innocent Kaia lbw for 22.
Four wickets were down for 68, but Richmond Mutumbami was now in and again he was the main hope of his team.
He scored 36 in good style, but when Williams returned and had him lbw off 40 balls, immediately followed by the wicket of Roy Kaia without scoring, Rocks were on a slippery slope at 98 for six wickets.
William Mashinge, who took an age to get off the mark, is still there at the close with 12, and Tafadzwa Tsiga has nine.
Rocks certainly need these two to play out of their skins on Sunday if they are to gain a now unlikely victory.
Rhinos – 455 and 39-2 in 13 overs (Eddie Byrom 15, Kiran Carlson 15*, Ryan Burl 3*; Brad Evans 1/14, Tanaka Chivanga 1/15)
Eagles – 581 all out in 137.2 overs (Craig Ervine 124, Nick Welch 100, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 99; Ryan Burl 4/89, Kiran Carlson 2/46, Johnathan Campbell 1/81)
Day 3 – Stumps: Rhinos trail by 87 runs
Centuries from the experienced Craig Ervine and the youthful Nick Welch, his first in first-class cricket, enabled Eagles to soar past Rhinos’ first-innings score of 455 and take a lead of 126 on the first innings at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
This pair began the day with Eagles on 265 for two wickets, of which Ervine had 39 and Welsh 49.
Ervine was the dominant partner this time, although he had more of the bowling.
He moved fluently to his 16th career century, while Welch approached his first with more caution.
The Rhinos bowlers could make no impression on the pair as they put on 211 together for the third wicket, before Welch finally reached his landmark and, probably losing concentration with his relief, was promptly out lbw to Brandon Mavuta for exactly 100.
He had faced 195 balls and hit two sixes and 12 fours.
The score was now 402 for three, and only six runs later Ervine followed him back to the pavilion, bowled by Ryan Burl for 124 – he faced exactly 200 balls and his innings included a six and 15 fours.
Wessly Madhevere was stumped off Burl without scoring, but if Rhinos thought they had made a vital breakthrough at 409 for five, they had another think coming.
The next pair of Tadiwanashe Marumani and Brad Evans were soon taking command and dominating the bowling, sailing into the lead past Rhinos’ 455.
They added 133 for the sixth wicket before Evans, the more aggressive of the two, was out for 81, scored off 68 balls with three sixes and 12 fours.
Marumani played, for him, a more restrained innings and with the tail making little contribution he was last out for 66, which took him 98 balls and contained seven fours.
The total was 581, a handsome first-innings lead of 126.
Burl’s bowling took some heavy punishment, but he finished with the best figures of four for 89.
In the time remaining Rhinos lost their opening pair, with Takudzwanashe Kaitano being bowled by Tanaka Chivanga for two in the second over and Eddie Byrom caught off Evans for 15.
The overnight batters are Kiran Carlson (15) and Burl (3).
Victory is now virtually impossible for Rhinos, and the fourth and final day will be a test of their resolve to see if they can fight out an honourable draw.