Tuskers survive Chipungu onslaught to pip Mountaineers

Mountaineers – 177 all out in 44 overs (Kevin Kasuza 43, Dion Myers 28, Joylord Gumbie 25; John Nyumbu 3/25, Ainsley Ndlovu 3/27, Charlton Tshuma 2/32). Tuskers – 179-7 in 35.5 overs (Brian Chari 46, Nkosana Mpofu 45, Milton Shumba 45; Brighton Chipungu 4/46, John Masara 1/23, Victor Nyauchi 1/25). Tuskers won by three wickets

The leg-spin bowling of the 19-year-old Brighton Chipungu nearly turned this Pro50 Championship match on its head. Tuskers had appeared to be cruising to victory over Mountaineers at 135 for two wickets, chasing 178, when Chipungu shattered their middle order with four quick wickets, and in the end Tuskers were very relieved to creep home by three wickets.

Mountaineers have not been a confident side this season, after losing many of their top players, but they made a good start when deciding to bat first at Old Hararians Sports Club this Sunday. Joylord Gumbie and Kevin Kasuza opened the batting as usual, and put on 77 runs together at better than a run a ball.

Kasuza in particular was in fine form, and scored 43 off only 34 balls, with eight fours, before he was caught off the bowling of Charlton Tshuma. In the next over, though, Gumbie followed him back to the pavilion, caught off the new bowler Panashe Maphosa, for 25, and this began a slide from which Mountaineers never really recovered.

The spin bowlers Ainsley Ndlovu and John Nyumbu took over and cut deep into the middle order, with Gary Chirimuuta (2), Tony Munyonga (0), Shingi Masakadza (6) and Clive Chitumba (10) all falling to their wiles in quick succession.

Dion Myers had tried to stem the tide, scoring 28, but then he too was bowled by Ndlovu and soon eight wickets were down for 137. John Masara (23 not out) and Tendai Chatara (11) then fought back as the two spinners completed their 10-over limitations, and put on 25 for the ninth wicket, with the innings finally closing for 177 after 44 overs.

Ndlovu and Nyumbu took three wickets each, for 27 and 25 runs respectively, while Tshuma had two for 32. When Tuskers began their innings, they soon lost Bright Phiri, lbw to Victor Nyauchi for five, but Brian Chari was in dazzling form.

He was particularly severe on Chatara’s bowling, and hammered 46 off 26 balls, with six fours and two sixes, before Chatara finally had him out caught at the wicket with the score 57 for two. Then came a steady partnership between Nkosana Mpofu and Milton Shumba, who put on 78 for the third wicket before Chipungu began his magic spell of bowling.

With successive deliveries Chipungu bowled Mpofu for 45 and had the new man Cunningham Ncube lbw first ball, to make the score 135 for four. Clive Madande made six before Chipungu also had him lbw, and then at 156 he took the big wicket of Shumba, caught by Victor Nyauchi for 45.

Six wickets were suddenly down and still 22 runs were needed for victory. John Masara bowled Ndlovu for seven at 164, but Chipungu had no further success as Ernest Masuku (13 not out) and Maphosa (6 not out) took a relieved Tuskers team over the finishing line.

Earlier on Chipungu had been expensive, and his final figure for nine overs were four for 46.

Eagles – 226 all out in 49.5 overs (Rodney Mupfudza 53, Tinashe Nenhunzi 38, Elton Chigumbura 26; Chris Mpofu 3/41, Tarisai Musakanda 2/10, Carl Mumba 2/34). Rhinos – 229-2 in 37.3 overs (Tarisai Musakanda 77*, Takudzwanashe Kaitano 57, Charles Kunje 43*; Ashley Mufandauya 1/22). Rhinos won by eight wickets

A dynamic innings of 77 not out by Tarisai Musakanda headed Rhinos’ fine eight-wicket victory over Eagles in a Pro50 Championship match at Takashinga Sports Club today.

The revived Rhinos team generally made light work of their target of 228 runs to win and romped home with 12.3 overs in hand, with Musakanda playing the leading role, his unbeaten 77 coming off 67 balls and including 12 fours and a six. The Eagles innings, after being put in to bat, was based on consistent scoring, with their top eight batsmen all reaching double figures, although only three of them passed 20.

The openers Gareth Chirawu and Ashley Mufandauya both scored 14, the score being 45 for two wickets in the 14th over. Then came the main partnership of the innings, as the captain, Rodney Mupfudza, and Tinashe Nenhunzi put on 82 together in 20 overs for the third wicket.

It was ended by a run-out, as a direct hit from Charles Kunje removed Nenhunzi for 38, and six runs later Mupfudza was caught at the wicket off Carl Mumba for 53. Elton Chigumbura briefly played in his old manner, scoring 26 off 18 balls with three fours and a six.

The tail hit out, Cuthbert Musoko scoring 17 off 14 balls and Daniel Jakiel 19 off 16, while Clive Imbayago finished with a more sedate 16 not out when the innings closed for 226, with just one ball of the 50 overs in hand.

Chris Mpofu was the most successful bowler with three for 41, while there were two wickets each to Mumba and Musakanda. Rhinos may well have been a discouraged team after losing all four of their Domestic T20 Competition matches last week, but they put this behind them with a fine batting performance.

Tafadzwa Kaitano and Prince Masvaure opened the batting in fine style, dominating the bowling in an opening stand of 83 at five runs an over, before Masvaure was run out by Chirawu for 37. Kaitano completed his fifty and was out for 57, bowled by Mufandauya, with the score at 121 for two in the 22nd over – they were well ahead of the required run rate.

The good work was continued by Musakanda and Kunje, who both scored at better than a run a ball in their partnership which eventually realised 108 runs without being broken. Kunje almost matched Musakanda stroke for stroke, as his unbeaten 43 came off 39 balls, and he hit two sixes and two fours as the pair mastered the Eagles bowling.

Eight bowlers were tried altogether, but only Mufandauya took a wicket, the other falling to the run-out. Brad Evans was the most economical, his 10 overs costing only 34 runs.

It was a handsome victory for Rhinos, and should give them new hope and confidence to make a real challenge for the 50-over competition after their earlier disappointments this season.