Southern Rocks – 151 all out in 38.2 overs (Ben Curran 47, Richmond Mutumbami 28, Innocent Kaia 23; Sean Williams 3/21, John Nyumbu 3/24, Nkosana Mpofu 2/2)
Tuskers – 142 all out in 30.2 overs (Sean Williams 86, Brian Chari 9, Nkosana Mpofu 9; Sikandar Raza 3/49, Travor Mutsamba 2/7, Tendai Chisoro 2/14)
Southern Rocks won by nine runs
A remarkable lone hand of 86 out of a total of 142 by Sean Williams just failed to bring Tuskers a victory in their return Pro50 Championship match against Southern Rocks, who thus won in an exciting finish by nine runs at Masvingo Sports Club on Friday.
Rocks, put in to bat, suffered the shock of losing their most dangerous batsman, Cephas Zhuwao, to the first ball of the match when he edged a delivery from Charlton Tshuma to the keeper, Clive Madande.
However, Innocent Kaia and Ben Curran did their best to take over Zhuwao’s role as they attacked the bowling in fine style, bringing up the team fifty in the seventh over.
Kaia was then bowled by Ernest Masuku for 23 off 24 balls, but Richmond Mutumbami took his place and with Curran took the score to 105 in the 15th over.
Then came a disastrous batting collapse that turned the innings on its head, brought about by the spinners John Nyumbu and Williams.
Nyumbu had Mutumbami caught by Luke Jongwe for 28, scored off 24 balls, while Williams bowled Sikandar Raza second ball without scoring.
Tadiwanashe Marumani was lbw to Nyumbu for three, and then Curran’s fine innings of 47 off 62 balls came to an end as he was out in just the same way.
Williams then struck again, having William Mashinge caught at the wicket and Tendai Chisoro lbw, both for just two runs each.
Six wickets had fallen in 11 economical overs for 20 runs and Rocks were reeling at 125 for eight wickets.
Roy Kaia fought back, with help from Blessing Muzarabani, and by careful batting they saw off the two spinners and took the score to 148 before Nkosana Mpofu had Muzarabani caught at the wicket.
Mpofu then removed Kaia lbw for 22, scored carefully off 59 balls, to end the Rocks innings for a total of 151 in the 39th over.
Williams and Nyumbu both bowled out their 10 overs, taking vital wickets each and conceding only 21 and 24 runs respectively.
Mpofu, who replaced them, bowling off-spin, finished with figures of two wickets for two runs.
Tuskers now had an excellent chance of avenging their big defeat on Wednesday, but they did not begin well.
Mpofu and Brian Chari made 20 runs for the first wicket before the left-arm spinner Chisoro, opening the bowling with Muzarabani, removed them both to catches in quick succession for nine runs each – 22 for two in the sixth over.
Williams came in at number four and scored freely and confidently from the start.
Given one good partner, he would certainly have taken Tuskers through to victory, but he never found one who lasted more than 23 balls — which was Taffy Mupariwa at number three, who scored eight.
His best partnership was one of 36 for the fourth wicket with Milton Shumba, who was caught off Raza for seven.
Clive Madande briefly showed some spirit to score eight, but otherwise the rest of the innings was a steady procession of low scores and quick departures, and when Nyumbu managed to hit his wicket against the bowling of Travor Mutsamba, nine wickets were down for 137.
Fifteen to win by the last wicket was quite possible, as Tshuma has played some stubborn defensive innings, but this time it was Williams who unexpectedly got out, having taken his team to the verge of victory.
He was caught by Marumani off Mutsamba’s bowling, and Rocks were again the team to celebrate.
Williams scored over 60 percent of his side’s total, facing 74 balls for his 86 and hitting two sixes and 11 fours.
Raza bowled his 10 overs for an expensive 49 runs, but he took three wickets, while there were two each for Muzarabani, Chisoro and Mutsamba.
Mountaineers – 293-9 in 50 overs (Tony Munyonga 95, Donald Tiripano 77, Wellington Masakadza 36; Carl Mumba 3/32, Davis Murwendo 2/45, Kudakwashe Macheka 2/51)
Rhinos – 177 all out in 38.1 overs (Tashinga Musekiwa 73*, Kudakwashe Macheka 30, Johnathan Campbell 23; Tendai Chatara 4/43, Tony Munyonga 3/23, Shingi Masakadza 1/18)
Mountaineers won by 116 runs
Tony Munyonga and Donald Tiripano turned the tables on a largely dismal Rhinos side at Mutare Sports Club on Friday as they rescued their team from a bad start and turned it into another big victory for Mountaineers by 116 runs.
Mountaineers, who were put in to bat, made a disastrous start to their innings as Carl Mumba tore open their top-order batting.
On 13 Mumba had Kevin Kasuza caught by Johnathan Campbell for three, and followed it by dismissing Ben Compton to a catch by Kuda Macheka for nine.
Macheka then had PJ Moor caught by Brandon Mavuta for nine before Mumba bowled out Timycen Maruma for four.
Thus the top four Mountaineers batsmen, who had given the Rhinos bowlers such a hammering on Wednesday, were all gone with only 32 runs on the board.
But the recovery was magnificent, led by Munyonga, who so often is at his best in a crisis.
He was joined by Tiripano and the two of them turned the innings right around with a superb fifth-wicket partnership of 150 in 24 overs.
Munyonga well deserved a century, but was unfortunately caught off Macheka for 95, scored off only 87 balls with four sixes and seven fours.
On his departure Tiripano took up the role of aggressor and took the score to 240 before he was caught off Davis Murwendo for 77, scored off 77 balls with three sixes and six fours.
Wellington Masakadza gave him good support, scoring 36 himself.
Even the last pair of John Masara (10 not out) and Tinashe Muchawaya (14 not out) made a useful unbroken 23 for the last wicket in less than four overs.
The final total was 293 for nine wickets, a difficult target for Rhinos to chase.
Mumba’s final bowling figures were three for 32 in his 10 overs, while Macheka and Murwendo both took two wickets.
Rhinos were soon deep in trouble, as in his first two overs Tendai Chatara ripped out their two opening batsmen, both lbw — Bright Matsiwe to the first ball he faced and Takudzwanashe Kaitano for five; 15 for two.
The story of woe continued, as Shingi Masakadza chipped in by having Ryan Burl caught for four, while Chatara took a third in Prince Masvaure, caught for six, to make the score 20 for four within five overs.
There was a brief rally, as Neville Madziva scored 17 in partnership with Johnathan Campbell, before being caught by Maruma off Wellington Masakadza for 17; 55 for five after 12 overs.
Musekiwa then joined Campbell, who scored 23 before being caught by Kasuza off Munyonga; 73 for six.
Perhaps the only hope for Rhinos now would be a thunderous innings from Mumba, but he was run out by Moor off the first ball he faced, and it was as good as game over for the visitors.
Musekiwa was not going to go down without a fight, though, and he put up a fine performance, especially when the last man Macheka joined him at 100 for nine wickets.
He moved to his fifty off 55 balls, and Macheka joined in, no doubt surprising the Mountaineers bowlers with the fighting spirit of their resistance.
The best partnership of the innings before now had been 35, but this gallant pair put on 77 together in 15 overs before finally Macheka was caught by Moor off Munyonga for 30 to end the match, Musekiwa being not out with 73 off 72 balls, with 2 sixes and 7 fours.
The total was 177.
Chatara with four for 43 was the best bowler, well backed up by Munyonga who had three for 23 to add to his magnificent innings.