Zhuwao blasts Rocks to big win, as Evans powers Eagles to victory

Tuskers – 132 all out in 34.4 overs (Nkosana Mpofu 42, Clive Madande 18, Milton Shumba 13; Tendai Chisoro 4/12, Travor Mutsamba 2/21, Privilege Chesa 2/31). Southern Rocks – 134-2 in 15 overs (Cephas Zhuwao 69*, Richmond Mutumbami 26*, Brian Mudzinganyama 25; Panashe Maphosa 1/15, Ernest Masuku 1/40). Southern Rocks won by eight wickets

A blistering innings of 65 not out by Cephas Zhuwao swept Southern Rocks to an eight-wicket victory over Tuskers in a Pro50 Championship match played at Old Hararians Sports Club today.

Tuskers were always struggling in this match after being put in to bat. Travor Mutsamba struck early with the ball, having Brian Chari caught in the first over of the innings after he began with a six.

Bright Phiri also did not last long, Mutsamba bowling him for 10. Nkosana Mpofu was the only batsman to show real form, as he scored 42 off 56 balls, with seven fours, before being out lbw to Roy Kaia.

No other batsman reached 20, although Milton Shumba made a laborious 13 off 37 balls before being run out by Mutsamba. Clive Madande batted well for a while to score 18, but the later batsmen had little to offer.

Tendai Chisoro finished off the tail very effectively, removing Madande with a catch by Tafadzwa Tsiga and three others to finish with the fine figures of four for 12 off 6.4 overs.

Mutsamba took two wickets for 21 in five overs, while Privilege Chesa also took two, which cost him 31 runs. The last wicket went down at 132, and the innings had lasted only 34.4 overs.

It was so brief that lunch was not taken, and in fact the match was destined to finish before lunch, thanks to the onslaught of Zhuwao. He laid into the bowlers from the start, although losing Tsiga for five, caught at the wicket off the bowling of Ernest Masuku.

Brian Mudzinganyama played an attacking innings, although quite outshone by Zhuwao, making 25 off 22 balls, with five fours before being caught off Panashe Maphosa. Mudzinganyama was out with the score at 86 for two after only nine overs.

Zhuwao reached his fifty off only 27 balls, while Richmond Mutumbami came in and the pair finished off the match without further ado.

In fact Mutumbami, taking most of the bowling, scored 26 not out from the 48 unbeaten that he put on with Zhuwao for the third wicket, hitting five fours off 25 balls. Zhuwao’s 69 not out contained nine fours and four sixes, so he certainly did not tire himself running.

Of the bowlers, only the experienced off-spinner John Nyumbu could restrain the batsmen at all, as he bowled four overs for 26 runs but without a wicket.

Rocks in their first match of this tournament made an impressive start, having regained the confidence they lost in the T20 competition, and have already shot to the top of the points table with a net run rate of 6.293 from this match.

Eagles – 231 all out in 44.4 overs (Brad Evans 109, Elton Chigumbura 49, Tinashe Nenhunzi 33; Victor Nyauchi 5/41, Shingi Masakadza 3/43, Brighton Chipungu 2/38). Mountaineers – 208 all out in 45.5 overs (Kevin Kasuza 35, Gary Chirimuuta 34, Akshay Patel 29; Honest Ziwira 3/52, Cuthbert Musoko 2/19, Malcolm Chikuwa 2/23). Eagles won by 23 runs

Brad Evans turned in a brilliant all-round performance for Eagles today that powered them to victory over Mountaineers in the other Pro50 Championship match played at Takashinga today.

Evans hit a fine century that rescued Eagles from a position of 125 for six wickets, and then took a vital wicket and two catches as his team bowled out their opponents to win by 23 runs. Eagles, put in to bat, suffered a shattering start to their innings, thanks to a superb spell of pace bowling from Victor Nyauchi.

In his first over he had Ashley Mufandauya caught at the wicket without scoring, with the score on four. In his third over he trapped Gareth Chirawu lbw for five, and in his fourth had Rodney Mupfudza caught for four, leaving Eagles reeling at 19 for three wickets in the eighth over.

But recovery was on the way, as Tinashe Nenhunzi played a solid defensive innings while Elton Chigumbura began to return the attack to the bowling.

Hitting nine fours, Chigumbura blasted his way to an invaluable 49 before he was caught off the bowling of Shingi Masakadza, with the score now a healthier 105 for four wickets.

Nenhunzi went soon afterwards, at 125, bowled by Brighton Chipungu for 33 off 68 balls. The innings was to close for 231, and of those extra 106 runs scored, the last five batsmen contributed just seven runs between them.

The rest, apart from a few extras, came from the bludgeoning bat of the all-rounder Evans, who monopolised the bowling and hammered it in a manner like that of his father, former Zimbabwe batsman Craig Evans.

He began by putting on 36 for the seventh wicket with Cuthbert Musoko, who contributed one of them before Nyauchi removed him and the next man in successive deliveries, and 31 for the ninth wicket with Honest Ziwira, who also made one.

The last man, Brighton Zhawi, gallantly held up his end for five not out in a partnership of 39 runs, while Evans reached his century and was finally caught off Masakadza for an amazing innings of 109, scored out of 126 while he was at the wicket.

The total thus unexpectedly reached 231, and Nyauchi’s superb return of five wickets for 41 runs had been quite overshadowed by the powerful hitting of Evans.

Masakadza took three wickets for 43 and Chipungu two for 38. Mountaineers may have been entitled to suffer a feeling of shock after this, but they began their innings in good fashion, with Kevin Kasuza batting very well to score 35 off 28 balls in an opening stand of 47 before being bowled — by Evans the bowler!

It was not Dion Myers’ day, as he struggled to score just two runs before he was dismissed lbw by Musoko at 62 for two after 11 overs. Mountaineers were then in trouble as the left-handed opener Baxton Gopito hit a six and was then caught off Malcolm Chikuwa for 28; 68 for three.

Joylord Gumbie, batting at No 4 in this match, was next out, Evans again being involved as the catcher off the bowling of Musoko for 11, with the score 82 for four.

Mountaineers now needed one of their team to play a major innings, but it didn’t happen. Gary Chirimuuta batted positively for a while, scoring 34 off 42 balls, but at 126 for five he was caught off Zhawi, and at 143 Chikuwa removed Masakadza for 16.

Akshay Patel did his best, hitting 29 off 32 balls, but he was caught off Ziwira at 168 for seven in the 33rd over. The defensive John Masara and Nyauchi, more aggressive, were not giving in, and they settled into a determined eighth-wicket partnership that took the score past 200.

The end came quickly, though, as the stand came to an unfortunate end, Masara being run out by Chirawu for 14, scored off 44 balls, to make the score 205 for eight wickets.

In the next over Ziwira finished the match, as he had Nyauchi caught — by Evans — off the fifth ball for 23, and then dismissed the last man, Tendai Chatara, with his final ball, the innings coming to a sudden close at 208.

This gave Ziwira his team’s best bowling figures of three wickets for 52, while Chikuwa and Musoko took two each.