At the start of the day a draw had looked very likely, even if the rain kept away, but Mashonaland Eagles approached the day with such a negative attitude that they played into the hands of the visitors, who bowled them out soon after lunch for 165, with Mike Chinouya bowling superbly to take five wickets. But Mid-West Rhinos were scarcely able to start the chase before the weather struck yet again.
Mashonaland Eagles, who resumed on 82 for two wickets overnight, immediately made it quite clear that, much as they needed the six points for victory to keep up with Matabeleland Tuskers, they were intent on a draw and were not interested in quick runs to try to put pressure on Mid-West Rhinos in the fourth innings. There was no run in the first twelve minutes, and then Michael Thornely, trying to shoulder arms, edged a catch to the keeper off Mike Chinouya, departing for 32. His overnight partner Ryan Bishop quickly followed, also caught at the wicket off Chinouya, driving outside the off stump for 33, and the score had declined to 89 for four.
The captain, Sikandar Raza, forsook his natural game and dropped anchor, but at the other end there was s steady decline of wickets with little aggressive intent, until the seventh wicket went down for 126. Nathan Waller then came in and played some positive strokes, running up 16 off 22 balls before running himself out looking for an unlikely single. At lunch the score was 161 for eight and Mid-West Rhinos appeared to have a significant advantage – if the rain kept off.
Raza, 22 off 70 balls at lunch, decided afterwards that with only two uncertain wickets left, he should open out. He hit a superb straight drive for four, but then skied a catch to midwicket for 26; the batsmen crossed and Douglas Hondo was caught at slip off the next delivery for 5, the team being all out for 165. Chinouya deserved his reward of five wickets for 45 runs. Mid-West Rhinos were set 161 to win in just under two sessions.
The pitch, rather uneven and cracked, helped the bowlers, though not extravagantly, but the greatest threat to Mid-West Rhinos was the possibility of rain, which had cut short play on each of the first three days, and that would certainly be on their minds. Vusi Sibanda and Steve Marillier gave Mid-West Rhinos a brisk start until Sibanda was out lbw for the second time in the match for the folly of padding up and attempting no stroke to Garwe, for 9.
The skies now began to darken and Mashonaland Eagles looked for ways to waste time. The batsmen for their part seemed to adopt the ‘que sera sera’ attitude and made no great effort to speed things up. The umpires to their credit for once kept the players on the field for as long as possible, but when a drizzle started in addition to the bad light they had to go. The score was 34 for one off ten overs.
Almost inevitably, the drizzle became heavy rain and it was obvious that Mid-West Rhinos would be denied the victory they deserved. The draw ends their last realistic hope of winning the Logan Cup this