At Queens Sports Club, Saturday 20 October, 2012
Tuskers (294/4) beat MidWest Rhinos (162) by 132 runs.
Tuskers finally gave their faithful Bulawayo following something to cheer about, handing Mid-West Rhinos their first defeat in this season’s 50-over competition.
Brendon Taylor won the toss and that was about all that went the Rhinos’ way. Tuskers massive 294 was largely thanks to a 113-run unbroken stand between skipper Keegan Meth, 58 not out, and Craig Ervine, 106 not out. The last six overs went for a massive 89 runs.
The Rhinos run-chase got off to the worst possible start as their star cast of Taylor, Vusimuzi Sibanda and Malcolm Waller was back in the hut with very little on the board. Sibanda and Waller were trapped leg-before-wicket in consecutive balls by Glenn Querl who was responsible for the first three wickets to fall.
Earlier in the day, after being inserted on what appeared a helpful track, Tuskers got off to a slow but steady start, importantly not losing wickets upfront. Brian Chari finally delivered on his potential with a good 62 runs which included five fours and three massive sixes. Terrence Duffin weighed in with a steady 26. The fall of Duffin brought Tuskers’ form player Ervine to the crease. He batted masterfully to stroke his way to his unbeaten 106 at better than a run a ball. He lost Chari and was joined briefly by brother Sean (18), and Charles Coventry (8), before Meth took it upon himself to play a captain’s innings.
Tuskers appeared to be going nowhere in a hurry with the batting powerplay only earning 18 runs. Meth and Irvine then took the Rhinos’ bowlers to the cleaners, with Edward Rainsford going for 23 in his eighth over. Graeme Cremer was the pick of the bowlers with one for 41 off his 10 overs.
Set the daunting target to win, there was always the feeling that Rhinos with their powerful batting line-up could chase anything at anytime. However, Querl had other ideas, removing the top three national players with the score only on 22.
Mark Vermeulen then took Meth for 14 in his third over and just when it seemed like he might do something special, he was involved in a mix-up with Cremer and was run out for 31 by a spectacular direct hit from Goodwill Mamhiyo. The tusk from then on was always going to be a big one with an escalating run-rate and tumbling wickets. Jaik Mickleburg, batting at seven because of an injury picked up in the field, fought a lone battle to finish unbeaten on 46. Querl was the pick of bowlers with figures of five wickets for 26 runs in eight overs.
It is the hope of many in Matabeleland that the victory will kick-start the Tuskers season.