LOGAN CUP MATCH: SOUTHERN ROCKS v MID-WEST RHINOS
Day 2: Wednesday 7 November, at Masvingo Sports Club
Close of play: Southern Rocks (149 and 34/2) v Mid-West Rhinos (398/9 dec)
Despite some sterling efforts from their seam bowlers, Southern Rocks had another bad day at Masvingo Sports Club and, unless their batsmen show a great deal of the resilience they showed in their last match at Harare Sports Club, they seem doomed to a three-day defeat.
A superb century by Brendan Taylor of Mid-West Rhinos dominated the day’s play, and with help from a less spectacular century from the Essex professional Jaik Mickleburgh, took Mid-West 298 runs ahead on the first innings – a lead which by the close looked like being enough for an innings victory.
The morning’s play was a game of patience, as Mid-West Rhinos resumed on their overnight score of 98 for one wicket. The Southern Rocks seamers bowled a tight line and length, while the batsmen for the most part took no risks and waited for their occasional opportunities to score. Mark Vermeulen looked to be more aggressive, and paid the penalty: with 33 to his credit, he slashed at a ball from the impressive debutant Cuthbert Musoko and edged a catch to the keeper.
Mickleburgh, the other overnight batsman, reached his fifty off 149 balls and continued to keep his head down. Mid-West Rhinos took the lead with two wickets down and showed no inclination to change their methods before lunch, Brendan Taylor making a very cautious start to his innings. At lunch they had reached 183 for two, Taylor on 25.
After the break, Taylor decided it was time to accelerate, and off the first over of the afternoon session he hammered four fours off an over from Tendai Chisoro. Shortly afterwards, he reached his fifty off 78 balls, with the spinners quite helpless to maintain the stranglehold the seamers had established. It looked at one stage as if Taylor might beat Mickleburgh to his century, but the Englishman arrived there off 240 balls. Taylor then hit Roy Kaia for two successive fours to reach that landmark in the same over, off 104 balls, with successive hits for four, four and six.
Southern Rocks’ switch to spin, though perhaps necessary with the seamers tired on a hot day and the second new ball approaching, was quite disastrous. By the time they were eventually banished to the outfield, Peter Burgoyne, Chisoro and Kaia between them had bowled 13 overs for 108 runs and taken all the pressure off Mid-West Rhinos.
Both batsmen were on 112 when Tinashe Panyangara finally broke through with the second new ball and trapped Mickleburgh leg-before-wicket. He had faced 259 balls and hit 13 fours. Mickleburgh’s third-wicket partnership with Taylor was worth 187 and the total was now 304 for three.
The next man, Malcolm Waller, with few runs to his name this season, clearly decided that the solution was to hit his way back to form, and took 11runs off the first four balls he faced, mostly through the off-side. However, he had scored only 16 off 10 balls when Panyangara won another lbw decision against him.
A third lbw decision, this time in favour of Musoko, removed Steve Trenchard for one. The score was now 321 for five.
Taylor fell on the stroke of tea, reverse-sweeping a ball from Kaia gently to backward point. He made 132 off 140 balls, with 18 sixes and three fours. Of his knock, 107 runs were made during the afternoon session. The Zimbabwe captain left his side on 356 for six.
After tea, Rhinos batted on for an hour and finally declared at the fall of the ninth wicket at 398, Neville Madziva finishing unbeaten on 23. Musoko took the bowling honours with four for 63, and was well supported by Panyangara and Tawanda Mupariwa.
Southern Rocks faced a massive task as they went in a second time 249 runs behind, and immediately lost Roy Kaia, trapped lbw to Edward Rainsford off the first ball of the innings.
Alister Maregwede began positively but, as in the first innings, the longer he stayed the slower he became, and he fell – another lbw victim – this time to Mike Chinouya. He went for 10. Ben Slater, the Derbyshire professional , as dogged as ever, saw out the rest of the day’s play with the night-watchman Trevor Garwe.