LOGAN CUP MATCH: MOUNTAINEERS v MID-WEST RHINOS
Day 2: 21 November 2012, at Mutare Sports Club
Close of play: Mid-West Rhinos (151 and 76/5) v Mountaineers (299)
The hitherto unbeaten Mid-West Rhinos are in serious danger of a three-day defeat in their Logan Cup match at Mutare Sports Club.
Despite magnificent career-best bowling from Edward Rainsford, Mountaineers reached a total of 299, almost double the Mid-West Rhinos’ first-innings score, with the Essex professional Mark Pettini putting up his second successive century for the team.
They then reduced Mid-West Rhinos to 76 for five at the close – but Brendan Taylor is still there.
Mountaineers resumed on their overnight score of 119 for two wickets, with Hamilton Masakadza and Pettini well set on 52 and 37 respectively. Early on Masakadza edged an uppish boundary through the vacant third slip position, and proceeded to hit three more authentic boundaries off the same over from Richard Muzhange. He was looking in superb form and well set for a high score, so it came as a surprise when he suddenly missed a full-length ball from Rainsford and was trapped leg-before-wicket for 72. He faced 118 balls and hit 13 fours and a six.
Pettini’s innings was less spectacular than Masakadza’s, with fewer boundaries (eight only), but his was the higher innings, as he moved on to his century off 198 balls. He shared a partnership of 88 with Timycen Maruma, who batted well for his 48 before being caught at slip off Muzhange. The score was now 258 for five, and without a run added Pettini was caught in the gully off Rainsford, now armed with the second new ball, for exactly 100.
Rainsford bowled superbly with his new weapon, swinging the ball in for the most part, but producing an occasional deadly outswinger. The tail collapsed before him, with the exception of Shingirai Masakadza, who hit boldly amid the ruins. The last wicket fell at 299. Shingirai hit 33 – unbeaten – of the last 37 runs, off 25 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Rainsford finished with his best career figures of eight wickets for 42 runs, off 22.2 overs. He did not have the usual help from Mike Chinouya, whose elbow injury recurred, limiting him to seven overs. Mountaineers still led by 148 runs on the first innings.
Vusimuzi Sibanda and Jaik Mickleburgh began the Mid-West Rhinos second innings with confidence, in contrast to their first-innings performance. They adopted a positive approach against the bowling of Shingirai Masakadza and Donald Tiripano, reaching 31 off the first 10 overs. But then Calum Price came on to bowl and suddenly plunged their innings into disarray. A misfield allowed Sibanda a boundary off his first ball, but then Price produced a beauty that broke through the batsman’s defence and uprooted his off stump, for 22.
It was an inspired spell. Mark Vermeulen never looked comfortable in making two off 15 balls; Mickleburgh lived a little dangerously in scoring 22, and both were caught at the wicket off Price in quick succession to reduce the innings to 48 for three.
This brought Brendan Taylor and Malcolm Waller together in the knowledge that there is not too much batting to come after them.
Waller (5) edged a lifting ball from Tiripano to the keeper and the fragile middle order was exposed. Nyasha Mayavo hit two quick boundaries, but then the scoring dried up. The batsmen concentrated on defence, and there were hopes that they would hold out until the close, but Mayavo fell lbw to Shingirai Masakadza just before the close.
The total of 76 for five leaves Mid-West Rhinos still 72 runs behind, with their only hope, apart from unexpected heavy rain, being that Taylor – on 13 – can play a remarkable innings with equally remarkable support from the tail.