LOGAN CUP MATCH: MOUNTAINEERS v MID-WEST RHINOS
Day 3: 22 November 2012, at Mutare Sports Club
Result: Mid-West Rhinos (151 and 247) lost to Mountaineers (299 and 100/2) by eight wickets.
Mountaineers duly completed the Logan Cup victory that had appeared almost inevitable at the close of the second day at Mutare Sports Club, although with rather more trouble than they had expected.
Their main obstacle was Brendan Taylor, who completed a fine fighting century for Mid-West Rhinos, although Mountaineers were perhaps also at fault for taking victory too much for granted. In the end, they had a target of 100 to chase, which they managed just before tea for the loss of their openers.
Mid-West Rhinos resumed in the morning on 76 for five in their second innings, still 72 runs behind, with all their batsmen of repute gone apart from Taylor, who had 13. The way they had batted so far in this match suggested the game would most likely be over before lunch. Mountaineers appeared to think so.
“Careless” is probably too strong a word for their approach, but they did not take the field with a fierce determination to crush the opposition and make sure there was no comeback.
Taylor was in top form from the start, playing some audacious reverse-sweeps against the leg-spinner Natsai M’shangwe. His partner Simon Mugava kept his end up well, but still took advantage of all loose balls on offer. Within an hour, the deficit had been erased and Mountaineers were getting worried. The pair put on 99 for the sixth wicket until Mugava (28) finally edged a low catch into the slips off Tiripano, the score now being 174 for six. Taylor at that point was on 82.
This was a major breakthrough, as Mid-West Rhinos have a notoriously fragile tail. Neville Madziva was caught at the wicket, again off Tiripano, for six. Edward Rainsford stayed longest of the rest, seeing Taylor to his century off 151 balls. He made 10 before driving a catch to mid-off off M’shangwe, and Richard Muzhange was caught at silly mid-off first ball. The last man, Mike Chinouya – who has a career batting average of four – saved the hat-trick and hung on nobly while Taylor went on the attack, hitting Tiripano for two successive sixes over wide long-on.
The bowler finally had his revenge as Taylor, aiming another big hit to leg, was bowled leg stump for 133, having scored more than half the total of 247. He faced 173 balls and hit 17 fours and 2 sixes. Tiripano was the most successful bowler with four for 76, while Calum Price, who had no success during the morning, had three for 59.
Early in the afternoon, then, Mountaineers were left with exactly 100 runs to make to win. Rainsford again used the new ball to deadly effect, removing the openers Dan Hodgson for six and Tinotenda Mawoyo for 16.
But Mid-West Rhinos were handicapped by the absence of Chinouya and Madziva through injury and could not maintain the pressure. It was left to the usual firm of Hamilton Masakadza (47 not out) and Mark Pettini (31 not out) to take Mountaineers through to victory, rather later than they expected when play started.