LOGAN CUP MATCH: MID-WEST RHINOS v MATABELELAND TUSKERS
Day 4: 30 November 2012, at Kwekwe Sports Club
Result: Mid-West Rhinos (65 and 491) lost to Matabeleland Tuskers (216 and 346/7) by three wickets.
A magnificent sixth-wicket partnership of 186 between Sean Williams and Charles Coventry, who both scored centuries, maintained Matabeleland Tuskers’ one hundred per cent winning record in the Logan Cup competition, giving them a full house of wins over the other four franchises at the half-way stage of the competition. Needing 341 runs to win, they admittedly faced a depleted bowling attack on a flat pitch, but they had to fight back from a score of 105 for five. In the end, Matabeleland Tuskers showed the fighting spirit of champions and it would take a major upset now to deprive them of a third successive Logan Cup trophy.
Matabeleland Tuskers resumed their second innings at 91 for four on another hot, sunny morning, with Sean Ervine on 55 and Williams on 10. The scoreline at this stage favoured Mid-West Rhinos, although Matabeleland Tuskers still had plenty of batting to come. The pitch had next to nothing in it for the bowlers once the shine had left the ball.
Ervine, who had looked so dangerous the previous evening, never got going at all, and spent almost 20 minutes without adding to his score before edging a ball from Edward Rainsford to the keeper. This brought in Charles Coventry to join Williams, and the two of them showed positive intent from the start. The score was soon hustling along, both of them taking full toll of the bad ball, and Williams reached his fifty off 90 balls. The depleted Mid-West Rhinos bowling struggled; Rainsford always commanded much respect, Richard Muzhange and Mluleki Nkala did not do too badly, but the ‘support’ bowling was no more than cannon fodder, inaccurate and expensive. The batsmen prospered, often getting three or four loose balls an over, and by lunch time Matabeleland Tuskers were favourites to win. The score then was 265 for five, Williams on 97, Coventry on 47, and only another 105 runs remained for victory.
Coventry reached his fifty (66 balls) off the first ball after the interval, with a boundary through point, off Rainsford. Two more boundaries followed, and this was probably the point Mid-West Rhinos decided that the match was lost. So confident was Coventry now that he could even hit Rainsford all over the field, and he continued to do so, including a six over long-on, while Williams remained stuck on 97.
A scrambled single finally brought Williams his century off 137 balls, and then the slaughter continued. The stand was eventually broken at 291, after adding 186 runs, as Williams was superbly caught by the leaping Vusi Sibanda at mid-on. He made 118 off 153 balls, with 14 fours and a six. Celebrations were muted – although the last four wickets needed to make 50 runs, the Mid-West Rhinos team had clearly already given the match up as lost.
Keegan Meth fell for 23 with 9 runs still needed, Coventry then being on 96. There were some scrambled runs to ensure Coventry reached his century, which came off 130 balls. Then he drove a ball from Simon Mugava straight for six to bring about a thoroughly well-deserved victory, the second time this season they have scored over 300 in the fourth innings to win a match.