For the second time this year, following his two centuries in the Test match against Bangladesh, the Zimbabwe and Mid-West Rhinos captain Brendan Taylor scored two centuries in the same match as he led his franchise team to a hard-earned draw against Mashonaland Eagles at Harare Sports Club.
When rain ended the match early, he was undefeated with exactly 150, scored off 221 balls, to follow his 102 in the first innings of the Logan Cup match.
Mid-West Rhinos resumed their second innings at 61 for two wickets on the fourth and final morning, the incumbent batsmen being Bothwell Chapungu with 26 and Taylor with 18. Taurai Muzarabani worked up a fair degree of pace early on and had Chapungu caught at the wicket for 30, the score being 77 for three.
Taylor, with Malcolm Waller his new partner, was quite untroubled by any of the bowlers, handling them with the greatest of ease, and he went to his fifty off 84 balls. Then came the one great blot on his innings, as he was responsible for the run-out of Waller for 20.
Waller pushed a ball on the offside, and Taylor called for a quick single, which was totally unnecessary in that situation. Waller refused, but Taylor still ran through. With the ball being returned to the bowler’s end, Waller nobly put the good of the team first and deliberately sacrificed himself to save his captain’s wicket.
This error of Taylor’s could easily have cost his team the match, as there is not much batting to come after Waller. However, Nyasha Mayavo came in next and the score at lunch was 159 for four, still 90 runs behind, with Taylor on 80.
After the lunch interval, Taylor reached his second century of the match off 141 balls, while Mayavo fought well to make 40, playing mainly a defensive game but picking out the loose balls well to score from. Their partnership added 92 and on Mayavo’s dismissal Mid-West Rhinos were now just 19 runs from saving the innings defeat.
Shortly after that Taylor nearly fell himself, driving uppishly and the ball landing just short of mid-off. Had he gone then, Mid-West Rhinos would probably have lost. But he stayed in with a very dogged Neville Madziva as his new partner, and at tea the score was 261 for five, 12 runs ahead with Taylor on 138.
At 3.40 the light grew bad and rain was imminent, so the players left the field, with the score 280 for five, and Taylor on 150. Heavy rain soon followed and the match was abandoned as a draw. At this stage only 23 more overs were due to be bowled, so it is likely that Mid-West Rhinos would have forced a draw in any case, as they were now 31 runs ahead and still had five wickets in hand.
Madziva had played his part nobly, facing 72 balls and remaining unbeaten with nine.
Of the bowlers, Vitori was not at his best, but Muzarabani bowled very well at times, taking three wickets for 60.
But the match was dominated by Taylor’s two centuries and the magnificent 240 of Regis Chakabva.