from John Ward
Result, Day 4: Mid-West Rhinos beat Matabeleland Tuskers by 86 runs.
Matabeleland Tuskers did not have an easy task in facing their target of 235 to win on a two-paced pitch and slow outfield, but they put up no sort of a fight on the final morning of the match and never looked like challenging, as Mid-West Rhinos swept to victory by 86 runs.
The left-arm spinner Kudakwashe Munyede did most of the damage for the victors, taking four wickets for 52 runs.
Matabeleland Tuskers began the day on 87 for three wickets. Their key batsman was the experienced Keith Dabengwa, who was in on 12 with the night-watchman, Christopher Mpofu.
The pair started positively, scoring mostly with well-placed singles, until in the fourth over of the day Dabengwa drove ill-advisedly at a ball from Michael Chinouya and hit a simple catch straight at mid-off. He had made 19 and the total was 100 for four. It was a major blow to the visitors to see their one remaining experienced batsman dismissed early on in such a manner.
The runs then dried up, as Mpofu concentrated on defence, which he rarely manages successfully being a natural slogger, but did manage to hang in on this occasion. Godwill Mamhiyo, next man in, scored a single off 17 painful balls before falling leg before wicket (lbw) to Munyede: 104 for five.
With Tawanda Mupariwa also in dour mood, the scoring rate dropped to below one an over. Six had been scored in the previous 10 overs before they decided to start scoring again. Four singles came off five balls, and then Mpofu drove a ball back to Munyede, who claimed a low return catch. Mpofu refused to walk but was eventually given out by the umpires. He made 14 off 57 balls: 112 for six.
The sad downhill slide of last season’s champions continued, as they collapsed with barely a whimper. Neville Madziva dismissed the Mupariwa brothers, Tawanda (7) and Tonny (0), with two lbw decisions off successive balls, and then Thabo Mboyi (5), attempting a drive, was well picked up low down at silly mid-off off Munyede: 122 for nine.
The last pair finally showed some spirit, and John Nyumbu lofted a ball from Munyede over long on for six. He and Steve Chimhamhiwa put on 26 together before the inevitable end, as the debutant Bright Njanji came on and had Chimhamhiwa caught at the wicket for 8, leaving Nyumbu unbeaten with 16.
It was a disappointing end for Matabeleland Tuskers, who now must have little hope of retaining the Logan Cup.