Mash Eagles turned their fortunes around in the last session of day three when Elton Chigumbura (53) and Mutizwa formed a 115-run partnership. Going into the fourth and final day on Thursday, Eagles had an overnight total off 141 for three, trailing by 197-runs. Mutizwa was unbeaten on 70 but was unfortunate to lose his partner in the early overs of the final day when Chigumbura was caught behind off the bowling of Tinashe Panyangara. Trevor Garwe was sent in to bat ahead of Regis Chakabva. He made 39 runs. Chakabva was the most recognised batsman left and his departure for 10 when the Eagles needed 87 runs to win with four wickets remaining seemed to signal their defeat.
Young Nathan Waller joined Mutizwa and immediately took the fight to the Rocks, hitting three sixes and seven boundaries for a quick-fire 53 runs from just 48 deliveries. Mutizwa’s ton is his third in his first-class career. It came off 297 balls and included 25 boundaries.
There was a fair bit of good bowling in the match, mostly by the fast bowlers. With Mutizwa’s batting, they were the other factor that tossed the match back and forth between the two teams. Panyangara showed he was the most lethal Rocks’ bowler, taking three wickets in both innings for 76 runs – at an economy rate of 2.48 per over. Mark Mbofana matched Panyangara’s wickets, claiming five for 41 runs in the first innings and one for 19 in the second.
The victory earned the Eagles six points on the log and a point for the Rocks for a first-innings lead bonus.
Southern Rocks can derive a lot of positives from this match. These include the balance in their bowling attack as well as a reliable and stable top and middle order. And so they stand a good chance for a positive result when they host the MidWest Rhinos next week in Masvingo. Meanwhile, Mash Eagles will be in high spirits as they will be hosted by the Mountaineers at Mutare Sports Club.