At Kwekwe Sports Club, Sat 12 January 2013 No Result
The decider match for the Mid-West Rhinos was delayed due to wet conditions at Kwekwe Sports Club.
The umpires reduced the match after lunch to 27 overs per side. Tuskers won the toss and decided to bat on a good batting track. Edward Rainsford opened the bowling for the Rhinos from the southern end and bowled Keegan Meth with the first ball of the innings. Bilal Shafayat came in at number three and was bowled by Rainsford for just two runs in the third over.
Rain came after only 11.2 overs were bowled with the total at 53 runs for two wickets.
No further play was possible due to a wet outfield.
At Mutare Sports Club, Thursday 10 January 2013 Result: Mid-West Rhinos (115/9) beat Mountaineers (99) by 16 runs.
The excellent batting of the Pro50 match on Wednesday was followed by equally poor batting for the Twenty20 match on Thursday.
A poor total of 115 runs by Mid-West Rhinos was too much for Mountaineers, who could muster only 98. There was good bowling and fielding, but there was no excuse for the feeble batting of both teams.
When the match began, Mid-West Rhinos, with nine points, had only a minute chance of overtaking Mountaineers, with eighteen points, and with only one more match left. It soon appeared that that chance had disappeared.
Mountaineers put on their off-spinner Tapiwa Mufudza to bowl the first over, a plan that succeeded as he persuaded Jaik Mickleburgh to hit a ball down the throat of deep square leg.
Then came three overs of ascendancy for Mid-West Rhinos as Vusimuzi Sibanda and Brendan Taylor flayed the bowling. But they were ‘death or glory’ innings when their team needed one of these two senior batsmen to stay on and play a major innings, and there was to be no glory to either. They both drove catches to mid-off, for 20 and 17 respectively, leaving their team on 45 for three in the sixth over.
Malcolm Waller and Peter Moor tried to consolidate by adding 36 in five-and-a-half overs, but both got out in the teens, and the downhill slide continued, with the weak tail living up to its reputation. Edward Rainsford managed 10 not out, but without any of the boundaries that have at times made him famous. The total was a mangy-looking 115 for nine wickets.
The bowlers shared the wickets almost evenly, the best figures being two for 14 by Tendai Chatara off his four overs.
Mountaineers were not under great pressure with such a target, so they just cruised at the start of the innings. Mark Pettini had most of the strike and the runs, with Hamilton Masakadza having scored just five off nine balls from a total of 27 when he was dismissed. Shortly afterwards, however, Pettini skied a catch to depart for 24 – which was destined to be the highest innings of the match - and Mountaineers were in danger of letting their opponents back into the game.
Timycen Maruma hit a brisk 18, including a huge six out of the ground and almost into the road. But soon after he was out, Kevin Kasuza was brilliantly run out by Richard Muzhange. Kudzai Sauramba was trapped leg-before-wicket and the score was 59 for five in the 12th over, with the required run rate mounting.
After 15 overs, the score was only 74 for six, with more than eight runs an over now needed.
The batsmen were getting desperate and Mid-West Rhinos fielded superbly, increasing the pressure. With two overs left, the last two wickets needed to score 28 to win. Natsai M’shangwe made a gallant attempt, with 21 not out off 16 balls, but it was too late for Mountaineers, who lost a match they should have won.
Mathematically, Mid-West Rhinos still have a chance of playing in the final, but their poor batting in this match so damaged their overall run rate that the feat is next to impossible.
At Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Thursday 10 January, 2013 Result: Mashonaland Eagles (184/4) beat Matabeleland Tuskers (161/5) by 12 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis system.
Fantastic! The only way to describe the match between Tuskers and Eagles.
Having set a mammoth 184 thanks largely to the unbeaten 46 off just 20 balls from Regis Chakabva, Eagles must have thought they had done enough to bat Tuskers out of the match.
Charles Coventry – 58 runs from 31 balls including 24 off one Raymond Price over – made sure Tuskers made a game of it.
Eagles won the toss and elected to bat, and bat they did. Chamunorwa Chibhabha finally lived up to his potential with a well played 78 off 57 balls. He hit three massive sixes in his knock. Fellow opener Sikandar Raza Butt scored 23 at a run a ball. Chibhabha kept going and the scoreboard ticking over at a rate of knots. They appeared to lose momentum when a few wickets fell as they tried to up the scoring rate, with Steve Chimamhiwa, playing his first game of the season, picking up two quick wickets.
Enter Chakabva and he struck the ball sweetly to all parts. He was ably supported by Forster Mutizwa who posted 19 runs off 10 balls. The pair took 23 off the last over bowled by Njabulo Ncube.
All the bowlers suffered in the carnage. Chimamhiwa, two for 19 in three overs, was the pick of the much-changed Tuskers bowling attack.
Tuskers, needing to go at more than nine runs an over from the start, lost Brian Chari early. Skipper Gavin Ewing kept going, ending undefeated on 72 off 59 balls but with wickets falling around him, his effort fell just short of getting his side home.
After the downpour, Tuskers needed to get 82 in six overs. Try as they did, the required rate was sliding out of reach and eventually proved too much.
Tuskers still have only the one win in this year’s competition.
At Mutare Sports Club, Wednesday 9 January 2013 Result: Mid-West Rhinos (225/6) lost to Mountaineers (200/3) by 7 wickets.
A beleaguered Mid-West Rhinos team went down to Mountaineers in a rain-affected Pro50match at Mutare Sports Club today.
It is a defeat that could cost them dearly. Rhinos began the match at the top of the table, but were overtaken by Matabeleland Tuskers who won in Bulawayo. Rhinos may also suffer a points penalty for inadvertently playing Peter Moor earlier in the season when he was not officially qualified. If so, this may well cost them their chance of a place in the final on 19 January, let alone a home advantage.
For their part, Mountaineers are out of contention for the final, but outstanding batting won them the match after Mid-West Rhinos had made the early running.
Mid-West Rhinos made good running right from the start. Vusimuzi Sibanda soon showed fine form, finding the boundary regularly, and it was a surprise when, with 27 off 36 balls, he pulled a ball straight to midwicket where Kevin Kasuza pulled a superb catch almost off his bootlaces. Brendan Taylor ran to a fluent 35 off 31 balls, but just after a brief spell off the field because of a drizzle, he was smartly stumped.
Malcolm Waller was another to make a fine start without going on to anything big. He matched his captain with 35 off 33 balls before he drove a ball from the off-spinner Tapiwa Mufudza hard and straight, only for the bowler to take an excellent low catch. The opener Jaik Mickleburgh was still there, anchoring the innings, but now he began to open up. However, on 49 he was caught off a skier to deep midwicket. At this point Mid-West Rhinos were 164 for four in the 31st over.
Rain stopped play again three overs later at 180 for four, but play soon resumed, with Peter Moor quickly out for 14, including a big six over square leg. Mountaineers now pressed in and the scoring rate slumped. The 200 came up in the 40th over, as Steven Trenchard and Mluleki Nkala gradually began to take control – but then came more and heavier rain sweeping in from the Bvumba Mountains.
This forced the closure of the Mid-West Rhinos innings at 225 for six, after 43 overs. The two not-out batsmen had 33 and 13 respectively. The spinners Mufudza and Natsai M’shangwe had two wickets each, but they were expensive, and the most economical bowler was Shingirai Masakadza, surprisingly left out of the squad of players to tour West Indies, who had one for 26 off eight overs.
When play finally restarted at 1545 hours, Duckworth-Lewis dictated a target for Mountaineers of 200 runs in 28 overs – a required run-rate of more than seven an over on an outfield slowed by the rain.
Mountaineers had to go for the runs from the start, and Mark Pettini was fortunate to be dropped on one by a combination of wicketkeeper and first slip. Hamilton Masakadza and Pettini were both in superb form and the bowlers wilted before their assault. The 50 went up in the seventh over, and Masakadza reached his own fifty off 31. The team hundred was reached in the twelfth over.
The stand realized 111 in less than 14 overs before Masakadza drove a catch to mid-off, after scoring 62 off 37 balls and bringing the required run rate down to six. Pettini, the Essex player, now took it upon himself to bat through and see his team home to victory. He did a fine job, playing the good balls watchfully and picking out the bad ones to hammer to the boundary. Greg Lamb proved a reliable partner, playing a supporting role at first and then opening out as victory became more certain. It came with 3.4 overs to spare, the result of outstanding batting. It is futile to speculate on what might have happened had there been no rain, but Mid-West Rhinos will no doubt be doing just that.
Pettini finished unbeaten with 85 off 73 balls (eight fours, two sixes), and Lamb on 33 off 36. Neville Madziva was the most successful bowler with two for 32.
At the end of this match, Matabeleland Tuskers have 22 points and Mid-West Rhinos 21. The two teams will meet at Kwekwe Sports Club on Saturday. Mashonaland Eagles have finished their programme and have 19 points – but if Mid-West Rhinos lose on Saturday and incur a points penalty, they may well contest the final after all.