Eagles Denied Victory As Gutsy Stars Force Draw
Harare Metropolitan Eagles – 231 and 533-9 declared in 96 overs (Chamu Chibhabha 117, Cephas Zhuwao 106, Elton Chigumbura 95, Regis Chakabva 79; Brandon Mavuta 4/158, Tarisai Musakanda 2/54, Tinashe Muchawaya 2/73 )
Rising Stars – 339 and 216-7 in 75.3 overs (Ryan Burl 72*, Tony Munyonga 71, Tarisai Musakanda 23; Cephas Zhuwao 2/20, Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi 2/26, Tapiwa Mufudza 2/78)
Ryan Burl, not out with 72, played another fine inning at Takashinga Sports Club on Sunday that saved his team from defeat at the hands of Harare Metropolitan Eagles.
He was assisted by Tony Munyonga, who scored 71, and the loss of 35 minutes’ play due to rain at a critical stage of the match.
Despite their overnight score of 519 for seven wickets and a lead of 411 runs, Eagles decided to continue their innings on the final morning.
As it turned out, this delay may have cost them victory.
They lost their new batsman Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi to the first ball of the day, bowled by Brandon Mavuta.
Tapiwa Mufudza scored two before skying a ball from Tinashe Muchawaya to mid-on, and at the end of that over, the third of the day, Eagles declared at 533 for nine wickets, off only 96 overs, with Trevor Garwe not out with 18.
Rising Stars were left needing a hypothetical 426 runs to win.
Mavuta was the most successful bowler, though expensive, with four wickets for 158, while there were two wickets each to Muchawaya and Musakanda.
Stars opened their innings with Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Tafadzwa Tsiga, against the bowling of Tafadzwa Muzarawetu and Munyaradzi.
In his second over Munyaradzi removed Tsiga for four, thanks to a good low catch in the gully by Regis Chakabva.
Kamunhukamwe made 20 before driving a catch off Munyaradzi to mid-off; 33 for two.
The score had moved to 50 at lunch, with Tarisai Musakanda on 15 and Tony Munyonga six.
Musakanda was caught at slip off Mufudza when he had 23; 60 for three.
Burl came in and clearly intended to be around until the end of the day, as he dug in deep with Munyonga.
None of the bowlers was particularly threatening, and the batsmen just played within themselves, hitting the bad balls well but not trying to force the pace.
Munyonga reached his fifty just before tea, off 117 balls.
At the interval, the score was 142 for three, with Munyonga on 55 and Burl 35.
Burl too reached a half-century in due time, it taking him 107 balls.
Both batsmen were now becoming increasingly aggressive and at this stage had the measure of the attack.
Unfortunately, Munyonga perhaps became a little overconfident, and when he should have been making sure of saving the match and scoring his own century, he drove at a ball from Tino Mutombodzi, an unnecessary stroke, and hit a catch straight to mid-on.
He had scored 71 off 145 balls, with seven fours and a six, and the partnership had added 118 runs; 178 for four, with several inexperienced batsmen to come.
Then came unexpected rain.
After a brief shower which did not stop play, a heavier fall began at 3.55pm, forcing the players to leave the field.
The score at this point was 198 for four, with Burl on 67 and Thamsanqa Nunu on seven.
Thirty-five minutes’ play were lost before the game restarted, in dull light.
Almost immediately Nunu, without adding to the score, nudged a ball from Mufudza into the hands of slip.
Three overs later Mohammad Faraz Akram followed in a similar manner, caught at slip off Cephas Zhuwao without scoring.
At 199 for six Rising Stars were in danger of slipping to defeat again, in spite of the respite the rain had given them.
Mavuta scored nine before a yorker from Zhuwao bowled him; 214 for seven, and the tension was mounting, as Njabulo Ncube joined Burl, now on 71.
However, they played out four further overs before the umpires decided that play could not continue because of bad light, and Rising Stars escaped with a draw.
The final score was 216 for seven, Burl on 72 and Ncube on one.
There were two wickets each for Munyaradzi, Mufudza and Zhuwao.