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Monday, April 22, 2024
Home#263ChatMoor, Waller power Rhinos to victory over Eagles

Moor, Waller power Rhinos to victory over Eagles

Harare Metropolitan Eagles – 174 all out in 42.1 overs (Chamu Chibhabha 59, Kudakwashe Bhasikoro 24, Nathan Waller 21; Graeme Cremer 3/25, Neville Madziva 2/30, Mike Chinouya 2/38)

Midlands Rhinos – 176-8 in 37.2 overs (PJ Moor 67, Malcolm Waller 57, Graeme Cremer 29*; Tino Mutombodzi 3/7, Brighton Zhawi 3/48)

Midlands Rhinos won by two wickets

A superb century partnership between Malcolm Waller and PJ Moor, who both scored fifties in a crisis for Midlands Rhinos, was in the end the main factor in their narrow two-wicket victory over Harare Metropolitan Eagles in Kwekwe today.

It was a match that displayed the human fallibility of cricketers even more than usual, with batting collapses, needless gifting of valuable wickets and poor fielding quite commonplace — but these ingredients did result in an interesting match where the result was in doubt until the last ball.

This match was played between the bottom two teams on the Pro50 Championship table – the winner would still have an outside chance of winning the competition if Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers did not win in Mutare.

However, the Tuskers victory over Mountaineers settled the matter, and Rhinos can only celebrate having moved from bottom place up to second, with a match to play.

On a fresh sunny morning at Kwekwe Sports Club, Rhinos won the toss and put Eagles in to bat on a pitch that had some early movement for the seamers before flattening out mid-morning.

Neville Madziva and Tinashe Panyangara opened the bowling to Regis Chakabva and Chamu Chibhabha.

The bowling was tight, the batsmen had to play with caution, and Madziva soon got his reward with a fine delivery that moved away from Chakabva (2) and took the edge of his bat for a catch to the keeper; eight for one in the fifth over.

In his next over Tino Mutombodzi was out in almost exactly the same manner, edging another fine delivery from Madziva to the keeper; 12 for two in the seventh over.

The first boundary did not come until the ninth over, when Chibhabha drove a slightly overpitched ball from Madziva straight for four to take the score to 19 for two.

Panyangara was even more niggardly, bowling his first five overs for only six runs, before slipping in a slow full toss that Chibhabha hit wide of mid-on for four.

The batsmen now grew in confidence, helped by some rather sloppy fielding.

Sikandar Raza was settling into a very useful partnership with Chibhabha, but just as Eagles were starting to pull ahead Raza cut a ball uppishly from the medium-paced Tafara Chingwara, and was caught low down at backward point for 17; 70 for three in the 18th over.

Chibhabha continued to play a very sensible innings, showing how he has matured during the past season in constructing an innings, working the ball round the field and playing spin bowling; his only weakness was in his running between wickets.

He reached his fifty off 63 balls, with Joylord Gumbie as his new partner – they brought up the team hundred in the 23rd over, with three wickets down.

Mike Chinouya struck back with the wicket of Gumbie, who miscued a big hit and skyed a catch to the keeper for 12; 108 for four in the 25th over.

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Chibhabha’s fine innings came to an unfortunate end at 58, as Elton Chigumbura sent him back as he started off for a risky second run, and was run out at the bowler’s end; 115 for five in the 27th over.

The very next ball Chigumbura pulled a delivery from Chinouya to deepish square leg and was well caught low down for four, and Eagles were back in trouble at 115 for six.

This meant Nathan Waller was the only proven batsman left, and he was now partnered by Kudakwashe Bhasikoro.

Madziva returned, only to be pulled fiercely for six by Waller, the ball bursting through the hands of the leaping boundary fielder, a very difficult chance.

In Madziva’s next over he repeated the shot, less powerfully, and this time the fielder put down a fairly straight-forward chance.

Graeme Cremer, however, tangled up Waller and had him groping and caught at slip for 21 off 15 balls, the score then being 148 for seven in the 33rd over, with no proven batting to come.

Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi swung at his third ball from Cremer and was bowled by the googly, without addition to the score.

Bhasikoro surprised everybody by driving a ball from Waller over long-on for six.

He played a useful innings, looking capable of better things, but he lost Brighton Zhawi, lbw to Waller for six.

With the last man, Cuthbert Musoko, at the crease, Bhasikoro went for a big hit off Cremer and skyed a catch for 24, ending the innings for 174.

Cremer took three for 25 to finish with the best figures, while Madziva took two for 30 and Chinouya two for 38.

Emirates

When Eagles went in, Musoko and Zhawi opened the bowling to Bothwell Chapungu and Solomon Mire.

Chapungu (1) quickly lashed Zhawi’s second ball into the covers and was caught; five for one wicket.

Nyasha Mayavo faced just three balls without scoring, and then a superb yorker from Zhawi knocked out his middle stump.

At five for two in the second over, Rhinos were in deeper trouble than Eagles had been.

They sank further into the mire when Prince Masvaure, before he had scored, unwisely slashed at a ball from Zhawi outside his off stump and edged it to the keeper; 10 for three.

At the other end Mire looked solid and in fine form after his century in the previous match, choosing three loose balls to dispatch effectively for four, but appearances were deceptive.

In the next over he played all over a fine delivery from Musoko and was bowled for 12; 14 for four in the fifth over.

Malcolm Waller and Moor now came together, and Waller immediately hammered a ball from Zhawi through the covers for four.

Waller was determined to dominate the bowling, but he also ran the risk of hitting the ball in the air and being caught.

Moor adopted the same policy, and the opening bowlers who had done so well now began to suffer, 35 runs coming off three consecutive overs before Musoko gave way to Munyaradzi, who bowled a maiden over to Waller.

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In his next over Munyaradzi had Waller dropped on the midwicket boundary, to continue a day of poor fielding by both teams.

Munyaradzi stemmed the flow of runs with his fine accurate bowling, but the bowlers at the other end had more trouble.

Moor hit the left-arm spinner Bhasikoro for two successive fours to bring up the hundred in the 20th over, and then a six two balls later to bring up his fifty off 46 balls.

Munyaradzi came off after bowling seven overs for 13 runs, but the other Eagles bowlers were not in his class.

This superb partnership put on 118 runs before Moor, like Chibhabha in the morning, ran himself out, looking for a very unlikely single in the covers, being sent back and failing to get home.

He made 67 off 75 balls, with eight fours and two sixes, and the score was now 133 for five in the 28th over.

Another 42 runs were needed to win as Cremer came in to join Waller, who had allowed Moor to take command.

Waller soon reached his fifty, which came off 71 balls, but then gave his wicket away too softly before victory was assured.

Whereas he had earlier been dropped on the midwicket boundary, he was caught there with another lofted pull when he had scored 57 off 77 balls, with six fours.

Rhinos were now 157 for five after 32 overs.

The remaining batsmen seemed to have a death wish, or else they simply choked.

Madziva was stumped off Mutombodzi for two, while Panyangara went for a big hit second ball and skied a catch into the covers; 163 for eight.

Twelve were still required for victory, with the tail to accompany Cremer, who was on 19, and Eagles suddenly realised they could win after all.

Cremer did not seem immune to the pressure, as he was almost lbw to an ill-judged reverse sweep and got away with a skyer to midwicket that fell clear of the fielder, who then sent in a bad throw that gave away an overthrow.

Cremer again came close to lbw as he failed with another attempt at a big hit, but he connected with the next ball, from Bhasikoro, and hit it for six over wide long-on to win the match.

Cremer finished on 29 not out, but for a player of his experience it was a surprisingly nervy innings; his last partner Chinouya did his part by standing firm and contributing two runs.

Mutombodzi’s late burst with the ball brought him three wickets for seven runs, while Zhawi finished with three for 48, his superb early spell being spoiled somewhat when Waller and Moor hit him all over the field later on.

Munyaradzi took no wickets, but he bowled seven remarkable overs at the height of the Waller-Moor partnership, conceding only 13 runs.

The final matches of the competition take place next Tuesday, when the new Pro50 Championship winners Tuskers take on the bottom team Eagles in Harare, while Mountaineers and Rhinos play off for second place in Kwekwe.

 

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