The Logan Cup match between Eagles and Tuskers ended in a draw at Harare Sports Club on Thursday, due to an unexpected afternoon storm that came when the home side needed 56 more runs for victory with six wickets left.
Eagles were thus better placed for victory, but Tuskers were by no means out of the match, and a close finish was still possible.
The final day began with Tuskers, in their second innings, on 157 for eight wickets, a lead of 186 runs over Eagles with two tail-end wickets in hand.
The incumbents, Ernest Masuku and Steve Chimhamhiwa, actually began quite well, and Trevor Garwe had the embarrassment of seeing Masuku play a beautifully timed flick off a ball on his legs for six over mid-wicket.
Garwe took his revenge in the next over, however, having Masuku caught at midwicket for 14, which actually equalled the second-top score of the innings, by Craig Ervine and Shoun Handirisi.
The score was now 175 for nine wickets, and this partnership had done enough to take the Tuskers lead to over 200, which had appeared dubious at the start of play.
This brought to the crease Thabo Mboyi, who had retired hurt before scoring the previous evening.
He did not score now either, as he sliced a ball from Tino Mutombodzi tamely to backward point and the innings was over for 181, leaving Eagles to make 211 to win.
Chimhamhiwa had played well for 13 not out; of the bowlers, Garwe and Chibhabha took three cheap wickets each, for 25 and 19 runs respectively.
Cephas Zhuwao began the Eagles chase in typical fashion, scoring nine runs, including a six over midwicket, off Chris Mpofu’s opening over.
At the other end he greeted Masuku’s bowling with a drive for six off his first ball, and scored 16 off nine balls before his partner, Chibhabha, had a chance to face.
After four overs the score was 32, but then Zhuwao (24 off 16 balls) miscued another attempted drive and was caught at deepish mid-off, Mpofu being the bowler.
Chibhabha and Regis Chakabva, two experienced players with more than 10 000 first-class runs to their credit between them, now settled in to ensure an Eagles victory.
Chakabva looked comfortable in scoring 21 off 29 balls, but then he was trapped lbw by Chimhamhiwa to make the score 71 for two.
Chibhabha (24) soon followed, unwisely attempting a big hit to leg off Masuku and skying a catch that was taken by the keeper.
At lunch the score was 85 for three wickets, with the new batsmen Richmond Mutumbami on three and Tino Mutombodzi on four, and the match was still wide open.
Afterwards runs continued to come quite freely and the team hundred was recorded in the 19th over, as these two batsmen steadied the ship well.
The bowlers were keen but not quite accurate enough to put pressure on the batsmen, who picked off the loose deliveries well.
Good deliveries brought several very confident appeals, but the umpires were unmoved.
The pair looked capable of taking their team home by themselves, but at 148 Mutumbami fatally tried a reverse sweep off Nyumbu, and Ervine at slip, anticipating well, took a fine catch to remove him for a well-played 33.
This left 63 runs for the last six wickets to score between them, as Elton Chigumbura joined Mutombodzi at the crease.
About half an hour before tea, after another lengthy hold-up through a minor injury, the sky clouded over heavily and, with rain imminent, the players left the field with the score on 155 for four wickets, Mutombodzi on 32 and Chigumbura seven.
The change in the weather came so suddenly that Eagles had had no chance to make a dash for victory, and the rain was so heavy that it was soon clear that further play was most unlikely.
Eagles will be the more disappointed of the two teams, as they were in a strong position when the storm broke, although victory was not yet assured for them.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday in a Pro50 Championship match at the same venue.