Mountaineers – 249-6 in 50 overs (PJ Moor 70, Timycen Maruma 50, Spencer Magodo 48*; Prince Masvaure 2/28, Carl Mumba 1/23, Neville Madziva 1/35)
Rhinos – 249 all out in 49.3 overs (Nyasha Mayavo 69, Johnathan Campbell 44, Tashinga Musekiwa 38; Shingi Masakadza 3/29, Tinashe Muchawaya 2/27, Victor Nyauchi 1/41)
Excellent fifties by PJ Moor and Nyasha Mayavo were the leading features of a thrilling Pro50 Championship match between Rhinos and Mountaineers which finished as a tie at Kwekwe Sports Club on Friday.
Both teams totalled 249 runs, although Mountaineers lost only six wickets while Rhinos were all out.
Rhinos put their opponents in to bat on winning the toss, and struck in the third over, when Carl Mumba claimed the wicket of Kevin Kasuza, caught at the wicket for one.
There followed a fine partnership between Clive Chitumba, captaining Mountaineers and opening their batting in this match, and Moor.
They took the score to 78 before Chitumba was caught at long-off by Mumba off Brandon Mavuta for 37, scored off 49 balls.
Moor found another good partner in Timycen Maruma, and the pair took the score to 158 in the 34th over before Moor was caught by Mavuta at midwicket from a miscued pull off the bowling of Neville Madziva for 70 – he faced 95 balls and hit two sixes and six fours.
Maruma soon reached his own fifty, but was then run out by Tashinga Musekiwa, having hit seven fours off 63 balls.
The impetus of the innings was rather spoiled when Donald Tiripano (5) and Shingi Masakadza (1) both went cheaply, making the score 202 for six in the 45th over.
But Spencer Magodo was batting well and Tinashe Muchawaya gave him good support, and they stayed together until the innings closed at 249 for six.
Magodo made 48 off 56 balls, unfortunately unable to reach his fifty, while Muchawaya had 21 off 15 balls.
Rhinos did well to keep the total down to 249, and their most effective bowler was Masvaure, who took the wickets of Tiripano and Masakadza while conceding only 28 runs in his 10 overs.
Rhinos did not make a good start to their innings, though.
In the third over they lost the wicket of Takudzwanashe Kaitano, caught by Tiripano off the bowling of Victor Nyauchi for eight.
Masvaure struggled to score only five runs off 33 balls before being caught at the wicket off Muchawaya as he tried to glance the ball down the leg side, which made it 25 for two in the 10th over.
Charles Kunje (24) and Tarisai Musakanda (31) quickened the scoring rate and took the score to 53 in the 14th over before Kunje was bowled by Muchawaya.
Musakanda played a disciplined innings and with Mayavo took the score to 107 before he left, lbw to Masakadza.
Rhinos still looked to have the worse of the position, but then came the partnership that tilted the balance, as Johnathan Campbell joined Mayavo and the pair played the bowling superbly in a stand that was worth 79 runs in less than 14 overs.
It was finally broken at 189 in the 39th over, by a piece of wretched luck that in retrospect probably cost Rhinos the victory.
Mayavo drove a ball back down the pitch to Tiripano, who accidentally deflected it on to the stumps at his end where Campbell, backing up, was run out for a fine 44 off 49 balls.
In the following over Madziva was also run out, though in a more orthodox way, without scoring, and Rhinos had lost their advantage.
They appeared to be doomed to defeat when in the 44th over Mayavo’s superb innings came to an end, as he perhaps regrettably chose a good delivery from Masakadza to swing his bat at, and was bowled for 69 off 89 balls, having hit seven fours.
In Mumba and Mavuta, Rhinos had two useful batters but both failed with scores of eight and two respectively.
However, Musekiwa was playing a fine fighting innings at the other end, as he was joined by the last man, Mike Chinouya, at 225 for nine – 25 runs still needed off 4.1 overs.
Chinouya gallantly held up his end for five balls and scored a single, while Musekiwa farmed the bowling skilfully.
They went into the last over, given to Tiripano, needing another 11 runs for victory.
Musekiwa smashed the first ball past mid-off for four and then swung the second over long-on for a huge six, levelling the scores.
However, Tiripano bowled the next ball full and straight, beating Musekiwa as he played forward, and was given out lbw for a magnificent 38, which came off 36 balls and contained two sixes and three fours.
It was a wonderful finish to an excellent match in which the balance swung frequently.
Masakadza, showing a return to bowling form, had the excellent figures for Mountaineers of three wickets for 29 off his 10 overs, while Muchawaya, much more expensive, had two for 27 off four overs.
Southern Rocks – 195-9 in 50 overs (Cephas Zhuwao 50, William Mashinge 30, Tendai Chisoro 28; Ainsley Ndlovu 2/24, Nkosana Mpofu 2/27, Sheunopa Musekwa 1/14)
Tuskers – 198-6 in 35.1 overs (Nkosana Mpofu 69, Brian Chari 30, Ainsley Ndlovu 28*; William Mashinge 2/18, Dylan Hondo 1/24, Tendai Chisoro 1/27)
Tuskers won by four wickets
Nkosana Mpofu put in a brilliant all-round performance as Tuskers completed their third successive victory in the Pro50 Championship match, defeating Southern Rocks by four wickets at Bulawayo Athletic Club on Friday.
Tuskers, top of the standings after two victories over Alliance Health Eagles last weekend, won the toss and put Rocks in to bat.
Cephas Zhuwao opened the innings with Brian Mudzinganyama and the pair put on 71 for the first wicket.
Mudzinganyama took most of the bowling but did not find his fluent form – he faced 52 balls for only 21 runs before he was first out, caught at the wicket by Alvin Chiradza off Mpofu.
Zhuwao followed him only the next over, caught by Ernest Masuku off Sheu Musekwa for exactly 50 – he hit two sixes and six fours.
These wickets triggered a middle-order slide for Rocks, with Ben Curran (9), Richmond Mutumbami (9) and Tafadzwa Tsiga (7) all out in three successive overs to Mpofu and Ainsley Ndlovu.
The top five batters were thus out with 104 on the board in the 23rd over.
William Mashinge led a revival, helped first by Blessed Muzite (13) and then by Tendai Chisoro, who attacked the bowling while Mashinge consolidated.
Mashinge was eventually run out by Masuku for 30 off 70 balls, and Chisoro soon followed for 28 off 27 balls, making the score 174 for eight in the 46th over.
The last three men did their best, but after their 50 overs Rocks could manage a score of only 195 for nine wickets.
These wickets were shared among six bowlers, with two each for Mpofu and Ndlovu.
The latter was the most economical of them, bowling his 10 overs for only 24 runs and the valuable wickets of Curran and Tsiga.
This left Tuskers with a comparatively easy target for victory.
Tuskers fielded two Ireland internationals as their overseas players in this match, James McCollum and Shane Getkate, but the former, who opened the batting with Mpofu, was out lbw to Chisoro without scoring in the first over.
A good partnership followed between Mpofu and Brian Chari, who took the score to 60 in the 11th over before Chari was bowled by Mashinge for 30, scored off 34 balls.
Chiradza made 11, and Mpofu was eventually run out for 69, scored off 68 balls with a six and 10 fours, at 126 for four in the 23rd over.
Tuskers had no problem maintaining the required run rate, but wickets were falling, with Masuku going for 10 and Getkate for 23.
After 30 overs the score was 159 for six, with the last four wickets still needing to make 37 runs for victory.
That proved to be no problem for the seventh-wicket pair, however, as Ndlovu and Tanu Makoni polished off the runs within six overs.
Ndlovu finished with 28 and Makoni 19 as Tuskers cantered home to their third victory.
Mashinge was the most successful of the bowlers, taking two wickets for 18 runs, although he was given only five overs.
Dylan Hondo again proved economical, bowling his overs for only 24 runs and one wicket.
2022/23 PRO50 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLE