Kyle Jarvis and Neville Madziva shattered the Eagles top-order batting in their second innings at Old Hararians today, sending them crashing to 120 all out and a defeat by the convincing margin of 262 runs.
Rhinos began the day 346 runs ahead with three second-innings wickets still in hand, but decided to bat on for five overs this morning to enable them to use the heavy roller, which would help the pitch to break up a little more and benefit their bowlers.
Those five overs brought them another 36 runs, most of them to Brandon Mavuta, who scored 29 not out off 24 balls, and the total at the declaration was 347 for eight wickets.
They could have paid a serious price for their delay, though, as heavy rain burst over the ground when they had Eagles nine wickets down, but fortunately for them they were able to get back on the field later and complete their victory.
So Eagles had to go in a second time with a virtually impossible target of 383 runs to win.
They began with 10 penalty points on their score, due to Rhinos batsmen during their innings having twice carelessly run on to the danger area of the pitch and been duly penalised five runs each time.
The ball was now keeping low more often, making life difficult for the Eagles batsmen, especially against bowlers of the pace and skill of Jarvis and Madziva.
Opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe did well to score 16, but he quickly lost his partners Kudzai Maunze for three, Regis Chakabva for one and Chamu Chibhabha for four, making the score 37 for four wickets.
There was only one way the match could go after this, as long as rain did not intervene, but Tino Mutombodzi played a true captain’s innings, staying to the end and holding off the bowlers while his partners fell.
Leg-spinner Mavuta took over once Jarvis and Madziva had finished their opening spells, and he worked his way through the middle order, so that nine wickets were down for 95.
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