PRO50: Wins for Tuskers and Eagles; centuries for Taylor and Raza

Centuries from Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza helped Mashonaland Eagles make it back-to-back wins in Zimbabwe’s Pro50 Championship. They triumphed by a single run over defending champions Mountaineers in a rain-hit match at Harare Sports Club.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Eagles lost Chamu Chibhabha early to Shingi Masakadza. However, Taylor and Raza laid into the Mountaineers bowling to add 179 for the second-wicket in 28 overs. Raza made it consecutive centuries prior to falling for 104 off 97 balls, with Taylor departing as one of two wickets for Donald Tiripano for 101 off 107 balls. Eagles ended on 267 for five from a reduced 44 overs.

The visitors’ run chase then got off to a poor start as skipper Tino Mawoyo fell fifth ball without scoring to Taurai Muzarabani (2-27). Kevin Kasuza was then also dismissed cheaply by the same bowler, but Hamilton Masakadza launched a counter-attack. He and Stuart Matsikenyeri (24 off 28 balls) put on 69 for the third-wicket, with Forster Mutizwa (23 off 32 balls) then partnering him to add a further 60. Unfortunately for Mountaineers and Masakadza, the rain arrived once again with them on 172 for four after 30 overs – agonisingly short of the Duckworth Lewis par score of 171.

Leaders Matabeleland Tuskers got back to winning ways with a relatively comfortable win over Mid West Rhinos in Bulawayo.

Craig Ervine followed up his century three days ago by top-scoring for the home side with 70. He helped counter the early loss of Brian Chari during a second-wicket stand of 82 with Nkosana Mpofu (40 off 82 balls) and then during a third-wicket stand of 61 with Sean Williams before falling for 70 off 89 balls.

From 150 for two prior to Ervine’s wicket, Tuskers didn’t really capitalise and were bowled out in the 50th over for 223 as Mike Chinouya took three wickets and left-arm spinner Kudakwashe Munyede returned a career-best four for 41 from seven overs.

However, a typically fragile start from the Rhinos top-order put them on the back foot early in the chase and they never really recovered. Brian Vitori, Chris Mpofu, John Nyumbu and Sean Williams all struck at least once as they slipped steadily to 91 for six in the 24th over.

Malcolm Waller and Tendai Chisoro did give any travelling supporters some brief hope during a fast-paced seventh-wicket stand of 62. Chisoro hit 43 off 37 balls but was finally caught and bowled by Tawanda Mupariwa, with Waller handing Williams the second of an eventual three wickets to end the match as a contest when on 62 off 77 balls. Williams then wrapped the innings up at 188 to end with three for 42 from 9.5 overs, with Mpofu finishing with three for 36 from nine as he continues his long comeback from injury problems.

Daniel Grummitt

Cricket Writer at World Cricket Badger
Daniel first began writing about cricket in 2011, having been a fan of the game ever since his Grandad introduced him to it at the age of 10.

He worked for for almost three years, leading their county and domestic cricket coverage and contributing to a book about the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, before joining the hugely ambitious World Cricket Badger early in 2014.

The first Test that he remembers watching was on Channel 4 - back before the ECB marginalised potential future fans by selling the TV rights to Sky Sports - when England beat Pakistan by an innings and nine runs at Lord’s.

Besides a passion for domestic cricket, he also has an unexplainable interest in all things Zimbabwe cricket!

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