Matabeleland Tuskers remain the team to beat in Zimbabwe’s Pro 50 Championship after edging to a rain-affected win against Mountaineers in Bulawayo.
Rain halted them in their chase of the visitors’ total of 197 at 46 for none and they were set 139 from 31 overs – a seemingly easy target – via the Duckworth-Lewis method. However, immediately after the resumption, Bornaparte Mujuru was run-out by Forster Mutizwa for 26, with Roy Kaia then contributing three wickets to a late collapse of four for 11 as they found themselves 100 for six in the 27th over. Fortunately for them, Keith Dabengwa remained and found support from John Nyumbu, who clubbed two sixes, as the win was sealed with two balls to spare. Nyumbu ended on 17 off 12 balls with Dabengwa on 49 off 58.
Earlier, Mountaineers had won the toss and chosen to bat, only to watch many of their top-order squander starts. All of the top seven reached double figures, but none reached 50, with skipper Tino Mawoyo’s 43 off 60 balls the best effort. The Tuskers spinners did much of the damage. Nyumbu delivered eight economical overs for 17 runs; Dabengwa took three for 35; and 19 year-old left-arm spinner Ainsley Ndlovu continued the excellent start he has made to his franchise career by taking two for 36.
Defending champions Mountaineers are now two points behind second-placed Mashonaland Eagles with a round of games to go ahead of the final on 21st March. That was after Eagles recorded a more comfortable rain-affected win over Mid West Rhinos in Harare.
Rhinos were held to 206 for nine from their 50 overs as Trevor Garwe proved exceptional en route to figures of four for 24 from his 10 overs. There were also strong showings from Greg Lamb (0-29 off 10 overs) and Cephas Zhuwao (2-25 off seven overs) as stand-in Rhinos skipper Malcolm Waller top-scored with 48 off 62 balls.
The depleted Rhinos bowling attack – many of their first choice eleven were rested with an eye on the Logan Cup – then enjoyed a first-ball success when Zhuwao was sent back by Mark Mbofana. Overseas pro Mark Pettini, though, followed up his century from earlier in the week with an 84-ball 74. Captain Lamb was there at the end on 32 off 31 balls when rain arrived with Eagles on 195 for six after 44 overs. The Duckworth-Lewis par score was 169 so they were declared victors by 26 runs.
Tuskers, who have already qualified for the final, will now play Eagles in the final group match, with Mountaineers set to face Rhinos. Both matches are on 17th March, with the next batch of Logan Cup fixtures set to start on Tuesday.
Picture: Tuskers celebrate their tense win in Bulawayo. Credit @tuskerscricketZ
He worked for CricketWorld.com 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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