PRO50: Eagles win, leaders Tuskers lose to Mountaineers

Mashonaland Eagles closed the gap at the top of the Pro50 Championship table to just a single point by beating Mid West Rhinos in Kwekwe. Leaders Matabeleland Tuskers, meanwhile, were thrashed by Mountaineers in Mutare.

An Eagles batting line-up packed with international pedigree marched to 281 for nine from their 50 overs after they had been asked to bat. Openers Chamu Chibhabha and Sikandar Raza, who may yet find themselves opening for Zimbabwe next month at the ICC World Cup, added 82 in less than 15 overs. Raza hit 32 off 36 balls before being caught off Tendai Chisoro, with Chibhabha falling to returning overseas pro Brad Wadlam for 56 off 68 balls soon after.

Brendan Taylor, though, followed up his century in Saturday’s win over Mountaineers with an aggressive 61 off 69 balls, adding 57 with Elton Chigumbura (25 off 39 balls) for the fourth-wicket. Both men fell in relatively quick succession to leave Eagles potentially tottering on 189 for five in the 40th over. However, Ryan Burl seized the initiative by blasting 53 off just 29 balls as 92 runs came off the final 11 overs.

Mike Chinouya ended with three wickets for Rhinos, but was expensive, conceding 52 runs from six overs, while spinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi (1-39) and Wadlan were the most economical (1-40).

Rhinos were always up against it in their chase and soon found themselves 37 for three in the seventh over after a frenetic start that saw Sikandar Raza claim two wickets. Malcom Waller, with a run-a-ball 40, and then Prince Masvaure (58 off 69 balls) led a renaissance but they were too little too late with the damage already done. The last-wicket pair of Kamungozi (26 off 28 balls) and Chinouya (19 off 19 balls) narrowed the margin of defeat further to deny Eagles a bonus point that could have put them at the top of the table.

The Eagles spinners did most of the damage, with Raza (3-43) backed up by Greg Lamb (2-50), Prosper Utseya (2-46) and Wellington Masakadza (1-35).

Tuskers‘ defeat was a particularly heavy one in Mutare as Tendai Chatara decimated their middle-order en route to figures of four for 31 from nine overs to bowl them out for just 124.

Mountaineers had earlier recovered from the early loss of their captain Tino Mawoyo to Brian Vitori to post 255 for nine after they had been asked to bat by Godwill Mamhiyo.

Hamilton Masakadza hit a brutal 85 off just 79 balls, clearing the rope six times in the process, and dominating a second-wicket stand of 66 with Kevin Kasuza (17 off 57 balls). Roy Kaia then took over and hit a calm 56 off 78 balls, with Shingi Masakadza adding some late impetus with a 23-ball 39.

Chris Mpofu ended as the pick of the Tuskers bowlers with three for 46, while Sean Williams (10-0-30-0) and Tawanda Mupariwa (3-51) also impressed.

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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