PRO 50: Mashonaland Eagles prevail in tense final

Mashonaland Eagles won a tense Pro 50 Championship final in Bulawayo to be crowned champions and thus deny Logan Cup winners Matabeleland Tuskers the season double.

Skipper Tinotenda Mutombodzi played a key hand with 79 in their pursuit of Tuskers’ total of 266 for seven. However, his dismissal at the start of the 46th over left them needing 45 runs off 29 balls and made the home side as slight favourites. Wicket-keeper Joylord Gumbie and spinner Wellington Masakadza, though, saw their side home during a brilliant unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 46. Ten were required off the final over bowled by Chris Mpofu and Masakadza hit the winning boundary off the third ball. He ended on 24 off 14 balls, with Gumbie on a run-a-ball 36.

Earlier in the chase, Tuskers had again got themselves into a winning position when Keith Dabengwa brought Chamu Chibhabha’s innings to an end at 59 to leave the scoreboard reading 119 for four and the required run rate approaching seven per over. Mutombodzi began the recovery with a career-best 79 off 76 balls, but ultimately it would be Masakadza and Gumbie who would be the Eagles match-winners.

Mamhiyo in action

Godwill Mamhiyo top-scored for Tuskers with 63. Credit: @tuskerscricketZ

At the start of the day, Tuskers had won the toss and chosen to bat. They made a steady start thanks to openers Nkosana Mpofu and Brian Chari, who added 64 in 19 overs. Masakadza removed Mpofu for 39 and key man Sean Williams for nine in successive overs to peg things back, while Chari (40) and Richmond Mutumbami (3) were dismissed by Sikandar Raza (2-58) to complete a mini-collapse of four for 50.

Captain Godwill Mamhiyo and Luke Jongwe led the fightback. Both men have impressed this season and they added 76 for the sixth-wicket to propel their side to their eventual total of 266 for seven. Mamhiyo made 63 off just 55 balls before being caught by substitute fielder Keith Kondo off Trevor Garwe (1-48), while Jongwe clubbed 45 off 40 deliveries prior to being bowled by Tatenda Manatsa (1-43).

Main image: Chamu Chibhabha began the chase for Eagles with 59. Credit: @tuskerscricketZ

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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