Rocks in historic Logan Cup win

HARARE - Southern Rocks, the country’s youngest cricket franchise, ended a three-year wait to register their first Logan Cup win, registering a deserved 141- run win over Mashonaland Eagles at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

The Masvingo-based franchise’s win was also historic in other ways.

Englishman Peter Burgoyne, making his first-class debut in Zimbabwe, led from the front with a spectacular century for the Rocks.

Mash Eagles’ former Rocks player Chamu Chibhabha also registered a century of his own, totalling an identical score of 102 runs.

“I hope this is the first of many wins to come,” said a delighted Rocks coach Dave Houghton, who joined the franchise from Bulawayo side Matabeleland Tuskers at the beginning of the season.

“It means a lot to me because naturally I’m a winner and I enjoy teaching young cricketers the right mentality to win, what’s more important for me is the fact that we played well and won, sometimes people play badly and still win matches or vice versa, which was by far not the case with us.”

Southern Rocks captain Tinashe Panyangara shepherded his team to victory with four wickets while fellow seamer Brian Vitori picked three wickets in the process in defence of 300 runs.

Southern Rocks won the toss on day one and elected to bat before posting a huge total of 459 runs and declared for the loss of eight wickets.

Opener Ben Slater, also an overseas professional, provided a solid base, scoring 89 runs from 211 balls while two middle order tons by Richmond Mutumbami, with 141 runs from 223 balls – his second first class century – and Burgoyne’s 102 runs unbeaten cemented the stand.

Mash Eagles medium pacers Innocent Chinyoka and Mark Mbofana picked two wickets apiece for 72 runs in 29 overs and 70 runs from 18.5 overs respectively in the first innings.

Rains disrupted play on successive days and  put to waste Southern Rocks’ healthy first innings lead.

Mashonaland Eagles finally got their first innings on course on day four and declared their intensions early in the morning after reaching 159 runs for the loss of one wicket while trailing by 300 runs.

The Rocks on the other hand forfeited their second innings, setting Mash Eagles 301 runs as the winning target, a clear indication that both teams were not looking for a draw but an outright win.

Sikandar Raza Butt scored 48 runs from 57 balls in a 147- run unbroken second wicket partnership with Chibhabha.

However, the match turned upside down for the Eagles after their star performers from first innings Chibhabha (5) and Raza Butt (4) were dismissed for a combined total of nine runs in the opening 7.2 overs of the second innings while skipper Stuart Matsikenyeri departed for zero, leaving the hosts exposed at 17-3 after 9.1 overs.

Sensing danger, opening batsman and wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva tried to hang on and rebuild the innings but was the seventh wicket to fall for 28 runs from 112 balls with the Eagles still way behind on 104-7 after 39.6 overs needing 106 runs with three wickets remaining. Nathan Waller, unbeaten on 42 runs was the last man standing after Burgoyne caught and bowled Tatenda Manatsa in the 54th over to spark Rocks celebrations.

Meanwhile, Matabeleland Tuskers beat Manicaland Mountaineers by five wickets at Queens Sports Club.

Opening batsman Brian Chari fell two runs shy of a maiden first-class century after he was trapped plumb by legspinner Natsai Mushangwe. English overseas professional Moeen Ali hit 95 runs from 87 balls before he was caught by substitute fielder Kudzai Sauramba off the bowling of Shingi Masakadza, providing a healthy platform while Tuskers were chasing 304 runs to win.

Mountaineers chose to bat after winning the toss before falling for 264 runs on the opening day.

Tuskers declared on 317-7 leading by 53 runs on the second day with Mountaineers closing day two at stumps on 18 runs after facing the last seven overs of the day.

The visitors then set a lead of 304 runs after declaring on 357-7 yesterday that was easily surpassed by Matabeleland Tuskers who reached 307-5 after 70 overs.

Tuskers seamer Glen Querl picked his maiden first-class five-for in the first innings and took one wicket in the second innings to finish the match with six wickets for 111 runs from 43.1 overs.

Mountaineers’ Mark Pettini and Timycen Maruma top scored with 58 and 59 runs respectively in the first innings while Sean Williams’ 88 runs and Sean Ervine, with 83, were the top performers for Tuskers in the first innings.

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