Mountaineers deny Rhinos in cliff-hanger

HARARE - Mountaineers kicked off their Logan Cup title defence with a hard-fought two-run win over Mid West Rhinos defending six runs needed by Rhinos from three wickets at Harare Sports Club on Friday.

Rhinos’ stand-in captain Prince Masvaure had taken his side on the brink of a victory with a well-played 124 runs from 160 runs before he was run out by wicketkeeper Kudzai Sauramba in the 67th over leaving the Kwekwe side needing 57 runs from the remaining four wickets.

Neville Madziva (26) and Trevor Gwandu (22) chased down the total with relative ease before Victor Nyauchi had Gwandu caught by Foster Mutizwa in the 76th over ending the 51-run seventh wicket partnership.

At that point the game appeared already in Rhinos’ bag as they needed only six runs from as many balls with three wickets remaining. Madziva departed on the first ball of the next over after he was runout by Sauramba while attempting a single.

Rhinos at this stage needed five runs to win with two wickets remaining and even after losing two quick wickets they appeared on track to wrap up the match without any further difficulties. Nyauchi, however, was at hand to clear off the tail to finish the innings with four wickets for 57 runs from 14.3 overs and deny Rhinos a win.

Rhinos elected to field after winning the toss and playing in only their first match of the season after being rested the previous week Mountaineers totalled 278 in their first innings riding on Donald Tiripano’s 73 and Mutizwa’s 65.

Mid West Rhinos’ First Class debutant Tafara Chingwara picked a five-for and when they took to bat they totalled 230 and to trail Mountaineers by 48 runs in the first innings.

Opener Tendai Maruma top scored with 51 runs while James Bruce and another debutant Trevor Chibvongodze chipped in with 40 runs each.

Nyauchi picked four wickets for Mountaineers while Tiripano claimed two before Kevin Kasuza (44) skipper Tino Mawoyo (49) and Maruma (42) ensured that Mountaineers declared on 279/6d to lead by 327 runs and setting Rhinos a target of 328.

Rhinos at this stage needed five runs to win with two wickets remaining and even after losing two quick wickets they appeared on track to wrap up the match without any further difficulties. Nyauchi, however, was at hand to clear off the tail to finish the innings with four wickets for 57 runs from 14.3 overs and deny Rhinos a win.

Defending champions head coach Shepherd Makunura was happy with the way his charges conducted themselves under difficult circumstances against a determined Mid West Rhinos.

“The momentum did swing around for sure. We thought 328 in 83 overs would give us enough time to bowl them out but we struggled a bit in the bowling department and dropping Prince (Masvaure) before he got to 20 did not help us as well,” Makunura told the Daily News.

“I think we showed a lot of character and we never gave up. It’s always good to kick off your campaign with a win and that’s exactly what we needed. We play Eagles on Sunday. They are a good side so we will not take them lightly.”

On day of the four-day match Mid West Rhinos captain Masvaure elected to field after winning the toss and playing in only their first match of the season after being rested the previous week Mountaineers totalled 278 in their first innings riding on Donald Tiripano’s 73 and Mutizwa’s 65. Mid West Rhinos’ First Class debutant Tafara Chingwara picked a five-for and when they took to bat they totalled 230 and to trail Mountaineers by 48 runs in the first innings. Opener Tendai Maruma top scored with 51 runs while James Bruce and another debutant Trevor Chibvongodze chipped in with 40 runs each.

Nyauchi picked four wickets for Mountaineers while Tiripano claimed two before Kevin Kasuza (44) skipper Tino Mawoyo (49) and Maruma (42) ensured that Mountaineers declared on 279/6d to lead by 327 runs and setting Rhinos a target of 328.

In the other match that ran concurrently with the match at Harare Sports, Mashonaland Eagles flew past new boys Rising Stars in a low scorer played at Takashinga Sports Club in Highfield.

Nathan Waller and Eagles captain Tino Mutombodzi finished unbeaten on 56 and 36 runs respectively as the former champions reached 159/6 eclipsing the 155-run target set by Rising Stars.

The Eagles had made 180 runs in their first innings with a one run lead after Rising Stars batted first and made 179 runs all out. Once again batting woes let the new side down — a first innings 40 runs and 28 by Aarsh Jha and second innings’ 28 by William Mashinge and Mkhululi Nyathi’s 27 summed up Rising Stars’ struggles with the bat.

Their strength, the bowling department carried off from where they left last week against Mid West Rhinos in Kwekwe only that their batters could not give them scores big enough to defend.

Seamer Blessing Muzarabani picked three wickets in either innings to exit the match with six wickets for 75 runs from 21 overs with Faraz Akram picking four wickets for 49 runs in 7.4 overs in the first innings while William Mashinge claimed two wickets in each innings.

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