Wessels centuries set up Rhinos win
Mid West Rhinos wicketkeeper-batsman Riki Wessels joined an elite father/son group in the course of his team's 87-run win over Matabeleland Tuskers at Queen's Sports Club in Bulawayo. Wessels struck hundreds in both innings and in doing so joined his father, Kepler, as the seventh father/son combination to have achieved this milestone.
Wessels' first-innings ton, along with significant contributions from Malcolm Waller (96), Paul Franks (45) and Roland Benade (55) helped Rhinos to a commanding 348 after captain Vusi Sibanda opted to bat first. Terry Duffin led Tuskers' reply with a characteristically 97, but Rhinos' new-ball pair of Taurai Muzarabani and Ian Nicolson chipped steadily away at the batting line-up to ensure that their team held a first-innings lead.
Wessels' second-innings effort was, if anything, even more impressive than the first as, on a wearing pitch, he held a struggling Rhinos line-up together with an unbeaten 101 - the next highest score being Sibanda's 34. Rhinos declared at 238 for 9 to set Tuskers 331 to win but as the pitch began to exhibit increasing turn mere survival proved a daunting task. Paul Horton resisted with a valiant 95 and Steven Trenchard reached a maiden first-class fifty, but Waller ran through the lower-order with his offspin to collect figures of 5 for 48 as Tuskers were bowled out for 243.
Centuries from Mark Vermeulen and Jonathan Beukes, and a seven-wicket match haul for fast bowler Tendai Chatara, helped set up Mountaineers' innings victory over Southern Rocks at Masvingo Sports Club. After Mountaineers declared their first innings at 497 for 6 Rocks struggled to 221 and 274, Kenyan batsman Steve Tikolo scoring fifties in both innings, to slump to an innings-and-two-run loss.
Beukes - who reached his ninth first-class hundred before he was dismissed for 106 - shared in stands of exactly 100 with Tino Mawoyo (57) and 142 with Vermeulen, who scored a fluent 103 that included nine fours and three sixes. Against a largely inexperienced Rocks attack, Mountaineers' lower middle order cashed in as Greg Smith and Donald Tiripano both passed fifty and Timycen Maruma (44) and Benjamin Katsande (46) made significant contributions.
A demoralised Rocks batting line-up struggled in reply, Tikolo's 53 the only score of note as they were bowled out for 221 and forced to follow on, Chatara taking 4 for 65. Stuart Matsikenyeri's 88, and another half-century from Tikolo, helped them make a better fist of things second time round but they were two runs short of making Mountaineers bat again when Chatara dismissed Keith Kulinga to end their second innings at 274.