Rhinos go second with thumping win
Mid West Rhinos put in a dominating performance to beat Mashonaland Eagles by an innings and 70 runs at the Harare Sports Club. It was a complete performance by Rhinos. Their seamers skittled Eagles out for 97 on the first day, their top order came good giving them a 268-run first-innings lead and the spinners came into play on the third day, ensuring an early finish.
Ian Nicolson and Neville Madziva did the damage on the first morning, finishing with four and three wickets respectively as Eagles crashed to a low score. Opener Gary Balance led the reply with a century. He was supported by Malcolm Waller who scored 91. Rhinos lost their last seven wickets for 65 runs but they were still in complete control of the game. Eagles started their second innings as poorly as they did their first, slumping to 31 for 4 with Nicolson again among the wickets. The middle order was then tormented by the offspin of Simon Mugava and they were soon 104 for 8. No. 10 Douglas Hondo smashed an unbeaten 60 off 41 balls, but it was not enough to make Rhinos bat again. The win takes Rhinos to second place in the table while Eagles are still languishing in fourth.
Matabeleland Tuskers lost the second spot to Rhinos after only getting a point from their match against bottom-placed Southern Rocks at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. A century by Adam Wheater gave Tuskers a 104-run first-innings lead, but opener Roy Kaia replied with a century of his own for Rocks to ensure the game ended in a draw.
Kaia had failed in Rocks' first innings, but a shaky start was rescued by Chamu Chibhabha whose 105 was the main reason Rocks got to 261. Tuskers' innings started with an 85-run opening stand, and Gavin Ewing kicked on to get 80. His knock and Wheater's 126 put Tuskers in a strong position but the lower order collapsed and their last six wickets fell for 43 runs. That left them with a lead of 104 with around 120 overs left to play. Kaia ensured it was not enough for Tuskers to get a victory as his 112 off 269 balls took Rocks to 292 for 4.