Pro50 Championship 2014-15 March 17, 2015

Tuskers, Eagles to clash in final

ESPNcricinfo staff

File photo - Natsai M'shangwe caused a few jitters by taking three quick Rhinos wickets © ICC

Mid West Rhinos survived a middle-order stumble to beat Mountaineers by three wickets, denying the latter a spot in the final of the Pro50 Championship. Mountaineers, who were two points adrift of Mashonaland Eagles, needed a win over Rhinos and a Matabeleland Tuskers' victory over Eagles to climb into second and a place in the final, but a loss ended their run. Tuskers and Eagles will now clash in the Pro50 final despite the latter's 74-run loss on Tuesday.

Rhinos had Mountaineers under pressure right from the start of the game as their pacers Michael Chinouya and Tendai Chisoro reduced Mountaineers to 83 for 7. From 102 for 8, Mountaineers managed to post 211 only through the 109-run partnership between Innocent Kaia and No. 10 batsman Tapiwa Mufudza. Kaia took on the scoring responsibilities, and brought up his maiden List A hundred, finishing with 101 off 144 deliveries with 12 fours and a six.

The foundation for Rhinos' 212-run chase was set up by the top order, with knocks from Bradley Wadlan (50) and Prince Masvaure leading the way. Three quick strikes by legspinner Natsai M'shangwe saw them stumble from 147 for 2 to 189 for 6 but Masvaure's unbeaten 68 held the innings together and they achieved the target in the 36th over.

Brian Chari's 125-ball 115 and three wickets each from Brian Vitori and John Nyumbu were the stand-out performances in Tuskers' 74-run win against Eagles.

Chari's 115, his maiden List A hundred, helped Tuskers post an imposing 279 for 5. Chari's 137-run second-wicket stand with Nkosana Mpofu (50) set the base for Tuskers' innings and they were given a boost by Luke Jongwe's unbeaten 20-ball 37. In reply, Eagles kept losing wickets at regular intervals and had lost half their side by the 32nd over for 132 runs. Nyumbu and Vitori then ran through the rest of the line-up as Eagles' innings folded for 205 in 43 overs.

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