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March 27, 2011
Southern Rocks 155 for 2 (Raza 44, Ervine 42*) beat Mid West Rhinos 151 (Waller 68, Chinouya 3-28) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A dominant Southern Rocks cruised to the Pro40 Championship title, beating Mid West Rhinos by eight wickets with 31 ball remaining, in Harare. Rhinos had only themselves to blame for the loss. After being put in to bat, their top order collapsed on a pitch that was slow, but wasn't doing anything extraordinary. A determined 68 by Malcolm Waller got them to 151, but that total that never posed a challenge for the strong Rocks batting.
Most of Rhinos' batsmen were out to poor shots: Brendan Taylor chipped one to mid-on off the bowling of seamer Blessing Mahwire, Vusi Sibanda was caught at midwicket, and Riki Wessels attempted a reverse-sweep despite the fact his team were 54 for 3 and could only top edge it to the wicketkeeper. Legspinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi was the bowler who benefitted from Wessels' lapse, and he went on to take two more wickets and finish with 3 for 35.
The early wickets had left Rhinos 54 for 5, but Waller and Graeme Cremer led a recovery. The two managed to keep the runs ticking over at six an over without taking too many risks and looked to have rescued the situation with their 75-run stand.
There was another collapse in store, though. Waller went first, clipping Michael Chinouya to midwicket. Cremer was out, again to an attempted reverse-sweep. The tail didn't hang around long, and Rhinos committed the cardinal sin of not batting out their 40 overs, bowled out in the 37th.
Rocks kept their nerve in the chase; the only real threat to their victory was the possibility of a storm. The rain never came though, and Rocks' batsmen were clinical in taking their team home with plenty of time to spare. Sikandar Raza scored a steady 44 at the top of the order, and then Craig Ervine and Elton Chigumbura guided the team to the victory.
It was the perfect way for Rocks to finish their season, and an important revival in their fortunes after they had a torrid Logan Cup in which they finished bottom of the table with no wins.
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