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February 18, 2012
Michael Chinouya picked up 5 for 35 as Mid West Rhinos beat Matabeleland Tuskers by three wickets at Kewkwe Sports Club to confirm their berth in the finals of the Pro50 Championship. Rhinos' decision to bowl was vindicated by strong opening spells from Ed Rainsford and Chinouya. A 33-run opening stand between Gavin Ewing and Keith Dabengwa proved to be a false start, as the first five wickets tumbled for eight runs. Rainsford picked up three wickets and the Tuskers never recovered. They were bowled out in the 22nd over for 81.
It was then the turn of Njabulo Ncube and Tawanda Mupariwa to wreak havoc with the new ball. Vusi Sibanda fell for a duck in the first over, but a 31-run stand for the second wicket put Rhinos on course for an easy win. Thereafter, Ncube got into the act, slicing through the top order with a five-for, that left Rhinos gasping at 42 for 7. Rainsford put his head down to score 21 off 35 balls, and along with Graeme Cremer sealed a nervous win in the 25th over. Rhinos will play Eagles in the final, in Harare on February 25.
In another low-scoring thriller, Southern Rocks overcame Mountaineers by one wicket at Masvingo Sports Club. After being inserted, Mountaineers were shot out for 134 in 29.4 overs, their humble score embellished considerably by Timycen Maruma's 72 off 82 balls. No one else in the Mountaineers line-up managed to cross 19, as the Rocks' bowlers shared the spoils around. Natsai Mushangwe's four-wicket haul made the Rocks strive for their runs. From a relatively comfortable 105 for 4, and later 125 for 6, they lost their nerve to go within a wicket of defeat, but Hilary Matanga managed to save them the blushes.
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