Chigumbura ton gives Mashonaland Eagles title
Mashonaland Eagles 220 for 8 (Chigumbura 104*, Rainsford 3-56) beat Mid West Rhinos 157 (Cremer 47, Chigumbura 3-27) by 63 runs
Elton Chigumbura scored an unbeaten ton to revive the Eagles after they lost five wickets for four runs - four of them on the score of 34 - before coming back to snap up 3 for 27 with the ball to stall Mid West Rhinos' chase of 221. Chigumbura's all-round brilliance sealed a 63-run win, giving Mashonaland Eagles the Coca-Cola Pro50 title as Rhinos fell short by 63 runs.
The Rhinos' decision to field was vindicated early as the Eagles came unstuck following a 31-run opening stand. Ed Rainsford and Michael Chinouya ripped through the top five in a manic passage of play as Eagles slipped to 34 for 5. Chigumbura picked up the pieces through a 58-run stand with Regis Chakabva, who fell to Graeme Cremer in the 25th over. Nathan Waller slogged 26 off 24 balls, as the Eagles resigned themselves to quick runs before getting bowled out. Ray Price exited soon after, and the Eagles were staring at an early end to their innings at 129 for 8 in the 32nd over.
However, Innocent Chinyoka provided just the sort of stubborn resistance that Chigumbura needed to swell the total. Chinyoka occuped the crease for 78 minutes, facing 57 balls for an invaluable, unbeaten 26. Chigumbura took care of the scoring business at the other end, and surged past his century. The stand was worth an unbroken 91 in 18.1 overs, and pushed the Eagles to a respectable 220 for 8.
Chinyoka was back to torment the Rhinos with the new ball, offering able support to Tatenda Manatsa (2 for 31) as the top three perished for a combined contribution of 10 runs. Thereafter Chigumbura took over, slicing through the middle order with a three-wicket burst that left the Rhinos gasping at 60 for 7. Cremer and Rainsford sparked a lower-order resistance, but there wasn't enough room for another twist in the tale.