Tuskers, Rhinos post wins
After Mashonaland Eagles were bowled out for 182, half-centuries from Vusi Sibanda and Jaik Mickleburgh helped Mid West Rhinos win by four wickets at the Kwekwe Sports Club. Spinners Malcolm Waller and Graeme Cremer, who also effected two run outs, didn't allow Eagles to build big partnerships as the opening stand of 40 was their highest of the innings. A confident chase, led by a second-wicket stand of 109 runs between Sibanda and Mickleburgh effectively sealed the contest.
After being put in to bat, Eagles started positively through their openers, but from 71 for one, they slipped to 80 for four, and kept losing wickets regularly thereafter. A lower order defiance was led by Ray Price, but they failed to cross the 200-run mark, being bowled out in the 48th over.
The Eagles, however, made a positive start in the following innings when Rhinos' captain, opener and wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor was run out for 10 in the fifth over. After the ensuing Sibanda-Mickleburgh partnership, which ended in the 28th over with Sibanda's dismissal, Rhinos suffered a minor collapse. Mickleburgh had stuck around for long to score 73 and secure their victory. When he departed with the score at 160 for five, 23 more runs were needed, which were scored in 56 deliveries and the loss of a wicket.
At the Masingvo Sports Club, a four-wicket haul by Chris Mpofu overshadowed Curthbert Musoko's four-wicket haul as it helped Matabeleland Tuskers defeat Southern Rocks by nine runs in a rain-shortened game. Tuskers' Keegan Meth scored 36 turned out to be highest in the low-scoring game.
Chasing 141 in 31 overs, the Rocks fell into trouble early with the wicket of opener Kudzai Monze in the fourth over. Although half their side was out for 70 in the 21st over, a middle-order resurgence, led by Peter Burgoyne Tawanda Mupariwa helped them get close to the target. But Mpofu's timely wickets pegged them back. With 23 needed off the final two overs, Rocks lost two wickets and fell nine runs short to end the game at 131 for nine.
With five single-digit scores and two ducks, Tuskers' innings also stuttered to reach 140 for nine. Two partnerships proved to be the bedrock of their innings - a 28 run stand for the fifth wicket after they were in trouble at 32 for four, and a quick 50-run partnership in 6.2 overs between Meth and Glen Querl that pushed them towards a total that they could defend.