Bowlers help Mountaineers win title
Mountaineers 142 for 6 (Mustard 56) beat Mashonaland Eagles 115 (Shingi Masakadza 3-21) by 27 runs
A tight bowling performance from Mountaineers helped them bowl Eagles out for 115 and win the Stanbic Bank 20 Series for the second time since its inception in 2009-10. Mountaineers only managed to get 142 after choosing to bat on a humid afternoon in Harare and considering Eagles had scored 207 runs on the same ground in the qualifying final, they were the favourites to win at the half-way stage. However, Mountaineers' new-ball pair of Dirk Nannes and Shingi Masakadza rocked Eagles chase early before Chris Harris, the former New Zealand allrounder, and Prosper Utseya, the Zimbabwe offspinner, made important strikes and ensured a 27-run victory for Mountaineers.
Shingi Masakadza struck the first blow, getting rid of Ryan ten Doeschate, who had scored a rapid century in the qualifying final the previous day, in the second over of the chase. ten Doeschate cut straight to Shingi's brother Hamilton Masakadza at point when he was on just 1. Peter Trego was dismissed slashing at a Nannes delivery and when Rory Hamilton-Brown was caught at deep square leg Eagles were in trouble at 25 f or 3.
Stuart Matsikenyeri made a solid 34 and forged together a 44-run partnership with Forster Mutizwa to get Eagles back into the game. Matsikenyeri was run out in the 12th over and Mountaineers pounced on the opening. Mutizwa, who had been struck on the shoulder by a throw, gave Utseya a return catch to be dismissed for 27, Elton Chigumbura lofted Harris into the hands of long-on and Eagles could not recover. Utseya ended up with figures of 2 for 10 from three overs while Shingi Masakadza had 3 for 21, taking the final wicket with a yorker that bowled Tinotenda Mutombodzi.
It was a stirring performance from the Mountaineers bowlers after their batsmen had fallen a few runs short of a good total. After a brisk start, Mountaineers had lost three quick wickets: Kevin Kasuza was caught in the covers, Hamilton Masakadza, the Mountaineers captain, missed a yorker and was bowled and Timycen Maruma was run out. Those losses left Mountaineers 51 for 3. Phil Mustard ensured the scoring-rate did not dip, hitting seven fours and two sixes in his 56 off 31 balls.
Chris Harris played a sensible hand to steady the innings and then Shingi Masakadza chipped in with 23 runs off 18 balls. Mountaineers reached 142, which though not a big total was enough for the bowlers to defend.