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February 4, 2012
Gary Ballance's century was enough for Mid West Rhinos to win by 53 runs at the Mutare Sports Club after Mountaineers collapsed in their chase from a strong position. Mountaineers were 149 for 2 after 27 overs in pursuit of 314 but were eventually bowled out for 260. Mark Pettini (71) and Timycen Maruma (58) had helped steady Mountaineers from 39 for 2 but Maruma fell to offspinner Simon Mugava after a 110-run stand. Mugava removed Pettini soon after as Mountaineers slipped to 166 for 4. Daryl Mitchell and Kudzai Sauramba revived the innings, leaving Mountaineers with 64 to get off 51 deliveries. Mitchell was dismissed by Graeme Cremer for 39 and Mountaineers collapsed with Sauramba ending on an unbeaten 61 off 39 balls. Rhinos' 313 for 5 was set up by Ballance's 120 off 84 which built on a 114-run opening stand between Steve Marillier (57) and Vusi Sibanda (69).
Table-toppers Mashonaland Eagles slumped to only their second defeat of the tournament, to Matabeleland Tuskers in Bulawayo. Tawanda Mupariwa did the early damage after Eagles were put in, reducing them to 25 for 3. Michael Thornely, Trevor Garwe and Sikandar Raza got starts but could not carry on. The lower order crumbled to the offspin of Gavin Ewing as Eagles were dismissed for 144. Innocent Chinyoka had Tuskers reeling at 21 for 3 at one stage but Keith Dabengwa helped them recover. Brian Chari and Charles Coventry added an unbroken 58 for the sixth wicket to ensure Tuskers eased to victory in the 38th over.
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When Mitchell Johnson hit Virat Kohli on the helmet with a bouncer, Australian fielders came from everywhere. Mental disintegration had gone, replaced by the cricket unity. Two teams, one family.
From the bouncer that struck him on the badge of his helmet to the bouncer that dismissed him, Virat Kohli's century, and his duel with Mitchell Johnson, made for compelling human drama
After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.
Virat Kohli's innings on the final day transcended the conditions, the bowlers and his batting partners, and when it was all in vain, he displayed remarkable grace in defeat
The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game
Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough
The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be
After a long time we have seen an Indian team and captain enjoy the challenge of trying to overcome stronger opposition in an overseas Test