Tuskers, Mountaineers post easy wins
Matabeleland Tuskers 161 for 3 (S Ervine 45, C Ervine 42*) beat Mashonaland Eagles 157 (Raza 46, Matsikenyeri 42, S Ervine 3-31) by seven wickets
Sean Ervine's all-round efforts set up Matabeleland Tuskers' comfortable seven-wicket win over Mashonaland Eagles in Bulawayo. Sean Ervine, after taking three middle-order wickets to break Eagles' back, top-scored for his side with 45 to help overhaul the target with more than 17 overs to spare.
Eagles got off to a shaky start, and were reduced to 6 for 2 by the seventh over. Although Stuart Matsikenyeri rebuilt the innings through partnerships with Nathan Waller and Sikandar Raza worth 46 and 39 respectively, they lost seven wickets for 66 runs, sparked by Sean Ervine's three-for.
Tuskers were always in control of their chase as Sean Ervine and Craig Ervine, who scored an aggressive unbeaten 42, steered their side to the win, which consolidated Tuskers' position at the top of the table.
Mountaineers 200 for 3 (Pettini 85*, Masakadza 62) beat Mid West Rhinos 225 for 6 (Mickleburgh 49, Taylor 35, Waller 35) by seven wickets (D/L)
At Mutare Sports Club, Mountaineers defeated Mid West Rhinos by seven wickets in a rain-shortened contest. After Rhinos scored 225 for 6 in 43 overs, the target for the Mountaineers was brought down to 200 in 28 overs. Openers Mark Pettini and Hamilton Masakadza put on a 111-run stand in 13.2 overs to establish a firm hold over the game, and they reached the target with ten balls to spare.
Rhinos' innings was based on a collective effort by their top order. Although wickets fell regularly, decent contributions from Jaik Mickleburgh, who scored 49, Brendon Taylor, Malcolm Waller and later Steven Trenchard got them to a challenging total. Seamer Shingi Masakadza was the most economical of the bowlers, with a spell of 1 for 26 off eight overs.
Mountaineers, after their dominant start, slightly stuttered, losing two wickets, but chased down the target comfortably. They are, however, still at the lower half of the points table.