Raza, Vitori's bests help Eagles prey on Rocks
An unbeaten double-century by Sikandar Raza was the driving force of Mashonaland Eagles' innings and 94-run win against Southern Rocks in Harare that helped the team maintain its second position in the Logan Cup table. It was the second time within a week that Rocks' bowling had bore the brunt of Raza's aggression: a day before the start of this match, Raza's 130 had downed Rocks in the Pro50 Championship game.
Within 24 hours of that loss, the Rocks were batting again and despite a solid 64-run stand for the first wicket, their fortune didn't show any signs of change. Brian Vitori, who had not played the List A game, dismissed both the openers, then added three more wickets to complete his fifth first-class five-wicket haul. Other bowlers chipped in and the Rocks were bowled out for 164.
By the time Raza came in to bat on the second morning, the Eagles had all but wiped off the lead with a 161-run stand for the second wicket between Nick Welch and Mark Vermeulen. Both batsmen fell in the 80s, but Raza and Regis Chakabva, who scored 102, pummelled the bowling with a 235-run stand. The Eagles declared their innings with a lead of 343 runs as soon as Raza reached the 200-run mark.
Batting might have seemed easier during Eagles' innings, but it changed when Rocks came back. Faced with a mountain to climb, the Rocks lost their openers early, and despite brief periods of resistance, succumbed to the pace of Vitori who bagged a second five-for to finish with career-best figures of 12 for 106.
A five-wicket haul from the legspinner Natsai M'shangwe helped Mountaineers clinch a comprehensive 162-run win against Matebeleland Tuskers in Mutare. Tuskers were set 289 for victory, but barring a 66 from Sean Williams, none of the other batsmen could muster more than 23 as the team folded 126 in 47 overs. M'Shangwe finished with 5 for 39 - his third five-for in first-class cricket - as only three batsmen managed to reach double digits.
Mountaineers, put in to bat, fared poorly in their first essay, as a five-wicket haul from Williams restricted the team to 157. Tuskers, however, were unable to make that advantage count, as they were bundled out for 147, handing Mountaineers a 10-run lead. Williams once again stood out with a fighting 98, but received little by way of support at the other end, as Donald Tiripano snared four wickets to prevent the batting team from gathering any momentum.
Mountaineers struggled to build a foundation until a 74-run association for the fourth wicket between Kudzai Sauramba (56) and Timycen Maruma (50). Sauramba added a further 66 runs for the seventh wicket with M'Shangwe, as Mountaineers ended on 278.