Masakadza takes Mountaineers to top spot
Mountaineers moved to the top of the table in the Logan Cup with a 204-run win over Matabeleland Tuskers in Bulawayo.
The first day didn't go the way of the Mountaineers. They were bowled out for 203 after being sent in, and even that modest total was reached on the back of a 94-run eighth-wicket stand between Stuart Matsikenyeri and Shingirai Masakadza. Seven of their batsmen, including the top three, made single-digit scores. Chris Mpofu was the most successful of the bowlers, finishing with 4 for 39.
Matabeleland's batsmen, however, turned in an even limper performance. Unlike the Mountaineers they made a solid start, progressing to 74 for 1 before losing wickets in a heap. A stubborn 76-run association for the sixth wicket took them to 176 for 5, but they lost four wickets for three runs before being bowled out for 191.
Mountaineers had made their way to a shaky 89 for 3 in their second innings before they took command through Hamiltion Masakadza's 173. He was involved in three substantial stands, the biggest of which was 154 for the fifth wicket with Timycen Maruma.
Faced with the tough target of 406, Matabeleland's batting crumbled for the second time in the match. Maruma, not content with his match-changing partnership, sliced through the top order to leave them at reeling 46 for 6, a position from which there was no recovery.
Mashonaland Eagles cruised to a huge win against Southern Rocks at the Country Club to go second in the points table. Ray Price was the star for the Eagles, picking up a five-for in the second innings and finishing with seven in the match, as the Rocks were crushed by 234 runs.
It wasn't the greatest of starts for the Eagles, after being put in by the opposition, and only the captain Elton Chigumbura's watchful fifty helped them reach 207 for 8. But half-centuries from Trevor Garwe (58) and Admire Manyuma (61) ensured the tail wagged, and a 101-run partnership between the two helped them finish on an impressive 357.
Chigumbura and Greg Lamb ensured there would be no fight during the Rocks' first innings and both picked up three wickets apiece. Robertson Chiniyengetere's fighting 55 though, ensured that the follow-on was avoided.
The Eagles continued to pile on the pressure on the third day as wicketkeeper Forster Mutizwa searched for quick runs. He smashed eight fours and a six during his near run-a-ball 78, and even though Tafadzwa Kamungozi and Steve Tikolo tried their best to stifle the runs, Rocks were left needing 459 for victory.
It was always going to be a difficult task, but with Steve Tikolo at the crease at stumps on day three, the Rocks had not given up hope. However, Tikolo could add only 19 when play resumed on the final day, becoming Price's second victim. That opened the gates and Price was quick to account for the middle and lower orders, with Craig Ervine providing the only delay with a painstaking 61.
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