Lamb and Mutizwa help Eagles stay firm at top spot
A 176-run fifth-wicket partnership between Captain Greg Lamb and Forster Mutizwa helped Mashonaland Eagles defeat Mountaineers by six wickets at the Mutare Sports Club. The unbroken stay displayed an excellent show of low-risk straight drives and thundering shots in the covers with occasional blows towards long on and long off.
Mutizwa came in with his side precariously placed at 6 for 2 after Njabulo Ncube had openers Cephas Zhuwawo and Samuel Mwakayeni caught behind. Mutizwa's unbeaten 90 came off 131 balls and included 13 boundaries, as he mixed impressive strokemaking with aggressive running between the wickets. Lamb followed up his first-innings score of 66 with a polished 77 not out off 110 balls, including ten fours and one six.
Put in by the Eagles, the Mountaineers managed 291, largely due to Stuart Matsikenyeri's 110. It was another combined effort during the Eagles reply - from Lamb and Regis Chakabva - which helped them take a slender lead of 24. Kyle Jarvis was on song during Mountaineers' second innings as he picked up 6 for 60 to negate the fighting fifties from captain Hamilton Maskadza and Matsikenyeri, and bowl them out for 249.
The target of 226 was overhauled by Eagles in the 50th over of the final day. The win helped Eagles maintain top spot, while the Mountaineers suffered their second defeat of the tournament.
Meanwhile, the match between Matabeleland Tuskers and Midwest Rhinos at the Queens Sports Club ended in a tame draw due to inclement weather. Resuming on 187 for 4, the Rhinos reached 419 for 7 when persistent drizzles halted the match shortly before tea. Brendan Taylor ensured the draw for the visiting side as he scored a fluent 168, comprising 15 fours and three sixes, to deny the Tuskers an innings win.
Choosing to bat, the Tuskers had piled up 491, with Charles Coventry scoring a sparkling 100. Openers Gavin Ewing, captain Gregory Strydom and Keegan Meth weighed in with fifties, as Graeme Cremer provided consolation for the Rhinos with 7 for 124.
The Rhinos batsmen failed to be inspired by captain Vusi Sibanda's sparkling 111 during the reply, and Chris Mpofu's five-for meant they had to follow on, having managed just 207. Riki Wessels' quick 114 the second time around led the way for the batting revival, before Taylor held on to ensure ten points for Rhinos.
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