Duffin, Mpofu star as Tuskers down Mountaineers
Matabeleland Tuskers 185 (Duffin 54*, Dabengwa 39, Chatara 3-34) beat Mountaineers 168 (H Masakadza 71, Mpofu 3-28) by 17 runs
An unbeaten half-century from Terry Duffin lifted Tuskers to 185, a score that their bowlers defended successfully to earn a 17-run victory against the Mountaineers at Queens Sports club.
Tuskers won the toss and elected to bat, but the Mountaineers seamers Tendai Chatara and Silent Mujaji proved to be a handful against their batting line-up. Chatara picked up the wickets of debutant Tinashe Mhora, caught for three, and Gavin Ewing. Keith Dabengwa steadied proceedings to an extent before he was stumped off Natsai Mushangwe for 39 runs.
Duffin held the Tuskers' crumbling middle order together and ensured his bowlers had something to defend. His 54 off 66 balls featured three fours and some smart running between the wickets and, despite the lack of support from the tail, Tuskers finished with 185.
Chasing an asking rate of 4.65, Mutare's big-hitting giants came a cropper against Chris Mpofu's seamers. Former Mountaineer Njabulo Ncube was the first to strike, removing Tinotenda Mawoyo in the second over. Mpofu then removed Bernard Mlambo before trapping Mark Vermuelen lbw wicket for just 12 runs. Prosper Utseya and Timycen Maruma followed soon after and, at 92 for 5, it was anybody's game.
Hamilton Masakadza sparked a fightback, striking 71 runs off 88 balls with six fours and a six. However, the tail-enders once again failed to support the set top-order batsman. Mpofu eventually ended Masakadza's stay, ninth down in the 36th over, effectively killing Mountaineers' hopes, as the Tuskers joined the Rocks at the top of the table with four points.