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November 20, 2010
In a low-scoring thriller Mashonaland Eagles held their nerve to secure a place in the Stanic Bank 20 final with a one-wicket victory against Matabeleland Tuskers. Their last-wicket pair of Ray Price and Doug Hondo came together with six still required, despite the target being just 71, and edged their side home with nine balls to spare.
The Eagles bowlers had done their job by skittling Tuskers for 70, but it soon became clear the chase wasn't going to be easy. Keegan Meth and Chris Mpofu took two wickets apiece as the Eagles fell to 11 for 4 in the fifth over and between them their eight overs cost 18 runs. Ryan ten Doeschate held the innings together with 26 off 47 balls - more 50-over than 20-over pace - but when he fell 13 and Greg Lamb followed for a duck it was a nerve-jangling conclusion.
Hondo and Andrew Hall earlier shared six wickets and none of the Eagles bowlers conceded more than 17 in their spells. Sharp fielding also contributed three run outs while Neil Carter, who normally scores at more than a run-a-ball, top-scored with 25 off 33 balls but Tuskers' paltry total almost proved enough.
Lou Vincent and Vusi Sibanda combined in a commanding partnership of 139 in 16 overs to guide Mid West Rhinos into the final with an eight-wicket victory against Southern Rocks. The third-wicket pair ensured the early loss of both openers didn't become a major problem as they knocked off the 152-run target with ease. Sibanda cracked five sixes in his 60 while Vincent cleared the ropes twice as he hit an unbeaten 75 off 55 balls.
Tatenda Taibu, the Rocks captain, enabled his team to post a decent total with a controlled 57 as the rest of the top order failed to shine. Wickets fell steadily with Brendan Taylor's part-time offspin proving particularly effective as he claimed 2 for 17 in four overs. Steve Tikolo provided some late impetus with a brisk 27, but in the end the total wasn't anywhere near being a challenge.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?