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November 12, 2011
In a remarkable match at the Mutare Sports Club, Mountaineers weathered an astonishing top-order collapse against Southern Rocks to get their first victory of the tournament. Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi and Prince Masvaure struck twice each with the new ball to leave Mountaineers tottering at 18 for 5. Kevin Kazusa, though, transformed the match with a jaw-dropping unbeaten century, blasting 129 off 91 deliveries, including five sixes to bring Mountaineers back in the game. He was assisted by Gary Chirimuuta, who made 46 at almost a run-a-ball. The pair added 126 for the sixth wicket but three more single-digit scores followed from the Mountaineers' tail to leave Southern Rocks a target of 230.
The wickets tumbled early in the chase as well, and this time there was no belligerent middle-order century to stop the slide. The biggest partnership of the innings was 24 runs, and only No. 8 Tendai Chisoro made it past 20 as Southern Rocks subsided for 123, handing a 106-run victory to Mountaineers. Natsai Mushangwe was the pick of the Mountaineers bowlers, adding three late strikes to his double-blow early on to finish with 5 for 22.
Mid West Rhinos moved to second spot with a comfortable nine-wicket win over Matabeleland Tuskers in Bulawayo. After being put in, Tuskers lost two wickets cheaply but found their feet through a 131-run third-wicket partnership between Gavin Ewing and Craig Ervine. Ewing went on to complete his maiden domestic one-day hundred while Ervine fell for 57 with a third of the innings remaining. Tuskers should have capitalised on that platform, but none of their other batsmen even reached 20. From 150 for 2 they collapsed to 227 all out.
During the Rhinos' reply, the batsmen were rarely troubled as they cruised to victory with more than nine overs to spare. The captain Gary Ballance led the chase with an unbeaten 108, and forged two substantial partnerships. He put on a watchful 94 with fellow opener Steve Marillier before Malcolm Waller injected plenty of momentum during an unbroken 134-run stand. Waller slammed 65 off 54, including six fours and three sixes, to hurry Rhinos to their second win of the season.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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