Chari, Moeen succeed in testing chase
Tuskers 317 for 8 dec. (Williams 88) and 307 for 5 (Chari 98, Moeen 95) beat Mountaineers 264 (Querl 5-56) and 357 for 7 dec. (Masakadza 178) by five wickets
Brian Chari and Moeen Ali both fell short of hundreds but their contributions went a long way to helping Tuskers to victory in their opening match. Set 305 to win, Chari and Moeen took the chase to 219 for 2 after an opening stand of 72. First-change bowler Natsai M'shangwe trapped Chari two short of a century after 10 fours and a six, with Moeen playing a more enterprising knock, striking 12 fours and two sixes in 95 in just 87 balls before falling to Shingirai Masakadza.
Mushangwe kept Mountaineers in the game with additional wickets of Craig Ervine and Charles Coventry, but their knocks of 22 and 20 respectively, at nearly a run-a-ball, kept the chase ticking along and it was left to captain Keegan Meth to score the winning boundary.
It was an excellent competitive match with Tuskers taking a 53-run first innings lead after Glen Querl took 5 for 56 to bowl Mountaineers out for 264 having chosen to bat first. It was Querl's sixth five-for in first-class cricket and took him past 50 career wickets. But he only picked up the solitary success in Mountaineers' second innings as Hamilton Masakadza, playing his 100th first-class match, hauled his side back into the match with 178 in 279 balls. That allowed Mountaineers to declare and set up a testing, if ultimately reachable, chase.
Southern Rocks 459 for 8 dec. (Mutumbami 141, Burgoyne 102*) and forfeit beat Eagles 159 for 1 dec. (Chibhabha 102*) and 159 (Panyangara 4-43) by 141 runs
Southern Rocks capitalised on the opportunity to force a result on the final afternoon in Harare, bowling Eagles out for 159 for an easy victory. The captains came together to set up a chase for Southern Rocks of 301 but they were blown away by Tinashe Panyangara, whose 4 for 43 sent his side to an opening match victory.
After just 13.1 overs on day three, the game was destined for a draw but the match came alive as Eagles were fed 72 runs in 21 balls, allowing Chamu Chibhabha to make a century, and Southern Rocks forfeited their second innings. But Eagles were quickly reduced to 17 for 3 and the chance of victory was over inside 10 overs of the final innings. Panyangara did the early damage, having Sikandar Raza lbw for 4 and then five balls later removing captain Stuart Matsikenyeri for a duck. That after opener Chibhabha fell caught behind to Brian Vitori for 5.
Regis Chakabva hung around for 112 balls, making 28 but he was eventually bowled by Panyangara as the last of Eagles' resistance was removed. Vitori went on to pick up Mark Mbofana and Innocent Chinyoka to finish with 3 for 49 but neither he nor Panyangara could ruin Nathan Waller's day. He launched seven fours in an entertaining 53 minutes which saw him make an unbeaten 42 and provide at least some cheer for pointless Eagles.
Southern Rocks took seven points from their win which was set up from a big first innings total having won the toss. Richmond Mutumbami top-scored with 141 including two sixes and 21 fours. He and Derbyshire's Peter Burgoyne put on 153 for the fifth wicket, Burgoyne making an unbeaten 102. Another Derbyshire player, Ben Slater, made 89 opening the batting.