Vermeulen ton sets up big win for Rhinos
Mid West Rhinos 265 (Vermeulen 68, Mugava 52, Waller 42, Jarvis 4-37) and 433 for 7 dec (Vermeulen 146, Sibanda 89, Taylor 68) beat Mashonaland Eagles 245 (Utseya 77, Jarvis 48, Chibhabha 42, Chinouya 5-61) and 130 (Rainsford 3-36, Madziva 3-22) by 323 runs
A century by Mark Vermeulen and an effective second-innings bowling performance led to Mid West Rhinos' 323-run victory over Mashonaland Eagles in Harare. The contest was even after the first innings, with Rhinos gaining a slender lead of 20 runs. But Vermeulen, opener Vusi Sibanda - who scored 89 - and captain Brendon Taylor guided them to 433 for 7 before declaring the innings 25 overs into the final session on the third day. Eagles were derailed by six wickets from seamers Neville Madziva and Ed Rainsford, and folded after 46 overs on the final day.
After being put in to bat, Rhinos were struggling after regular strikes from Eagles but half-centuries from Vermeulen and Simon Mugava, and a knock of 42 from middle-order batsman Malcolm Waller, guided them to 265. Eagles' reply progressed similarly as No. 7 Prosper Utseya, who scored 77, No. 9 Kyle Jarvis, who had taken four wickets earlier, and opener Chamu Chibhabha led them to 245. Seamer Michael Chinouya claimed five wickets, following on from the ten-for he took against Rocks last week.
The balance of the game shifted when a 144-run second-wicket stand between Sibanda and Vermeulen was followed by a 134-run stand between Vermeulen and Taylor. At 304 for 2, Rhinos were in a position to set a huge target for their opponents, which was ultimately 435. Eagles couldn't bat to save the game or try for an improbable win, and ended up crashing to a big defeat.
Matabeleland Tuskers 380 (Querl 188*, Duffin 63, Coventry 50) and 67 for 0 (Duffin 37, Chari 30) beat Southern Rocks 152 (Slater 37, Burgoyne 30, Mpofu 6-21) and 292 (Mutumbami 75, Masvaure 72*, Slater 42, Querl 4-31, Moeen 3-73) by ten wickets
An unbeaten 188 and five wickets by allrounder Glen Querl helped Matabeleland Tuskers to an easy ten-wicket victory in Bulawayo. A 228-run first-innings lead, helped by Querl's ton and seamer Chris Mpofu's six wickets, helped them gain the big win despite a strong second innings by Rocks.
Mpofu ran through the top order and the lower order to help dismiss Rocks for 152 in their first innings. The last six wickets fell for 21 runs.
Tuskers built on that performance to set a strong total. Querl, who came in to bat at No. 3, played an aggressive knock, making his first first-class century and led Tuskers to a massive lead. He scored at a strike-rate of 84.68 and ran out of partners, remaining unbeaten 12 short of his double-century. His two major partnerships, both worth more than a 100 runs, came with opener Terry Duffin, and with wicketkeeper Charles Coventry.
Rocks were in danger of losing by an innings but that didn't happen thanks to a much-improved batting performance in the second innings. Wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami and Prince Masvaure scored half-centuries, with Masvaure remaining unbeaten at the end of the innings. However, with no one going on to score a big century, the small target of 65 wasn't going to challenge Tuskers, who eclipsed it without the loss of any wicket in the 16th over of their innings.