Tuskers pull off impressive chase in dramatic game
Matabeleland Tuskers 216 (Muzhange 4-73) and 346 for 7 (Williams 118, Coventry 106*) beat Mid West Rhinos 65 (Querl 5-24, Meth 4-24) and 491 (Waller 208*, Taylor 140) by three wickets
Mid West Rhinos, riding on a double-century from Malcolm Waller and a hundred from Brendan Taylor, made the highest total of the match at Kwekwe Sports Club but still lost to Matabeleland Tuskers because of a shambolic first innings, in which they were shot out for 65. Chasing a target of 341, Tuskers also improved significantly on their first-innings effort, and centuries from Sean Williams and Charles Coventry secured a three-wicket victory.
Rhinos had decided to bat on the first day but they were bowling very soon after play began. Keegan Meth claimed 4 for 24 and Glen Querl took 5 for 24 as Rhinos were shot out for 65 in 31.3 overs. Only Jake Mickleburgh and Remembrance Nyathi made it past single figures.
In response, Tuskers lost their first three wickets for 21 runs but took the lead without further loss, before slipping to 96 for 6. Several of their middle-order batsmen got starts but failed to convert them. Querl, batting at No. 9, scored 40 off 36 balls and was supported by No. 11 Njabulo Ncube, who made 28 off 20. Richard Muzhange took 4 for 73 for Rhinos, as Tuskers were dismissed for 216 in 49.1 overs, leading by 151 runs.
Rhinos then lost three wickets for 31 runs in the second innings, but Taylor and Waller rescued the innings with a monumental fourth-wicket stand. They added 257 before Taylor was dismissed for 140 off 163 balls, and Waller went on to add 139 for the fifth wicket with Simon Mugava, who made 58. The lower order folded cheaply but Waller held one end up, finishing unbeaten on 208 as Rhinos ended on 491 in 147.2 overs.
The target of 341 in about four sessions was a stiff one and Tuskers stumbled, losing three wickets for four runs to the new ball. They lost another one before stumps on the third day and resumed the final morning on 91 for 4. Overnight batsman Sean Ervine had scored quickly the previous evening but was out early on the fourth day, for 55 off 67 balls. Williams was then joined by Coventry and they began what was ultimately a match-winning stand. Williams made 118 off 153, while Coventry made 106 off 133. They added 186 for the sixth wicket and Coventry stayed the course to secure victory by three wickets. Tuskers had scored at 4.46 runs per over.