Eagles cling on to secure Logan Cup
Mid West Rhinos 364 (Taylor 131) and 335 for 6 (Wessels 108*) drew with Mashonaland Eagles 451 (Lamb 159, Chigumbura 105, Rainsford 6-66) and 67 for 5
Mashonaland Eagles held their nerve on a tense final day at the Harare Sports Club , to earn a draw against Mid West Rhinos and so win the Logan Cup by virtue of topping the league table in the round-robin stage.
A high-scoring match appeared to be heading towards a soporific conclusion on the fourth afternoon when the Rhinos declared leaving the Eagles a target of 249. In the circumstances, they were never likely to take the bait, and the assumption was they would bat out time with ease.
However, Graeme Cremer and Taurai Muzarabani caused panic in reducing the Eagles to 36 for 5, and only 27 overs of dogged resistance from Forster Mutizwa and Mark Mbofana averted a shock defeat.
Until then, the match had been going as expected. The Eagles won the toss and drew first blood when Rhinos opener Friday Kasteni was sent back by Elton Chigumbura for one. Brendan Taylor then led a strong batting performance as the rest of the top order chipped in with useful contributions.
Malcolm Waller and Cremer went past the fifty-run mark to support Taylor who compiled an aggressive 131 off 155 balls, with 20 fours. Prince Masvaure was the most successful bowler, picking 3 for 49, as the Rhinos finished on 364.
Ed Rainsford rocked the Eagles' reply at both ends of their first innings, but two big partnerships in the middle gave the Eagles a significant lead. Greg Lamb struck 159 off 352 balls, while Chigumbura was equally patient in compiling 105. They added 211 runs before Regis Chakabva struck 74 and added 104 with Lamb. Rainsford finished with figures of 6 for 66 as the Eagles ended 87 runs ahead.
Kasteni failed in the second dig as well, but Taylor and Innocent Chikunya had no troubles in taking the Rhinos past Eagle's lead. A succession of wickets left them in some trouble at 174 for 5, before Riki Wessels and Cremer set the tone for a tricky fourth-innings chase. Cremer was stumped for 56, while Wessels was unbeaten on 108 when the declaration came about. Then came the final twist.
Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare