Sibanda and Lewis deliver Rhinos win
Mid West Rhinos 181 (Nyathi 55) and 326 (Sibanda 104) beat Southern Rocks 199 (Mahwire 66, Lewis 7-37) and 210 (Matsikenyeri 93, Mugava 4-56) by 98 runs
Southern Rocks remained rooted to the bottom of the Logan Cup table after slumping to a 98-run loss against Mid West Rhinos at the Kwekwe Sports Club.
It's their fourth defeat in 10 matches and means the Rocks continue to be winless in the tournament. They were well in the game after bowling the Rhinos out for 181 but Justin Lewis' seven wickets restricted their first-innings lead to just 18. Vusi Sibanda's second-innings 104 took the Rhinos 309 runs clear and it proved too tough a chase for Rocks to pull off, despite a heroic 324-ball 93 from Rocks captain Stuart Matsikenyeri.
Rocks final-innings chase did not get off to the best start, with three wickets - two more for Lewis - falling in the first 14 overs. Matsikenyeri desperately held up one end but was powerless to intervene at the other as wickets continued to tumble. Offspinner Simon Mugava, removed Sikandar Raza and wicketkeeper Robertson Mutumbami until Matsikenyeri finally found some support in Chinyengetere again. In 50 overs the pair added 105, dragging their team towards safety until Roland Benade snared Chinyengetere three short of a well-deserved half-century. His dismissal signalled the slide and Rocks fell 98 runs short.
It had all looked so optimistic for Rocks after being asked to bowl first. Rhinos were soon struggling at 88 for 5 before Remembrance Nyathi built some resistance with the lower order. Nyathi hung around for 136 deliveries, striking five boundaries to reach a valuable half-century and help hoist the total up to 181. Though hardly imposing, Lewis' heroics stormed Rhinos right back into the match. He took six of the first seven wickets to fall, leaving Rocks tottering at 71 for 6, before Robertson Chinyengetere's painful resistance stopped the rot alongside Blessing Mahwire. The pair built an impressive 119-run stand, with Mahwire hitting two sixes and five fours in his 66. At the other end Chinyengetere was a picture of stoicism, striking a solitary boundary in an epic 194-ball 46. It was enough to earn his side a slender lead.
The response from Rhinos top order was imposing and proved the decisive move in the game. Gary Ballance and Friday Kasteni put on a careful century opening stand before Sibanda stroked his way to fluent century. Ballance hit nine fours before becoming Hilary Matanga's second wicket. He captain, Sibanda, was then supported by the middle order as Rhinos pressed ahead. He struck nine fours and a six before edging behind to Matanga for 104. He had laid the foundation for the 309-run lead which proved enough for his team.