Seamer Glen Querl made an eye-catching entrance to Zimbabwean first-class cricket as a match haul of 9 for 101 from him helped set up a nine-wicket win for Matabeleland Tuskers over Southern Rocks at Masvingo Sports Club.
Querl grew up in Zimbabwe and played Under-19 cricket for them before heading to England to further his career, and landing a spot on MCC's Young Cricketers programme. From there, he was picked up by the Unicorns - a team of non-contracted professionals in the English domestic one-day competition - and become an established member of their seam attack.
After a couple of speculative matches for the Mountaineers' B side at the end of last season, he returned to Zimbabwe and won a contract with Tuskers, sharing the new ball with Keegan Meth in the first innings against Rocks. He made a telling start on his first-class debut, his 6 for 38 helping to skittle Tuskers for 148. Half-centuries from opener Terry Duffin and wicketkeeper Adam Wheater ensured a lead for Tuskers, after which Meth's five-for set a fourth-innings target of exactly 100. Tuskers lost Brian Chari early, but Duffin and Gavin Ewing saw them home with minimum fuss against the struggling Rocks, who are yet to win a first-class match this season.
Mid West Rhinos very nearly pulled of a remarkable win in their match against Mashonaland Eagles at Kwekwe Sports Club. Having conceded a first-innings lead, Rhinos seemed to be out of contention after setting Eagles a target of just 158 in the fourth innings. In a remarkable turnaround, Rhinos clawed their way back in to the match and eventually held Eagles to a tense draw, reducing them to 154 for 9 before the match came to an end.
Rhinos had reached 321 in their first innings after being put in to bat, thanks mainly to the efforts of the in-form Gary Ballance, who cracked 83, and Solomon Mire's career-best 96. Eagles captain Stuart Matsikenyeri then underpinned a strong batting effort, his 144 adding to three half-centuries from Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva and Peter Moor as Eagles reached 463.
Ballance, who has now scored 421 runs in his last three first-class innings, carried the batting once again in the second innings, his his 128 - and Riki Wessels' 73 - guiding Rhinos to 299 all out. Eagles stumbled through the early stages of their chase on the final evening, but appeared on course during an 81-run fifth-wicket stand between Chakabva and Moor. Once they were parted, however, panic set in and three run-outs reduced Eagles to 154 for 9 in the final over of the day.