Debutant left-arm spinner Bert Chikomba's 5 for 36 set up Mashonaland Eagles' five-wicket win over Mountaineers in the second round of the Pro50 Championship in Harare. Chikomba's five-for skittled Mountaineers out for 167 before a 71 from opener Cephas Zhuwao and an unbeaten 35 from Gary Chirimuuta took the side to a win with more than 16 overs to spare.
Mountaineers got off to a slow start after opting to bat, and struggled to lift their overall scoring rate as the innings progressed. Innocent Kaia scored 52 but the rest of the batsmen were all dismissed for less than 25 as Chikomba ran through the middle order in his second spell. The spinner took four wickets in three successive overs between the 38th and 41st - including the wickets of Shingi Masakadza and Kudzai Sauramba off successive deliveries.
Zhuwao and Kudzai Maunze shared an 111-run opening stand to give Eagles a strong start but the side soon slipped to 141 for 4 following wickets from Roy Kaia and Tatenda Mupunga. Chirimuuta, who had scored an unbeaten fifty in the last game, saw the Eagles through to their second win.
Fifties from Mbekezeli Mabuza and Taffy Mupariwa guided Matabeleland Tuskers to a six-wicket win against Mid West Rhinos, their first of this tournament. The pair also shared a 99-run partnership for the fourth wicket, helping the side overcome a shaky start that had them struggling at 19 for 2 in the eighth over.
The early breakthroughs for Rhinos came from fast bowler Carl Mumba but Mabuza anchored the side - first with a 72-run partnership for the second wicket with Nkosana Mpofu and then his stand with Mupariwa. Mabuza was finally dismissed for 87 off 121 deliveries but by that time the score had moved to 190 for 4. Mupariwa, who finished unbeaten on 67 off 64 deliveries, struck a flurry of boundaries to guide the side home.
Mabuza made an equally important contribution with the ball and, along with left-arm spinner Keith Dabengwa, finished with a three-wicket haul. Their strikes ensured that Rhinos were limited to 230 for 7 despite fifties from their openers Tarisai Musakanda (82 off 118 deliveries) and Tendai Maruma (55 off 92 balls). The batsmen were involved in a 135-run opening stand but a mid-innings slide saw Rhinos squander the advantage as they dropped from 167 for 1 to 199 for 6.