An all-round team performance helped Mid West Rhinos to a five-wicket win against Mountaineers at Kwekwe Sports Club in the Coca-Cola Pro50 Championship.
Mountaineers chose to bat and were dented early by medium-pacer Richard Muzhange, who claimed three quick wickets to leave Mountaineers 27 for 3 in the ninth over. Opener Jethro Maudzi , though, prevented a collapse with a fluent half-century. He hit 77 off 85 balls with seven fours, and put on 115 for the fourth wicket with his captain Timycen Maruma. A couple of handy cameos followed from Ned Eckersley and Gary Chirimuuta, which carried Mountaineers past 200. Muzhange eventually picked up Mawudzi to finish with 4 for 45.
Chasing 222, Rhinos lost Bothwell Chapungu early, but a 70-run stand between Steve Marillier and captain Gary Ballance got the innings back on track. Apart from Chapungu, Rhinos' top order batsmen all managed between 35 and 48, with Riki Wessels top scoring. Fast bowler Tendai Chatara picked up three wickets, but it was not close to being enough as Rhinos got home with all of 11 overs to spare.
The result, Rhinos' first win in three games following a loss and a tie, put them at No. 2 on the points table, while Mountaineers are languishing in last spot after their third straight loss.
Mashonaland Eagles consolidated their position at the top of the points table with a 38-run win against Matabeleland Tuskers at the Harare Sports Club.
Eagles' top order came good after they were inserted. Three successive half-century partnerships - 95, 59 and 87, the last one at a run-rate of over nine an over - set up their total of 278. Cephas Zhuwao and Ryan Bishop both hit half-centuries, with Zhuwao top scoring with 71. Glen Querl was the pick of the Tuskers bowlers, claiming 4 for 49. Bradley Staddon also snagged four wickets, but was expensive, going for 6.54 an over.
The chase was dotted with regular wickets. Tuskers' captain Gavin Ewing made 50 off 60 balls but, as the others scratched around and then got dismissed, his team slumped to 116 for 6 in the 30th over. Steven Trenchard showed some purpose with a rapid 60 - it included six fours and one six, and came off 43 balls - but after the early listlessness, even the late surge could not lift Tuskers to a win. Mark Mbofana finished with the best figures for Eagles: 3 for 26 in 6.1 overs.