Pro50 Championship Roundup: the Eagles make it six in six, as Tuskers are off the mark


Tinashe Kamunhukamwe continued to perform well as he scored an unbeaten 71, leading Eagles to an easy nine-wicket victory over Mega Market Mountaineers in their Pro50 Championship match played at Mutare Sports Club.

Mountaineers were bowled out for 168 runs in 35.2 overs, with Tapiwa Mufudza taking four wickets. Mufudza is the leading wicket taker this season and showing some excellent form with the ball. 

Despite losing an early wicket, Kevin Kasuza and Brian Bennett moved to consolidate the innings. Brian Bennet scored his first List A half century scoring 61 off 60 balls but the team struggled after Bennett's dismissal. The tail collapsed, resulting in a low total of 168. 

In response, Nick Welch and Kamunhukamwe had a strong opening partnership, with Welch reaching and Kamunhukamwe reaching half-centuries. Nick Welch was dismissed on 50. Kudzai Maunze came in at number 3 and played well, and he finished unbeaten on 41. 

Kamunhukamwe finished the top scorer, his innings included three sixes and eight fours. With this win, Eagles have now won all six of their matches in this List A competition.

Antum Naqvi's impressive century was not enough to maintain the Rhinos' winning streak in the Pro50 Championship campaign, as Tuskers secured a thrilling victory by a margin of three runs in their return match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Sunday.

Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Tuskers faced an initial setback, losing their opening pair for 34 runs. Nkosana Mpofu went out for a duck, while Clive Madande contributed 26 runs. Sean Williams scored 23 runs, but his innings lacked fluency. 

However, Brian Chari and Milton Shumba revived the innings with a solid partnership of 98 runs for the fourth wicket. Chari scored 63 off 98 balls, and Shumba added 67 runs off 88 deliveries. Both batsmen were eventually dismissed by off-spinner Simon Mugava, who recently returned to Zimbabwe after a spell in the United Kingdom. 

The low-order batsmen struggled to build on this partnership, with only Brandon James (17 not out) reaching double figures, as the innings concluded at 252 for nine off 50 overs. Mugava and Neville Madziva were the most successful bowlers for the Rhinos, taking three wickets each.

In their chase, Rhinos had a decent start with Ben Curran (31) partnering with Takudzwanaishe Kaitano(21) adding 35 runs for the first wicket. However, Kaitano's dismissal brought Naqvi to the crease. 

With four wickets falling for 100 runs, Tarisai Musakanda became Naqvi's reliable partner, contributing 31 runs as they constructed an 88-run partnership for the fifth wicket. When Musakanda departed at 188 for five, the Rhinos seemed well-positioned for victory, but the lower-order batsmen couldn't provide adequate support. 

Despite possessing a strong batting lineup, Rhinos' innings were bowled out at 249, falling just four runs short of victory with two overs remaining. Naqvi reached a century but was unfortunately run out by wicketkeeper Madande at exactly 100 runs. 

Mugava made an admirable effort to secure victory, scoring 16* not out, but Mumba's lbw dismissal to Chris Mpofu for three led to the closure of the innings. Williams stood out as the most successful bowler for Tuskers, taking three wickets for 33 runs in nine overs.

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