Domestic T20 Matchday 1 Roundup: Durham dominates Mountaineers; Rhinos and Eagles victorious


Zimbabwe domestic T20 March 2024

Rhinos win super over thriller

Despite a spectacular 86 runs off 52 balls by Cephas Zhuwao, Southern Rocks fell short against Rhinos in a riveting first match of Zimbabwe’s Domestic T20 Cup, culminating in a nail-biting Super Over showdown at Old Hararians Sports Club on Sunday.

Southern Rocks started strong with Zhuwao and Roy Kaia (42 off 31) propelling them to 112 for two wickets in the 11th over. However, their middle order faltered under the pressure, largely due to the excellent bowling of Tashinga Musekiwa, who claimed three wickets for 24 runs in his four overs, limiting Southern Rocks to 177 runs for the loss of seven wickets.

Rhinos faced an early setback with both openers dismissed for just 16 runs. Antum Naqvi's quickfire 30 off 14 balls, along with solid contributions from Ryan Burl (47 off 31) and Tarisai Musakanda (30 off 25), set the stage for a thrilling chase.

An exhilarating finish saw Carl Mumba dismissed on the final run leaving the teams level at 177, leading to a super over decider. Burl's 12 runs propelled Rhinos forward, aided by a five-wide delivery from Jalat Khan. In response, Southern Rocks could only manage two runs, losing two wickets in the process.

Durham dominates Mountaineers

In a commanding display, former England opening batsman Alex Lees's unbeaten 95 runs drove Durham to a convincing 53-run victory over Mega Market Mountaineers in their tournament opener at Harare Sports Club on Sunday afternoon.

Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Durham's solid opening partnership saw Lees and Graham Clark (30) amassing 55 runs for the first wicket within six overs. The momentum continued as Bas de Leede joined Lees, with the duo forging a vital 91-run stand for the second wicket before de Leede's dismissal for a brisk 40 off 24 deliveries. Tendai Chatara got his wicket.

Lees took charge of the innings, showcasing dominance at the crease; but a leg-bye off the final delivery left him tantalizingly short of what would have been a well-deserved century. His aggressive 95 runs came off just 59 balls, featuring two sixes and nine boundaries, captivating the crowd with his explosive strokeplay.

Despite Lees's heroics, the bowling prowess of Salman Mirza restricted Durham's charge, conceding a mere 14 runs across his four overs, claiming two crucial wickets.

In response, Joylord Gumbie's resilient knock of 42 off 38 deliveries set a solid foundation for Mountaineers. Timycen Maruma further bolstered their innings with a well-crafted 45 off 29 balls, adorned with six boundaries. However, lackluster performances from the other batters hampered their progress, culminating in a modest total of 139 runs for the loss of seven wickets.

Eagles edge Tuskers

Tanaka Chivanga's stunning three-wicket burst in seven deliveries emerged as the pivotal moment in Eagles' narrow 12-run triumph over Tuskers in the final match at Harare Sports Club, played under lights on Sunday.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, Eagles experienced an early setback, losing their first three wickets for 40 runs, including two in quick succession to Ernest Masuku's precision bowling.

The pivotal partnership of the innings blossomed as Craig Ervine (26) and Chamu Chibhabha (30) stitched together a crucial 52-run stand for the fourth wicket in eight overs. However, Eagles struggled to maintain momentum thereafter, culminating in a below par total of 136 for nine, with Masuku finishing with figures of three for 23.

Tuskers initiated their chase strongly with Brian Chari (18) and Ben McKinney (22) putting on a steady opening partnership of 42 runs in the initial five overs. However, the match dynamic swiftly shifted with Chivanga's remarkable spell, accounting for three big wickets of Chari, Hamid Ali, and Sean Williams in quick succession.

Despite a mid-innings collapse with five wickets tumbling for 60, a resilient effort from Milton Shumba (16) and Luke Jongwe (34) rekindled Tuskers' hopes, adding a crucial 42 runs in six overs. The match hung in the balance as Tuskers reached 122 for six with 10 deliveries left, signaling a tense finish.

In a thrilling climax, the equation boiled down to the final over from Owen Muzondo, with Tuskers needing 15 for victory. Eagles emerged triumphant as Muzondo's exceptional bowling, getting a wicket off the last delivery, sealed the game in dramatic fashion.

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