MIDLANDS Rhinos’ inexperienced tailenders did a superb job on the second day of their match against Logan Cup champions Manicaland Mountaineers at Harare Sports Club yesterday with their plucky batting keeping their team in the game against all expectations. At 130 for seven, Rhinos had just escaped the follow-on, but then James Bruce, with 40, began the fightback, which was carried on by Trevor Chibvongodze, who finished the day with 39 not out, and the score a greatly improved 223 for nine wickets.
Overnight, Mountaineers were on 257 for eight wickets, with the solid Foster Mutizwa on 60 and Natsai M’shangwe on nine. M’shangwe, looking for runs as usual, always looked vulnerable, especially against the short ball, but in fact Mutizwa was the first to go. He came down late to an excellent yorker from Tafara Chingwara, and was bowled for 65, which took him all of 194 balls and included seven fours.
Two runs later M’shangwe (21) went for a big hit against Trevor Gwandu, but skied a catch in the midwicket area to end the innings for 278, leaving Victor Nyauchi not out without having faced a ball. Chingwara, with five wickets for 54, was deservedly the most successful bowler, none of the others taking more than one wicket.
Midlands Rhinos reverted to their opening partnership of Bothwell Chapungu and Tendai Maruma against Tiripano and Nyauchi. Chapungu immediately made his presence felt, going for the bowling with his usual gusto, and after six overs there were 38 runs on the board, of which he had 30, with five fours and a six. Then, however, he flicked a ball from Tiripano down the leg side and was caught by the keeper.
Takudzwanashe Kaitano came in next, but scored only a single before edging a ball from Clive Chitumba to the keeper; 42 for two. Maruma was still playing steadily, but the Welsh professional Brad Wadlan looked in good touch from the start.
At lunch the score was 77 for two, with Maruma on 29 and Wadlan 12. Without adding to his score after the break, Wadlan drove loosely at a ball from Tiripano outside his off stump and gave a sharp catch to second slip; 81 for three. The innings was now at a critical point, as the acting captain, Prince Masvaure, came in, with Neville Madziva the only experienced player left after him. The two batsmen seemed very aware of this as they now batted with great caution.
Manicaland Mountaineers – 278 all out in 97 overs (Donald Tiripano 73, Forster Mutizwa 65, Tino Mawoyo 35, Kevin Kasuza 35; Tafara Chingwara 5/54, Bothwell Chapungu 1/5, James Bruce 1/23, Neville Madziva 1/48)
Midlands Rhinos – 223-9 in 81 overs (Tendai Maruma 51, James Bruce 40, Trevor Chibvongodze 39*; Victor Nyauchi 3/41, Donald Tiripano 2/58, Wellington Masakadza 1/24)
Day 2 – Stumps: Midlands Rhinos trail by 55 runs with one wicket remaining in the first innings – zimcricket