Favourites Matabeleland Tuskers got off their Stanbic T20 cricket series to a good start when they beat Mashonaland Eagles by 12 runs in their opening match at Harare Sports Club Sunday.
Tuskers are the leaders in both the Castle Logan Cup and the MetbankPro40 series.
They are under the leadership of former national team captains Dave Houghton and Heath Streak and they have done better than last season where they struggled in all areas of the game.
Yesterday, man-of-the-match, South African Neil Carter capped a fine afternoon with 49 runs from 25 balls, putting away eight boundaries and two sixes before claiming two wickets in conceding 35 runs. His career best score in the T/20 is 58.
Sean Williams was 38 not out from 33 balls where he put away three boundaries while Charles Coventry’s 20 was also crucial to their eventual total of 167/7 after winning the toss and choosing to bat. For Ryan Butterworth it was an unforgettable afternoon as he returned figures of 3/20, claiming the wickets of Coventry, Adam Wheater and Keith Dabengwa, who both went for four. Butterworth was then the highest scorer for Eagles with 39 off 17, as he punished the Tuskers bowlers—all in a losing cause.
In chasing the total, Nick Compton made 30 off 27 balls, Grant Flower added 30 while Regis Chakabva was run out by Dabengwa on 26.
Dabengwa also claimed two wickets for 22 runs, with Chris Mpofu also taking 2/22. Tuskers skipper Gavin Ewing made a career best of 2/13 in the match.
In the first match of the day, Riki Wessels struck an unbeaten 47 as Mid West Rhinos beat Southern Rocks by 11 runs.
Rhinos won the toss and elected to bat reaching 149/6 after 20 overs in 86 minutes. Wessels’ tally came off 26 balls and he put away five boundaries in the process while Gary Balance chipped in with a good 30 off 26 balls.
Brendan Taylor added 24 from 17 balls, three of which were boundaries as Rhinos reached what seemed like not an easy total to defend.
Chris Harris was the Rocks best bowler, returning figures of 2/11. But Rocks, with the legendary Brian Lara on their books, started off slowly and the West Indies man made just 23 in the innings, down from the half century (65) he made on his 20/20 debut in Zimbabwe on Saturday against Mashonaland Eagles.
Kenyan Steve Tikolo made 21 while Craig Ervine’s 25 not out was just not enough to secure victory as they fell 11 runs short, finishing at 138/9 after 20 overs. Ian Nicholson and Malcom Waller were the pick of the bowlers for the victors with figures of 3/18 and 3/23 respectively.