Two half-centuries by Elton Chigumbura and Sikandar Raza inspired Southern Rocks to a 23-run victory over Mountaineers as they booked their place in the semi-finals of the Stanbic Twenty20 at Harare Sports Club on Friday.
They play Mid West Rhinos in the first semi-final this afternoon while Matabeleland Tuskers take on Mashonaland Eagles on Saturday morning.
Rhinos stunned Tuskers by 23 runs on Friday in a match that was reduced to 14 overs after rains slashed the match venue.
Rhinos were 148 all out after 19.5 overs and rains stopped the match when Tuskers were chasing at 43.1 after 5.2 overs.
The game was then reduced to 14 overs, leaving Tuskers needing 67 runs from 8.4 overs to win, but man of the match Graeme Cremer had other ideas, claiming a career best of 4/17 in 18 balls as Rhinos cruised to a better net run rate that gave them the last semi-final spot over Mountaineers.
In the first match between Rocks and Mountaineers, Raza again led from the front scoring 54 off 47 balls in an innings that featured eight boundaries and a six after the Rocks’ skipper Steven Tikolo had won the toss and elected to bat on a good batting track.
However, the most impressive batting performance came from Chigumbura whose quick-fire 71 off 62 balls saw Rocks posting 198 for six.
The Rocks just came short by two runs of posting their second double century score of the series, but 198 was still a tall order for the Mountaineers’ batsmen.
The large total gave the Manicaland-based franchise’s batsmen butterflies in their tummies when they strode to the crease for the run chase.
Since the tournament started the team that bats second usually comes short of the target and true to tradition Mountaineers struggled with the chase.
In reply to Rocks’ score Mountaineers were restricted to 175 for six with their highest contribution coming from South African Lance Klusener batting at number seven.
Although the big-hitting South African found the boundary with ease towards the end of his team’s innings, defeat was inevitable.
Klusener scored the fastest half-century of the tournament from only 17 deliveries as he finished unbeaten on 52.
New Zealander spinner Chris Harris stopped the flow of runs with some good slow bowling.
Harris, despite failing to get any wickets, was voted man-of- the-match after conceding only 13 runs in his four overs.
Like in his team’s previous matches Chamunorwa Chibhabha provided the breakthrough taking two wickets for 25 runs to take his wicket tally to 10, the highest in the tournament so far.
Tafadzwa Kamungozi also bowled well to finish with figures of 2-22.