A century by wicketkeeper/ batsman Rikki Wessels gave MidWest Rhinos a solid start in their Logan Cup cricket encounter with log leaders Matabeleland Tuskers. at Queens Sports Club Thursday as they closed on 348 all out.
Rikki Wessels top-scored with a solid scored 105 off 130 balls and shared a fourth wicket partnership stand of 174 runs with all-rounder Malcolm Waller (96).
Rhinos were bowled out for 348 in their first innings, in the last over before stumps yesterday when Roland Benade (55) was caught behind by Adam Wheater off rejuvenated seamer Njabulo Ncube.
However the stars of the day for Rhinos were Wessels and Waller who took Rhinos’ first innings from a precarious 3-43 after 17 overs to 217 in the 53th over when the latter was caught behind by John Nyumbu.
Rhinos won the toss and elected to bat, a decision which seemed to backfire when Friday Kasteni (8) and skipper Vusimuzi Sibanda (0) perished in the first 10 overs falling to fast-improving seamer Bradley Staddon
Wessels resurrected Rhinos’ innings, hitting 10 boundaries before he was caught by Steven Trenchard off the bowling of spinner Nyumbu again in the 65th over with the scores at 268 after the loss of six wickets.
Nyumbu and Ncube were the pick of the bowlers claiming three wickets apiece as they ironically finished with identical figures of 3-71 from 22 overs.
Rhinos’ all-rounder Paul Franks (45) and Benade who scored a half century made sure their team reached the 300 mark after their crucial eight wicket partnership of 47 runs.
The crucial partnership took Rhinos from 270-7 to 317 -8 after their fellow batsmen perished in their teens.
Tuskers will now have to dig deep on their home ground to make sure that they come close or past Rhinos’ 348 to stand a good chance of coming out with something in this match.