Andrew Hall scored his second half century in the match to put Mashonaland Eagles in a strong position on the penultimate day of their Castle Logan Cup cricket encounter against MidWest Rhinos on Thursday.
The Eagles’ player coach was unbeaten on 89 runs to add to his 70 runs in the first innings as his team closed on 192-7 at stumps with a lead of 225 runs with three wickets in hand.
This has set up an intriguing final day today where defending champions Eagles will be searching for their first victory this season while Rhinos will be looking for their third consecutive victory in this competition.
Hall shared a vital sixth wicket partnership of 73 runs with wicketkeeper batsman Regis Chakabva (60) after Eagles had found themselves in trouble at 38-5 after 19 overs.
After a barren spell in the first innings Ed Rainsford came back all guns blazing in the second as he combined with Ian Nicolson to rattle the Eagles’ top order.
Rainsford was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for 27 runs in 14 overs while Nicolson and leg spinner Graeme Cremer had added a wicket apiece.
Eagles’ openers Prince Masvaure, Simbarashe Gupo and Eagles’ skipper Forster Mutizwa were all sent back to the pavilion for ducks with Rainsford claiming two of the scalps in his first two overs.
However Rhinos did not sustain the pressure even when they dismissed Greg Lamb (10), Ryan Butterworth (2) and Mark Mbofana (1) as they were frustrated by an unbroken eight-wicket stand of 72 runs between Hall and tail-ender Mark Mbofana.
The duo’s partnership had yielded 72 runs by stumps on Thursday and was threatening to take Eagles close to 250, which could prove difficult for Rhinos to chase on the last day on Friday.