Aggressive Tuskers opener Charles Coventry smashed a cracking 44 off 19 deliveries as his team completed a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Mashonaland Eagles in the second match of the Stanbic Twenty20 cricket series at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Coventry smashed four sixes and two boundaries as Tuskers finished on 123-3 in 16 overs in reply to Eagles’ 120-8 in their allotted 20 overs.
Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle, who was the centre of attention, managed 27 runs from 31 deliveries before he was caught by Cephas Zhuwao at long-on off the blowing of Peter Trego.
Tuskers skipper Paul Horton chipped in with 30 runs from 35 balls.
Earlier, Tuskers had won the toss and elected to field on a wicket that proved difficult for the teams in both matches.
Seamer Njabulo Ncube grabbed the limelight for Tuskers with three wickets for 27 runs in his four overs while Keegan Meth also chipped in with two wickets.
Eagles never got going as they lost the opening four wickets for 32 runs before a sixth-wicket partnership stand of 35 runs from Elton Chigumbura (26) and Forster Mutizwa (21) gave them a respectable total.
In the first match, Mountaineers posted the first victory in the series after a comfortable six-wicket victory over MidWest Rhinos with seven balls to spare.
Rhinos, who had been set in to bat under overcast conditions which made it difficult for the batsman to settle, lost wickets at regular intervals before staggering to an easily attainable 115 for nine in their allotted 20 overs.
Anchored by veteran Chris Harris’ patient unbeaten 39 off 43 balls and Hamilton Masakadza’s 34, Mountaineers comfortably reached the target in the penultimate over.
Earlier Brendan Taylor had top-scored for Rhinos with a 33-ball 37 while wicketkeeper-batsman Rikki Wessels scored a quickfire 31 runs from 26 balls.
However, the duo were let down by their teammates, as the rest of the Rhinos batsmen easily gave away their wickets with some reckless batting.
Mountaineers took full advantage as they took their final seven wickets for a measly 28 runs following a defiant 53-run partnership between Taylor and Wessels.
The rest of the Rhinos batsmen failed to reach double figures due to a combination of poor shot selection and good bowling from the Mountaineers’ batsmen.
Mountaineers’ promising young leg spinner Natsai Mushangwe was not only the most economical of the Mountaineers bowlers, but also finished as the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for 19 runs from four overs.
Off-spinner Prosper Utseya — who had earlier run-out the dangerous Gary Balance for just one run from the first ball of the second over — also chipped in with two wickets the same as seamer Shingi Masakadza.