Big hitting Mashonaland Eagles all-rounder, Elton Chigumbura believes that unity and teamwork played a crucial role in his teams success following their Coca-Cola Pro50 triumph over MidWest Rhinos at Harare Sports on Saturday.
Chigumburas all-round brilliance played a key role in the 63-run win after he scored an unbeaten ton (104) to lead Eagles to a modest 220 for eight in their allotted 50.
Rhinos decision to field had been vindicated early as Eagles found themselves reeling at 34 for five inside 10 overs before Chigumburas 91-run ninth wicket partnership stand with Innocent Chinyoka.
The 25-year-old all-rounder came back to retain impressive bowling figures of three wickets for 27 runs in nine to bundle out Rhinos for 157 in 42,1 overs.
In an interview NewsDay Sport after his teams victory an elated Chigumbura saluted his teammates and attributed the win to their never-say-die spirit.
This was a befitting way for us to end the season in which we reached the final of the Stanbic Twenty20 Series and finishing second in the Logan Cup. Winning the Pro50 Championship is the perfect icing on the cake and I believe it was all through unity and teamwork from the boys, said Chigumbura.
At one stage, Eagles lost five wickets for four runs four of them on the score of 34 with key batsmen Stuart Matsikenyeri, Forster Mutizwa and Tinotenda Mutombodzi all falling for ducks.
I just had to remain patient and make sure we repair the damage, said Chigumbura. We managed to do that after the partnerships with Regis (Chakabva) and Waller (Nathan), but I think the 91-run stand with Innocent Chinyoka was the turning point in the match.
Chigumbura picked up the pieces through a 58-run stand with Regis Chakabva, who fell to Graeme Cremer in the 25th over.
Nathan Waller slogged 26 off 24 balls before Innocent Chinyoka provided just the sort of stubborn resistance Chigumbura needed to swell the total. All-rounder Chinyoka occupied the crease for 78 minutes, facing 57 balls for an invaluable, unbeaten 26.
Chigumbura took care of the scoring business at the other end and surged past his century. The stand was worth an unbroken 91 in 18,1 overs and pushed the Eagles to a respectable 220 for eight and must certainly have given their blowers some confidence.
Chinyoka returned to torment the Rhinos, this time with the new ball, offering able support to fellow seamer Tatenda Manatsa (2 for 31) as the top three perished for a combined contribution of 10 runs.
Thereafter Chigumbura took over, slicing through the middle order with a three-wicket burst that left the Rhinos gasping at 60 for seven. Tail-enders Cremer and Rainsford sparked a lower-order resistance, but there wasnt enough room for another twist in the tale as Rhinos were made to wait at least for one more season before they can win a domestic title.