REGIS Chakabva’s maiden first-class double century helped Mashonaland Eagles to 545 for seven declared before seamer Taurai Muzarabani claimed two early wickets in one over as the hosts took firm control on day three of the Logan Cup cricket match at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Resuming the day unbeaten on 147 runs, Chakabva added 93 to his overnight score as he shared a string of productive partnerships with Sikandar Raza (73) and Elton Chigumbura (55) to steer the home side a mammoth lead of 249 runs.
After the declaration, Mid West Rhinos, who had posted 296 runs in their first innings on the opening day, immediately had their backs against the wall as Muzarabani got off to a rampant start, taking the wickets of Vusi Sibanda (9) and Peter Moor (for a first ball duck) from consecutive deliveries.
Rhinos, however, recovered from a horror start to reach 61 for two with skipper Brendan Taylor unbeaten on 18 runs, while Bothwell Chapungu was on 26 not out, but the Kwekwe-based franchise still faces a herculean task to avoid defeat.
The day, however, belonged to Chakabva, whose personal milestone came at a time when some had begun to doubt his ability after a lean spell with the bat for both the national team and Mash Eagles towards the end of last season.
Chakabva was at the crease for more nine and a half hours during his risk free innings, faced 4 111 balls and hit 27 boundaries and a six on his way to the highest individual score in the Logan Cup competition so far this season.
Seamer Michael Chinouya finished with the best bowling figures with three wickets for 93 runs, while left arm spinner Kudakwashe Munyede claimed two wickets for 87 runs.
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Meanwhile, seamer Tawanda Mupariwa claimed the first five-wicket haul in this Logan Cup competition as defending champions Matabeleland Tuskers took a first innings lead after dismissing Southern Rocks for 256 runs.
Tinashe Panyangara led the Southern Rocks fightback with a spirited 89, but Tuskers, who posted 284 runs, still claimed a slender first innings lead of 38 runs.
At the close of play, Tuskers had recovered from a shaky start to reach 131 for four and take a lead of 169 runs with six wickets remaining in their second innings.