Mountaineers, Rhinos lay down early markers in T20 tourney

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BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
MOUNTAINEERS got their bid for a domestic double off to a perfect start with a convincing six wicket victory over Eagles at Harare Sports Club while Rhinos upset defending champions Tuskers in the other match at Old Hararians Sports Club as the Domestic T20 Competition got off to a thrilling start yesterday.

After winning the recent Pro50 Championship final, Mountaineers are seeking to complete a domestic double by winning the T20 competition. And they got their campaign off to a perfect start dismissing Eagles for a paltry 93 runs before easily chasing down for the loss of just four wickets with 30 balls remaining.

Eagles had an opportunity to put pressure on their opponents early on when they won the toss and elected to bat first, but that would be the only positive thing about their innings as they were rolled out for a very low total inside 14.4 overs.

Only two Eagles batters managed to reach double figures with skipper Chamu Chibhabha top scoring with 35 off 21 balls while Aishah Chibanda smashed a brisk 34 from just 16 deliveries.

The next best contribution from the Eagles’ batting line up was from the number 10 batsman Tapiwa Mafudza, who scored nine runs while eight other batsmen failed to score more than three runs each.

Leg spinner John Masara was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for 22 runs in three overs while Victor Nyauchi and the Masakadza brothers Wellington and Shingi claimed two wickets each.

Masara was named the man of the match for his match winning bowling display on his domestic T20 debut.

Mountaineers’ bowling display was well complimented by their batters. Despite losing Kevin Kasuza in the third over for nine runs, his batting partner PJ Moor kept the Eagles batsman on the back foot with a 26-ball 30 which included five fours while Tony Munyonga was unbeaten on 28 runs.

Meanwhile at Old Hararians Sports Club, allrounder Ryan Burl smashed a quickfire half century to inspire Rhinos claimed a comfortable six wicket victory over defending champions Tuskers.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first Tuskers, who were missing some of their experienced players, reached 158 for three in their allotted 50 overs.

Milton Shumba hit four massive sixes and a boundary on his way to 67 off 50 balls  while Clive Madande chipped in with 55 runs off just 48 deliveries.

Tuskers appeared on course to defended the total after restricting Rhinos to 72 for three inside eight overs before Burl’s match winning score of 57 runs off 32 balls which included six maximums and a four.

Rhinos reached 161 for four in 17.3 overs to win by six wickets with 30 balls remaining.

In the women’s competition Eagles and Mountaineers both got their campaigns off to winning starts with dominant wins. At Harare Sports Club, 16-year-old Kellies Ndlovu top-scored with a quickfire 91 off 49 deliveries as Eagles women set 170 for three in their allotted 20 overs. In reply Tuskers women were restricted to 76 for eight in 20 overs with Mitchel Mavunga claiming a five wicket haul.

The action in both the men and women’s competitions continues at Harare Sports Club and Old Hararians today.