Gladiators – 142 all out in 42 overs (Tony Munyonga 64, Malcolm Chikuwa 14, Clive Madande 14; Vincent Masekesa 4/43, Clive Chitumba 2/10, Tinashe Muchawaya 1/13)
Easterns – 123 all out in 32.2 overs (Baxton Gopito 43, Definate Mawadzi 28, Tinashe Chiora 17; Malcolm Chikuwa 3/18, Marshall Matimbe 2/31, Tony Munyonga 1/26)
Gladiators won by 19 runs
Tony Munyonga, so often a fighter in difficult situations, today became the hero of Gladiators Cricket Club with a fine innings of 64 that was the major factor in his team ‘breaking its duck’ by winning a match for the first time in the National Premier League competition this season.
They batted first in Mutare against a rather depleted Easterns team, and Munyonga, going in at number three, played almost a lone hand as nobody else on his side could even reach a score of 15.
He faced 89 balls, hitting four fours and a six, before being eighth out, lbw to Vincent Masekesa, who removed the last five batsmen out, four as a bowler and the last with a catch.
At first Easterns looked like chasing down their target of 143, as their opening batsman Baxton Gopito was in fine attacking form, scoring 42 off 40 balls in taking the score to 69 before he was third out.
After this, though, only Definate Mawadzi and Tinashe Muchawaya could do anything with the bowling; in partnership they took the score to 119 for seven, with hopes still alive, before both were out in quick succession and Gladiators were able to celebrate.
Great Zimbabwe Patriots – 137 all out in 35.2 overs (Nkosilathi Nungu 38, Luke Oldknow 29, Gabriel Jaya 11; Travor Mutsamba 3/16, Keith Jaure 2/25, Roy Kaia 2/28)
Takashinga – 138-2 in 22.2 overs (Kudzai Maunze 64*, Roy Kaia 43*, Innocent Kaia 19; Nkosilathi Nungu 2/40)
Takashinga won by eight wickets
Kudzai Maunze and Roy Kaia shared a rare century batting partnership at Masvingo today as they powered Takashinga to what proved to be an easy victory over Great Zimbabwe Patriots by eight wickets.
Great Zimbabwe batted first, but apart from Luke Oldknow, their top order faltered in the face of a good all-round bowling performance, three wickets going down for 29 runs and later eight for 105.
Some good hitting from Nkosilathi Nungu at number nine boosted the total to 137, but this was unlikely to be enough against their powerful visitors.
Great Zimbabwe did have a little early success with the ball, with Nungu removing Joylord Gumbie for four and then bowling Innocent Kaia for 19 off 12 balls, with four fours.
But then Roy Kaia joined Maunze and the pair put on 104 runs together in their unbroken match-winning partnership for the third wicket.
Maunze scored 64 not out off 61 balls, with the large proportion of 12 fours, while Kaia was unbeaten with 43 off 54 balls, with seven fours and a six.
This is Takashinga’s third successive victory and they are in with a good chance of winning the league now.
Rainbow Sharks – 246-7 in 45 overs (Clive Imbayago 85*, Brian Mudzinganyama 64, Victor Nyauchi 55; Tanatswa Bechani 3/34, Sheunopa Musekwa 2/27, Chris Mpofu 1/37)
Queens – 209 all out in 35.5 overs (Simbarashe Haukozi 60, Tanatswa Bechani 44, Chris Mpofu 22; Michael Muguda 3/38, Victor Nyauchi 3/41, Daniel Jakiel 2/23)
Rainbow Sharks won by 37 runs
A brilliant unbroken partnership of 147 for the eighth wicket between Clive Imbayago and Victor Nyauchi, better known for his bowling, took Rainbow Sharks from depression to delight at Kwekwe Sports Club today, for it led to a fine 38-run victory over Queens.
Rainbow struggled from the start when they batted, losing their openers for nine runs, five wickets for 56 and then seven for 99, despite a fighting 64 off 52 balls from Brian Mudzinganyama.
Disaster looked almost inevitable, but then Nyauchi joined Imbayago and the pair turned the match on its head between them.
Imbayago, the senior batsman, played the more attacking innings, with 85 not out off 89 balls, with 11 fours, while Nyauchi showed batting ability few had suspected before now with an unbeaten 55 off 77 balls.
This meant Queens faced a very difficult target of 247 to win, after having appeared to be in control of the match.
They also began badly, with five batsmen out for 56 runs after Daniel Jakiel had whipped out the openers early.
But Queens have plenty of fight about them, with Tanatswa Bechani and Simba Haukozi putting up a superb fight.
Haukozi went for broke, hammering the bowlers for six sixes and two fours in his 60 before he was finally dismissed.
But the task was just too high, though Queens fought hard to the end, and Rainbows won with time to spare.
Amakhosi – 192 all out in 43.1 overs (Nkosana Mpofu 40, Allan Chigoma 28, Thamsanqa Nunu 20; Jabulisa Tshuma 5/27, Madziva 2/21, Macheka 1/25)
MidWest – 193-6 in 39.2 overs (Remembrance Nyathi 49, Tashinga Musekiwa 38*, Neville Madziva 38; Ainsley Ndlovu 3/28, John Nyumbu 2/30, Thabo Mboyi 1/44)
MidWest won by four wickets
The left-arm spin of Jabulisa Tshuma was perhaps the most valuable individual performance in a well-fought match between Amakhosi and MidWest at Queens Sports Club today.
Four batsmen scored 20 or more as Amakhosi ran up a fairly good score to start with, but without Tshuma chipping away all the time and taking four valuable wickets — not to mention a run-out too — the total was kept within bounds, and more consistent batting by MidWest enabled them to overhaul it after a hard battle.
MidWest did lose their first two wickets for 26, with Tarisai Musakanda out second ball without scoring this time, lbw to Ainsley Ndlovu, but Remembrance Nyathi steadied the ship with a very valuable 49, putting on 65 with Neville Madziva for the fifth wicket.
Even so, both their wickets went down at 139 and the match was in the balance.
Now Tashinga Musekiwa showed his nerve and temperament with an aggressive 38 not out from 27 balls, while Davis Murwendo held firm for 15 not out at the other end, and MidWest were able to get home in the end.
It was good to see more players from both sides, especially the batsmen, contributing to their teams’ efforts in this match, instead of relying on just one or two, and this was a well-fought match.
For MidWest, this was their fourth successive victory since they were defeated by Takashinga in the first round, and at the moment this tournament looks like a straight fight between these two teams.