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Rhinos fall in Pro50 Championship trophy final


RHINOS lost by five wickets to Eagles in the 2023/24 Pro50 Championship trophy final of the
provincial one-day competition played at Takashinga Cricket Club in Harare last Saturday.
While Eagles claimed the trophy, Rhinos deserve respect for the determined fight they put up after a
disastrous start to the match.

 On winning the toss, Eagles opted to field and after six overs it seemed as though the match was
effectively over as some good pace bowling from Richard Ngarava and Ameer Hamza shattered the
early Rhinos batting.

 Takudzwanashe Kaitano made a dashing start, but in the third over he lost Bright Matsiwe, caught
behind the wicket off Ngarava without scoring, and in the same bowler’s next over Kaitano skyed a
catch and was caught for a dashing 28 off 22 balls.

Then came the greatest blow, as Antum Naqvi, the hero of several Rhinos victories this season, was
caught behind the wicket off Hamza’s fourth ball for a duck leaving the score at 38 for three.
 The crisis deepened when Ben Curran was given out caught at slip off the bowling of Wessly
Madhevere for nine to make the score 50 for four, followed by Nyasha Mayavo, another wicket-
keeping catch, off Hamza, for seven – 65 for five.

 Fortunately, there was fighting spirit left in the Rhinos team, as Brandon Mavuta joined Prince
Masvaure and the pair fought superbly to add 78 for the sixth wicket in 18 overs before Masvaure
fell to Hamza for 48.

 The eighth wicket went down at 151, but there followed two more fighting stands, firstly by Mavuta
and Muhammad Adil with 47 together before Mavuta went for 69, crafted off 88 balls with four sixes
and three fours – it was to be the highest score of the match.

 Adil continued to attack the bowling, with the help of last man, Mike Chinouya, and this last-wicket
pair put on another 48 unbroken partnership before the innings closed at 50 overs with 246 for nine
wickets – Adil with 40 off 38 balls and Chinouya with 11.

 Hamza was the most successful of the bowlers, taking four wickets for 46 off eight overs, but for
once Tapiwa Mufudza failed to take a wicket.

 It was a field day for Tadiwanashe Marumani as wicket-keeper, as he took six catches, including
three off Adil.

The target was not expected to trouble the Eagles batters as they made a dazzling start with Tinashe
Kamunhukamwe and Marumani hammering 45 runs in the first four overs. Marumani eventually fell
lbw to Adil for 30 struck off only 17 deliveries.

Nick Welch joined Kamunhukamwe, who continued to score at a brisk pace, reaching his 50 off only
31 balls and bringing up the team hundred at the same time.

 He played Mavuta with care, but treated the rest of the bowling with virtual contempt. With the
score at 114 he was trapped lbw by Tashinga Musekiwa for 63 off 49 balls, including 12 fours.
Madhevere was out for two and Chamu Chibhabha came in to play a very cautious innings.

 Probably as captain he felt it was his duty to make sure he was still there at the end to ensure that
victory was achieved, and he did so successfully, though remarkably slowly for him.

 Welch played a good innings of 58 off 69 balls, while Tino Mutombodzi scored 16 before being out
at 200 for five.

 Naqvi scooped the batter and player of the Pro50 Championship accolades, while Mufudza was
named bowler of the tournament.

Scoreboard: Rhinos – 246-9 in 50 overs (Brandon Mavuta 69, Prince Masvaure 48, Muhammad Adil
40*; Ameer Hamza 4/46, Faraz Akram 2/18, Richard Ngarava 2/55)
 Eagles – 247-5 in 44.3 overs (Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 63, Nick Welch 58, Chamu Chibhabha 46*;
Muhammad Adil 2/59, Brandon Mavuta 1/23, Mike Chinouya 1/26)
  Eagles won by five wickets

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