MASVINGO-Masvingo based Southern Rocks cricket team have topped the Pro 50 championship log amongst the country’s five franchise cricket teams. In doing so they have secured their place in next Wednesday’s final at Harare Sports Club where they will play the Mutare based Mountaineers who finished second in the country’s premier one day limited overs competition.
Before their clash with the Mountaineers earlier this week in back to back matches on Sunday and Tuesday, the Rocks, coached by Shepherd Makunura, were already assured of a place in the finals. In the Sunday game, at Harare Sports Club, the Rocks sneaked a ten run victory over the Mountaineers who are now coached by Dave Houghton, a former Zimbabwe international. However it was a different story on Tuesday as the Rocks were bundled out for just 131 runs. That was always going to prove an easy target for the Mountaineers to chase down which they did with only two wickets down ending the Rocks unbeaten streak in the competition.
Sunday’s game saw the Rocks bat out the full 50 overs for the first time this season with former Zimbabwean Ben Curran, who now plays county cricket for Northamptonshire, making a magnificent 88. He was ably supported by Tadiwanashe Marumani who weighed in with 49 and Innocent Kaia who made 45 as the Rocks ended with an impressive 306 for 6. In reply the Mountaineers saw Ben Compton and Gary Chirimuuta make a sound start with Chirimuuta making 39 and Compton 56. Despite valiant efforts from Wellington Masakadza who made 58 and Shingi Masakadza, who smashed a blistering 59 off only 28 balls, the Mountaineers ended their 50 overs an agonisingly 10 runs short of what would have been a magnificent victory.
Tuesdays game was a different story. With the Rocks batting first only William Mashinga with 41 managed a score of any significance as they folded for just 131 runs in the 38th over. Tendai Chatara was the pick of the bowlers for the Mountaineers taking 3 wickets for 43 runs in his 8 overs with Donald Tiripano, Welllington Masakadza and Tony Munyonga each taking two wickets.
The Mountaineers took just 29 overs to overhaul the Rocks’ score with their captain Kevin Kasuza making 43 and fellow opener Ben Compton 45. Kudzai Sauramba made 31 not out to complete an emphatic victory.
Wednesdays final should be a hard close fought affair but the Rocks will fancy their chances of bringing the silverware back to Masvingo. With the T20 tournament between all the franchise sides taking place in Harare next month and with the four day Logan Cup competition only set to resume toward the end of January, local fans will have to wait to mid February before seeing their side in action against the Kwe Kwe based Midwest Rhinos in their Logan Cup game.