BULAWAYO Metropolitan Tuskers have failed to defend their Pro50 Championship title, even though they beat Manicaland Mountaineers by 18 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis system, at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
This was Tuskers’ last match of Zimbabwe’s premier domestic List A tournament and, after the abandonment of their penultimate fixture at Old Hararians the previous day, they were left needing a huge victory to give them even a possibility of playing in Saturday’s final.
Indeed they did win, but the victory was not enough to give the defending champions the fifth point they needed, together with a greatly improved net run rate, to possibly pip Mountaineers or Rising Stars to a place in the final.
For the first time since coming to Harare, Tuskers lost the toss, and were put in to bat by Mountaineers.
They opened their batting with Nkosana Mpofu and Cunningham Ncube against the bowling of Tendai Chatara and Victor Nyauchi.
Chatara struck in his first over, trapping Ncube lbw without scoring with just two runs on the board.
Ncube, on nine, was dropped at second slip off Nyauchi, enabling him to build a good foundation for the innings with Chari, the team fifty coming up in the 11th over. Mpofu had another life on 41, when the total was 77, as Donald Tiripano, the bowler, failed to hold a sharp return catch.
Mpofu was first to reach his fifty, off 73 balls, a stroke which also brought up the team hundred in the 26th over.
Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers – 275-9 in 50 overs (Brian Chari 125, Nkosana Mpofu 60, Craig Ervine 29; Victor Nyauchi 4/76, Natsai M’shangwe 2/51, Tendai Chatara 2/53)
Manicaland Mountaineers – 222-6 in 46 overs (Kevin Kasuza 113*, Tinashe Chimbambo 29, Wellington Masakadza 23*; Ainsley Ndlovu 2/42, Chris Mpofu 1/34, John Nyumbu 1/35)
Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers won by 18 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method) — zimcricket.