EAGLES are Zimbabwe’s national one-day champions after the cool head of Regis Chakabva, 38 not out, saw them through to a narrow two-wicket victory over Tuskers in the Pro50 Championship final at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
After an hour and a half of play the match seemed as good as over, with Tuskers floundering at 102 for six wickets with all their specialist batsmen gone.
Then Ernest Masuku came through for them with a superb fighting innings of 67 which did most to take their total past 200.
This never looked sufficient for victory, though, until Ainsley Ndlovu took three quick wickets in the middle order and Eagles suddenly found themselves struggling at 155 for seven wickets.
That was when Chakabva, helped mainly by Tapiwa Mufudza and at the death by Daniel Jakiel, took over and saw his team home to a tension-filled victory.
Eagles had their full team fit and ready to play for this match, but Tuskers were missing the injured Taffy Mupariwa.
Tuskers were always the underdogs for this match, having only three victories against two defeats behind them compared to Eagles’ five victories out of five, so they did extremely well to push the new champions so hard.
On a hot and largely sunny morning Eagles, as they almost invariably seem to do on their home ground, won the toss and sent Tuskers in to bat on a good-looking pitch.
Brian Chari and Cunningham Ncube opened the batting for Tuskers against the bowling of Richard Ngarava and Jakiel. Ngarava struck with his fourth ball: without a run on the board, he brought a ball back into Chari, who chopped it on to his stumps.
Craig Ervine, in next and in superb form, then drove the final ball of the over handsomely through extra cover for four to open the Tuskers score.
Tuskers: 202 all out in 45.2 overs ( Ernest Masuku 67, Charles Kunje 31, Craig Ervine 31; Patrick Mambo 2/36, Daniel Jakiel 2/41, Tino Mutombodzi 1/27)
Eagles: 203-8 in 46.1 overs (Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 73, Regis Chakabva 38*, Richmond Mutumbami 23; Ainsley Ndlovu 3/23, John Nyumbu 1/21, Sean Williams 1/29)
Eagles won by two wickets —zimcricket.
Source : The Herald