ANOTHER Craig Ervine masterpiece, this time of 73 not out, was the backbone of the match-winning Tuskers total of 189-4 against Rhinos in a Domestic Twenty20 Competition at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Tuskers won by 83 runs.
Rhinos shaped up badly in reply and could only manage a total of 106, the margin between the sides being 83 runs.
Under grey skies, winds and with rain threatening, Rhinos won the toss and put Tuskers in to bat.
They had no early success, as Brian Chari and Shoun Handirisi put together a good opening partnership of 38 in less than five overs, before Chari (13) miscued a drive and lobbed a simple catch to mid-off.
Handirisi did not survive him long, being caught at the wicket off Solomon Mire for 22, bringing the two international left-handers, Ervine and Sean Williams, together.
Williams virtually took over the bowling for a while, taking almost all the strike and running up 25 off 17 balls, before Tendai Chisoro came on and immediately had him caught at the wicket; 77 for three in the 10th over.
This left the way open for Ervine to take command again.
Once more he was imperious and the bowlers helpless as he ran to his fifty off 27 balls, making batting look easy all the time.
At the other end Charles Kunje was also playing well, especially when he played a neat scoop off Mike Chinouya that sent the ball sailing high over long leg for six.
The partnership put on 110 in 10 overs before Kunje was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings for 39 off 28 balls.
Ervine scored a single off the final delivery to take the total to a daunting 189 for four wickets; his own score was 73 off 43 balls, with five fours and four sixes.
Only Chisoro of the bowlers avoided severe punishment, his four overs giving him the wicket of Williams for 25 runs.
Tuskers – 189-4 in 20 overs (Craig Ervine 73*, Charles Kunje 39, Sean Williams 25; Solomon Mire 1/17, Tendai Chisoro 1/25, Mike Chinouya 1/40)
Rhinos – 106 all out in 18.3 overs (Tendai Chisoro 21, Vusi Sibanda 19, Christopher Masike 14; Charlton Tshuma 3/23, Sheunopa Musekwa 2/15, Ainsley Ndlovu 2/20) – zimcricket