A fourth-wicket partnership of 148 runs between Peter Moor and Remembrance Nyathi took Midlands Rhinos into a satisfactory position against Rising Stars at the end of the first day’s play in the Logan Cup match at Harare Sports Club today.
Nyathi followed up his century in his previous match in Mutare with an excellent inning of 95, a fine return to form for a talented player who has been out of touch with the bat for so long.
On a clear sunny morning, Rhinos won the toss and decided to bat on a pitch with a little green in it.
They opened their innings with Bothwell Chapungu and Simba Gupo against the bowling of Honest Ziwira and Tinashe Muchawaya
Chapungu was his aggressive self, lashing a boundary through the covers in the second over and having a couple of violent swishes and misses outside the off stump.
Gupo cut a ball from Ziwira for four, but later in the over pushed hesitantly at another delivery outside his off stump and edged a catch to second slip; 15 for one
Moor turned the second ball he faced to the fine-leg boundary, while Chapungu laid into Muchawaya, whose opening spell of four overs cost 33 runs
Changing ends, Chapungu drove a ball from Ziwira straight to extra cover and departed for 35, out of 44 on the board, off 29 balls.
Prince Masvaure came next, but never got going; after scoring three he edged a ball from Njabulo Ncube to the keeper, leaving their score at 56 for three.
Nyathi, with his high backlift, only just managed to keep out a good yorker from Ncube first ball, but then he settled down to bat steadily with Moor.
With Chapungu out of the way, the bowlers were able to settle down to a disciplined line and length, while the batsmen knuckled down to accumulate runs without taking undue risks.
By lunch, the score had progressed to 95 for three wickets, with Moor on 37 and Nyathi 14.
The tight contest continued after lunch, with neither side giving much away.
Moor on 43 had a narrow escape when he hit a firm drive off Ncube just off the ground, but the bowler wasn’t able to hold a difficult chance.
Moor went on to reach fifty off 109 balls, a slow rate of scoring for him, but he was prepared to work for his runs against challenging bowling.
Nyathi soon followed him with a straight drive for four off Brandon Mavuta, taking 89 balls for his fifty, and then drove him for another four, showing he now wanted to dominate the bowlers.
The pair looked likely to bat throughout the afternoon session without losing their wickets, but on the stroke of tea Moor seemed to lose concentration as he drove loosely at a good ball from Mavuta that came back and bowled him for 79.
It had taken him 170 balls and he hit eight fours; the score was now 204 for four wickets, the partnership had added 148 runs and Nyathi had 81 at the interval
After tea Nyasha Mayavo partnered Nyathi, and they settled in well together, despite an excessive barrage of bouncers from Ncube in fading light.
Fortunately neither batsmen was injured, but in the end it cost Nyathi his wicket, as he tried to pull yet another bouncer and skied a catch to midwicket for 95, leaving the score at 250 for five.
Tendai Chisoro made 10 before he was next man out, trying to sweep a straight ball from Mavuta and being dismissed lbw, at 270 for six.
At this point, the umpires realised that the light was unfit for play, and took the players from the field, with Mayavo unbeaten with a fighting innings of 37
Midlands Rhinos – 270-6 in 84 overs (Remembrance Nyathi 95, Peter Moor 79, Nyasha Mayavo 37*; Honest Ziwira 2/37, Njabulo Ncube 2/62, Brandon Mavuta 2/65)