A fighting innings of 80 not-out by Tafadzwa Tsiga enabled Rising Stars to take their first-innings score to within 25 runs of that of Midlands Rhinos, and make the probable result of this Logan Cup match a draw unless something unexpected happens on the final day tomorrow.
Rising Stars were 203 for three wickets at the start of the third day, with Tafadzwa Tsiga on 27 and Ryan Burl seven.
The batsmen continued to play a cautious game, adding 22 runs in almost 40 minutes before Burl was trapped lbw by a fine ball from Tendai Chisoro for a personal score of 22, which took him 82 balls.
Thamsanqa Nunu, the new man, had just a single to his credit when Michael Chinouya was unable to hold on to a sharp return catch, and then a close lbw appeal was turned down next ball.
Tsiga finally reached his fifty, which took him 161 balls, an innings of great concentration and determination.
Nunu was gradually looking more confident, and it came as a surprise when, on 25, he gently dabbed a ball from Jabulisa Tshuma into the hands of slip; 270 for five
The score had reached 276 at lunch, with Tsiga on 53 and Tony Munyonga four.
Munyonga did not stay long after lunch, as a rising ball from Chinouya took the shoulder of his bat and was caught by the wicketkeeper; he made 10.
Brandon Mavuta played an adventurous innings of 23 off 29 balls before he edged a full-length ball from Chinouya to the keeper; 321 for seven.
Tinashe Muchawaya nudged a ball from Tafara Chingwara to the keeper for five, but Tsiga batted resolutely onwards, now with 68, his highest first-class score.
Remembrance Nyathi came on to bowl and removed Njabulo Ncube for eight at 345, bringing in the last man Honest Ziwira to join Tsiga, who was now on 75.
Ziwira did not last long, being very smartly stumped by Nyasha Mayavo off Nyathi without scoring, leaving Tsiga stranded with very determined innings of 80; it took him 238 balls and contained nine fours.
The total was 350, giving Midlands Rhinos a lead of 25 in the first innings.
Chinouya with three for 97 was the most successful bowler, and there were also two wickets each for Chisoro, Chingwara and Nyathi.
Tea was taken between the innings, and then Simba Gupo and Bothwell Chapungu faced the bowling of Ziwira and Muchawaya.
Chapungu began in typical fashion, slashing two fours through the covers in Muchawaya’s first over.
In Muchawaya’s next over Chapungu hit the first and third balls for four, but then uncharacteristically dabbled at the fourth ball, just outside the off stump, and the Stars were jubilant when he edged it to the keeper for 16, scored off 10 balls.
A few minutes later, at 26 for one, rain began to fall, forcing the players from the field.
The shower was not very heavy but it was almost an hour before play could continue.
Peter Moor looked to be in fine form, scoring effortlessly from the start of his innings, while Gupo had more difficulty, but battled away.
Moor’s innings, however, came to an untimely end when, having scored 30 off 31 balls, he was given narrowly run out by a fine return from the field, with the score now 71 for two.
Tshuma came in next, with the light fading, but he was quickly caught at the wicket off Nunu at 77 for three.
Nyathi (2) saw out the day with Gupo (23), the score at the close being 79 for three wickets.
The bottom line is that Midlands Rhinos are 107 runs ahead with seven wickets still to fall in their second innings, making a draw the most likely result.