AN all-round performance by Mohammad Faraz Akram, who scored 66 runs at a critical stage and took two vital wickets, inspired Rising Stars to a 21-run victory over Harare Metropolitan Eagles at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
This was despite superb fifties from the experienced Elton Chigumbura and the youthful Liam Roche.
Eagles were doomed to finish in fourth place whatever the result, while Stars, at the top of the table on net run rate, were guaranteed a place in the final.
Stars won the toss and decided to bat first on a mild sunny morning with the ground looking in fine condition, although the pitch proved to be slow.
Eagles opened their bowling with Tafadzwa Muzarawetu and the left-arm spinner Kuda Munyede, against Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, who took 12 runs off Muzarawetu’s first over, and Tafadzwa Tsiga. Kamunhukamwe did not last long this time, though, as the ploy of opening with Munyede worked perfectly; in his second over the batsman swung across the line and was bowled for 14 (eight balls), with the score at 25.
Taffy Mupariwa, next in, scored only three before he drove at a ball from Muzarawetu and sliced a low catch to backward point; 32 for two in the seventh over.
Tarisai Musakanda came in and immediately drove Muzarawetu for two fours and a three off his first five balls.
As so often, though, he burned his candle at both ends and drove a catch off Munyede straight to mid-off; out for 14 off eight balls to make the score 48 for three in the eighth over.
Joined by Ryan Burl, Tsiga now began to open up and attack the bowling.
Rising Stars — 257-9 in 50 overs (Mohammad Faraz Akram 66, Ryan Burl 40, Tinashe Muchawaya 30; Kuda Munyede 2/30, Brighton Zhawi 2/51, Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi 2/63)
Harare Metropolitan Eagles — 236 all out in 49.1 overs (Elton Chigumbura 65, Liam Roche 54, Keith Kondo 31; Tinashe Muchawaya 3/47, Mohammad Faraz Akram 2/41)
Rising Stars won by 21 runs — zimcricket.