Mountaineers edge Rhinos in last-ball thriller to retain Pro50 Championship

Mounatineers players celebrate after retaining the Pro50 Championship following a one-run win against Rhinos in the final at Kwekwe Sports Club on Saturday.

Mountaineers successfully defended the Pro50 Championship after edging Midwest Rhinos by one run in a nail-biting final that went down to the very last delivery at Kwekwe Sports Club on Saturday.

Hosts Rhinos needed 13 to win off the final over of a pulsating afternoon, and that equation came down to two from the last ball with the well-set Neville Madziva and Carl Mumba at the crease.

But the 31-year-old, who had scored a 28-ball 25 was run out while going for a second run off the final delivery to force a tie.

His dismissal meant Mumba was left stranded on 44 off 26 deliveries as Rhinos finished on 276 for eight in their allotted 50 overs and one run shy of Mountaineers, who had earlier reached 277 for seven.

Earlier, rookie batsman Definate Mawadzi top scored with a well-compiled 70 off 90 balls in only his third List A match as Mountaineers recovered from a shaky start after being sent in to bat first to register a competitive score.

Mawadzi, whose innings included four boundaries and three sixes shared an 82-run third-wicket partnership stand with PJ Moor, who scored 44 off 42 balls putting a further 91 runs with his skipper Timycen Maruma for the fourth wicket.

Maruma scored 51 off just 45 balls while Shingi Masakadza smashed an unbeaten 27 off 26 balls towards the end to ensure Mountaineers reached a challenging total.

Rhinos’ run chase got off to a disastrous start when Takudzwanashe Kaitano was dismissed for a five-ball duck off the last delivery of the first over, but skipper Prince Masvaure (43) and Tarisai Musakanda (37) rebuilt the innings with a 71-run second wicket partnership stand.

Mountaineers hit back with seamer Tinashe Muchawaya dismissing Musakanda and Eddie Byrom (4) in the same over as slumped from 71 for one to 77 for three in 15.5 overs.

Middle-order batsman Jonathan Campbell, who has been enjoying a solid season ensured Rhinos remained in the game with a defiant 57 off 80 balls but when he, Tinashe Musekiwa and Nyasha Mayavo fell in quick succession the momentum swayed back in Mountaineers’ favour.

The duo of Mumba and Madziva almost handed Rhinos what would have been a sensational victory with some explosive counter-attacking batting, scoring 67 runs in nine overs until the latter was dismissed off the last delivery of the match.

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