Veteran opening batsman Cephas Zhuwao smashed a dominant 99 off 77 balls while Ben Curran chipped in with an unbeaten half-century as Southern Rocks began their Pro50 Championship campaign with a comfortable four-wicket victory over Midwest Rhinos at Masvingo Sports Club on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Zhuwao is not showing any signs of slowing down after putting the Midwest Rhinos bowlers to the sword with a display of brutal power hitting.
Zhuwao struck 11 fours and five sixes in his devastating knock and despite missing out on a century he ensured Rocks reached 278 for six in 45.3 overs in pursuit of Rhinos’ total of 276.
Northamptonshire batsman Curran, the brother of England cricketers Sam and Tom, who is being linked with an international career with Zimbabwe provided great support with an unbeaten 67 off 84 deliveries.
Earlier Rocks won the toss and elected to field first before bowling out Rhinos for 276 in 48.2 overs with seamer William Mashinge claiming three wickets for 77 in 8.2 overs while Keith Jaure and Tendai Chisoro claimed two wickets apiece.
Charles Kunje top scored for Rhinos with a run-a-ball 88 which included 14 fours and a six while Brendon Mavuta was left stranded on 47 not-out from just 38 balls, batting at number 10.
In reply, Rocks got off to a good start after an opening stand of 78 runs between Brian Mudzinganyama (32) and Zhuwao before the former was caught by Kunje off Mavuta’s bowling in the 12th over.
Joined by the watchful Zhuwao continued to dominate the Rhinos as the pair shared 82 for the second wicket before the latter was stumped by as he aimed for another hit to bring up his three figures.
Although Rocks reguar wickets at the end, Curran saw the team home as he shared crucial partnerships with Richmond Mutumbami (30 off 30 balls), Tafadzwa Tsiga (11) and Mashinge (22).
Seamer Neville Madiva claimed three wickets for 34 runs in seven overs while Mavuta took two wickets for 58 in his 10 overs.
Scores in brief:
Rhinos – 276 all out in 48.2 overs (Charles Kunje 88, Prince Masvaure 47*, Prince Masvaure 39; William Mashinge 3/77, Tendai Chisoro 2/37, Keith Jaure 2/64)
Southern Rocks – 278-6 in 45.3 overs (Cephas Zhuwao 99, Ben Curran 67*, Richmond Mutumbami 33; Neville Madziva 3/34, Brandon Mavuta 2/58, Charles Kunje 1/45)
Southern Rocks won by four wickets