EAGLES maintained their dominance of the domestic cricket scene after successfully defending the Domestic Twenty20 (T20) Competition title following an emphatic 62-run victory against Mid-West Rhinos in the final played at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
After a brilliant half-century by wicketkeeper batter, Tadiwanashe Marumani inspired them to a challenging total of 173, Eagles’ bowlers led by off-spinner Wessley Madhevere rolled out the Rhinos batting line-up for just 111 runs in 14.4 overs to complete a comfortable victory.
The Harare-based provincial side’s victory in the Domestic T20 competition comes barely a week after they were confirmed the 2022-2023 champions in the country’s premier first-class cricket competition, the Logan Cup.
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, Eagles rode on a timely half-century from Marumani and contributions from opener Nick Welch (37 off 33 balls) and Madhevere (29 off 25) to reach 173 for eight in their allotted overs.
Marumani, one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball on the domestic cricket scene, provided some fireworks befitting the stage as he raced to 52 off just 22 deliveries, which ensured Eagles recovered from an average start.
The 21-year-old Zimbabwe international, who did not have the best tournament by his lofty standards, delivered when it mattered the most with a brilliant innings which featured five fours and three sixes.
Marumani shared fifth wicket partnership stand of 52 runs with Tinashe Nyahunzvi, who contributed just eight runs, as the former singlehandedly took apart Rhinos’ bowling attack.
Veteran Prince Masvaure was the most successful of the Rhinos’ bowlers after claiming three wickets for 25 runs with his left-arm fast medium bowling.
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Rhinos’ pursuit of Eagles’ challenging total got off to a rocky start with Madhevere dismissing both openers Masvaure and Eddie Byrom for just two and four, respectively, in the second over.
Seamer Richard Ngarava also got to the party, trapping Tarisai Musakanda lbw from the first delivery of the third over before Madhevere returned to remove Jonathan Campbell as Rhinos crumbled to 51 for four in 5.1 overs.
Leg spinner Brandon Mavuta attempted to take the pressure back to Rhinos by hitting Madhevere for two boundaries in the same over.
His cameo ended with a hit-wicket dismissal for just 11 runs off the bowling of English international offspinner Matt Parkinson, who had two deliveries earlier dismissed the Rhinos skipper Nyasha Mayavo for just six runs.
The dangerous Ryan Burl, who recently returned from a successful stint in the Bangladesh Premier League scored a quickfire 18 runs off seven deliveries before he fell to the bowling of Tawanda Dzikiti.
Middle-order batter, Tashinga Musekiwa top-scored for Rhinos with a fiery 38 off 20 deliveries which featured six fours before he was left stranded on the non-strikers’ end as wickets continued to tumble.
Scores in brief:
Eagles: 173/8 (20 overs)
Mid-West Rhinos: 111 all-out (14.4/20 overs, T:174)
Eagles won by 62 runs