BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
EAGLES survived late innings jitters to lift the 2018/2019 Pro50 Championship following a nervy two-wicket victory over Tuskers in a low-scoring final at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Needing 203 runs to win, Eagles looked like they were cruising comfortably towards the target at 115 for three before losing Richmond Mutumbami and captain Tino Mutombodzi in the 18th over.
And at 155 for 7 in the 31st over, the Stuart Matsikenyeri-coached side was in serious trouble, but Regis Chakabva, with a patient 38 from 76 balls, steered the team home with 14 balls to spare.
After absorbing all the pressure, Chakabva flicked it square off the bowling of Ernest Masuku to get the winning run for the hosts.
Earlier, Eagles won the toss and elected to field first before producing an all-round bowling display to restrict Tuskers to a below par 202 all-out in 45,2 overs.
Masuku, batting at number seven, topscored for the visiting side with 67 as the Tuskers failed to put a competitive score on the board.
Craig Irvine, who had been in brilliant form with two consecutive centuries in his two innings, managed just 31 runs, while Sean Williams added 14 to the total.
Tuskers had the worst possible start to their innings losing opener Brian Chari for a duck after he dragged the ball onto the stumps off the bowling of Richard Ngarava.
Cunningham Ncube and veteran national team batsmen Irvine added 34 runs before the former was trapped leg before wicket by Daniel Jakiel for 14.
In reply, aggressive opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe top-scored with 77 from 60 balls to give Eagles a solid foundation on which to build their run chase.
Mutumbami (23), Tapiwa Mufudza (17) and Chamu Chibhabha (11) were the other batsmen to reach double figures.
Tuskers’ spinner Ainsley Ndlovu claimed three wickets for 17 runs to finish with the best bowling figures for the day although it was not enough to deliver victory to his team.