Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter

MOUNTAINEERS were on Sunday crowned winners of the Zimbabwe Cricket provincial women Fifty50 Challenge after they defeated Rhinos by 62 runs on the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method in a rain affected final played at Takashinga Cricket Club in Harare.

For winning the Fifty50 Challenge, Mountaineers walked away with a trophy and US$4 000 while Rhinos took home US$2 000.

Rhinos batted first and were bowled out for 210 in 46.3 overs, their highest individual score coming from Josephine Nkomo who made 85 off 104 balls while national team skipper Mary-Anne Musonda was second best with 40. Nkomo combined with Musonda in an 83-run stand for the third wicket and Rhinos appeared to be on their way to posting an imposing target for Mountaineers to chase.

The Rhinos batting collapse was largely due to the bowling of seamer Francesca Chipare who finished with 5/29 in 9.3 overs and off spinner Loryn Phiri’s figures of 2/37 in 10 overs. Chipare took the player of the match for the final and also won the bowler of the tournament for finishing with 19 wickets in the competition.

Mountaineers were on 198-4 in 37.3 overs when rain disrupted their run chase and with no play possible, the girls from Mutare had already done well enough to secure the trophy. Chipo Tiripano led the run chase with 85 runs off 91 deliveries and her opening partner Phiri chipped in with a patient 43 from 82 balls.

It was a well-deserved win for Mountaineers since they had finished as the top team at the end of the preliminary stage with Rhinos in second spot. @Mdawini_29