Easterns set for Twenty20 title

Posted by brmtaylor.com admin on March 21, 2008

The Zimbabwe Cricket Twenty20 tournament has been taking place this week. Teams are playing up to two matches every day, the first beginning at 9AM local, and the second at 2PM local, the games split between the Country Club (Zimbabwe Cricket Academy ground) and Harare Sports Club.

The first few days have seen some major surprises, with favourites Westerns having a horror run, winning just 1 of their 3 games. Easterns have maintained last years form, winning all 4 of their fixtures. It must be noted, that Easterns are boosted by many national team players (Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Timycen Maruma, Prosper Utseya) and A team players (Steven Nyamuzinga and Tino Mawoyo), and as such may not be as threatening when the national team players are unavailable.

zimcricketnews.com have released an unofficial table standing, which is as follows:

               Pld  W L D NR   Pts
  1 Easterns     4  4 - -  -     8
  2 Northerns    3  2 1 -  -     4
  3 Centrals     3  1 2 -  -     2
  3 Westerns     3  1 2 -  -     2
  5 Southerns    3  - 3 -  -     0

With two matches remaining, Southerns vs Centrals at HSC and Northerns vs Westerns at the Country Club, Northerns, Centrals and Westerns could all make it to the final.

For Centrals to proceed to the final, they would be looking for Northerns to lose to Westerns, while their fixture against Southerns is almost certainly a win. Northerns are most likely to proceed, with a win over Westerns meaning the result of the Centrals match is irrelevant.

It seems that Metropolitan Bank are no longer sponsoring the domestic Twenty20 tournament.

Unfortunately, Zimbabwe Cricket has not released any scorecards for the matches, but from the information available, it would seem Hamilton Masakadza would be front runner for man of the series, having already scored one century, a half century, as well as taking several wickets.

It is known however, the playing elevens for both Easterns and Westerns. Westerns have been boosted by the return of opener Bradley Staddon, but are without batsmen Tinashe Hove, Freedom Takarusenga, Charles Coventry and Terrence Duffin. Strangely, pace bowling duo Khawaluni Ntuli and Brendon Marsh have believed to have been overlooked due to the availability of Chris Mpofu and Tawanda Mupariwa.

Westerns XI: Bradley Staddon, Tafadzwa Ngulube (wk), Mark Mabuza, Gregory Strydom, Keith Dabengwa (c), Bornaparte Mujuru, Romeo Kasawaya, Tawanda Mupariwa, Thabo Mboyi, Chris Mpofu, John Nyumbu.

Easterns XI: Tino Mawoyo, Johnson Marumisa, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Timycen Maruma, Prosper Utseya, Steven Nyamuzinga, Forster Mutizwa (wk), Alec Maparura, Stuart Matsika, Steady Musoso

Northerns XI (incomplete): Brendan Taylor, Elton Chigumbura, Ray Price, Graeme Cremer, ???

In other news, Zimbabwe Cricket will be relieved that the ICC found that "no evidence of criminality and that no individuals had gained financially". There was some concern that various papers had been stolen, and that "serious financial irregularities" were found, but overall this is a good result from ZC's perspective. ZC say they are taking measures to ensure these irregularities are not repeated in the future.