Easterns win Twenty20 tournament amid controversy

Posted by brmtaylor.com admin on March 22, 2008

The Easterns controversial win in the Metropolitan Bank Twenty20 tournament is the talk of the Zimbabwe cricket community, with Steven Price at Cricinfo suggesting that the Easterns have been given the best players in order to persuade the public to think that there is player depth and strength outside of Harare and Bulawayo.

The Westerns, favourites coming into the tournament, beat Northerns early on Friday to make it through to the final later that afternoon at Harare Sports Club.

Easterns bat first after winning the toss, with captain and man of the series Hamilton Masakadza smashing 82 from 57. Against an attack including Chris Mpofu and Tawanda Mupariwa nobody can deny that this was an impressive performance. No other batsman made a significant contribution, with only Steven Nyamuzinga (scoring 18) and Shingirai Masakadza (brother of Hamilton, scoring 4 in the 43 run partnership) supporting the captain.

Thabo Mboyi did the damage for Westerns, taking 3/20 including the scalps of Tino Mawoyo and Stuart Matsikenyeri, the Easterns openers. Keith Dabengwa spun his way to 2 wickets for 16 runs.

Chasing 143 for victory, Westerns fell just short. Keith Dabengwa (42) and Greg Strydom (38) put up a good fight, with a 62 run partnership. A 21 run stand from Tafadzwa Ngulube threatened to change the course of the match, but Prosper Utseya took 2/23 and slowed down the run rate, restricting the former Matabeleland team to 135 from 20 overs.

Hamilton Masakadza won the man of the match award.

The likely final standings are as follows:

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