Matches on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 October:
Bulawayo : Matabeleland Tuskers v Mid-West Rhinos
Mutare: Mountaineers v Southern Rocks
Bye: Mashonaland Eagles
The most recent round of matches shows that Mashonaland Eagles and Mid-West Rhinos are the teams to watch right now in the one-day competitions.
At Harare Sports Club, Eagles won both their matches against Matabeleland Tuskers, although the Pro50 was a thrilling affair with victory – by just one wicket – coming in the final over. In Kwekwe, Rhinos maintained their winning streak in the Pro50, overwhelming Mountaineers and bowling them out for 66. But in the T20 match the next day, Mountaineers fought back with a superb century by Hamilton Masakadza being the foundation for their victory.
So far, Rhinos have won all their matches and built a big lead in the Pro50, while Eagles have done the same in the T20. Eagles have a bye this weekend, but will play their postponed matches against Mountaineers next Wednesday and Thursday in Mutare. The tables currently read as follows, with the number of matches played in brackets:
Pro50: Mid-West Rhinos 14 (9), Mashonaland Eagles 9 (3), Matabeleland Tuskers 4 (3), Mountaineers 4 (2), Southern Rocks 0 (3).
T20: Mashonaland Eagles 14 (3), Mountaineers 9 (2), Southern Rocks 4 (3), Mid-West Rhinos 4 (3), Matabeleland Tuskers 0 (3).
In Bulawayo Rhinos will be favourites to beat Tuskers, who are struggling in the one-day game, while Mountaineers are likewise expected to beat Southern Rocks, although Rocks’ T20 victory over Tuskers last weekend should give them some confidence. Sean Ervine, now playing for Tuskers, is a player to watch and should surely win some matches for his new team this season. Tuskers have so much talent, including the explosive batting power of Charles Coventry – still to find form – that their lack of one-day success remains a puzzle. An improvement is surely around the corner if they can get their heads right!
For Rhinos, Vusimuzi Sibanda remains the man for opponents to dismiss, while Brendan Taylor is not far behind. Graeme Cremer is turning in impressive all-round performances, while they have a strong pace attack, as do Tuskers.
The Masakadza brothers are the star Mountaineers players; nothing more need to be said about Hamilton ’s batting, while Shingirai is in fine form with the ball. Tinotenda Mawoyo and Kevin Kasuza are doing well, but the batting can be fragile. Rocks have a good pace attack in Brian Vitori and Tinashe Panyangara, and if they can break through the Mountaineers’ top order. there could be a good match or two in store.