This week’s Logan Cup matches are on from Tuesday 22 to Friday 25 January.
At Kwekwe Sports Club: Mid-West Rhinos versus Mashonaland Eagles,
At Masvingo Sports Club: Southern Rocks v Matabeleland Tuskers,
Starting time: 1000 hours.
The first of the season’s franchise competitions has been decided, when last Saturday Mashonaland Eagles beat Matabeleland Tuskers on the Duckworth-Lewis to win the Pro50 Championship, at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
This is ironic and in a sense scarcely fair, as Matabeleland Tuskers topped the league table and Mashonaland Eagles should not have been in the final anyway, but for a fatal error by the second-placed Mid-West Rhinos who played Peter Moor in a match while omitting to check whether the latter’s change of franchise from Mashonaland Eagles had been officially registered with Zimbabwe Cricket.
Matabeleland Tuskers won five matches to Mashonaland Eagles’ three, so it was less than fair that they should lose in the final. However, Tuskers were the beneficiaries of a similar situation two years ago when they won a Logan Cup final against Mountaineers after having a much inferior record.
They have only themselves to blame for losing the Pro50 final, however, as they had scored 138 for the first wicket – with their captain Gavin Ewing playing superbly for 94 – in pursuit of a target of 223, only for the rest of the batting to collapse dismally.
Mashonaland Eagles will be given a great boost by their fortuitous success, and will be looking to turn around their Logan Cup fortunes with greater confidence, after losing their first four matches. However, with rain about, they will need both outstanding play and luck with the weather to haul themselves off the bottom of the table because the other teams have won at least two matches each.
Eagles will face an aggrieved Mid-West Rhinos at Kwekwe this week. There will be no ill-feeling between the teams, but both will enter the match with great determination.
Southern Rocks will face Matabeleland Tuskers at home with little chance of pulling off an upset against the reigning champions, who will also be feeling aggrieved at having lost the Pro50 final. But that chance is always there and the underdogs do have some confidence after their surprise wins against Mashonaland Eagles and Mountaineers this season.
Overall, though, there is a good chance that the rain will win both these matches, but there is still scope for much good cricket.
After the announcement of the provisional squad for the tour of the West Indies next month, those named will want to press home their claims for final selection, while those who just missed it will want to make a very strong point to the national selectors.