Unheralded Mufudza steals show


HARARE – On a Super Sunday belonging to sports teams wearing green, Sunday Mba delivered the African Cup of Nations trophy to Nigeria.

Halfway across the world, Australia batsman Adam Voges’ ton against the West Indies in Melbourne gave the Baggy Greens a resounding 5-0 series whitewash.

Back home at the Harare Sports Club (HSC) another team in green, the Mountaineers swept past Mashonaland Eagles to win the domestic franchise Twenty20 Championship.

Mountaineers in their traditional green colours romped to an impressive seven-wicket victory over Mashonaland Eagles in the domestic Twenty20 final.

The Mutare-based franchise displayed a magnificent all-round performance to see off the hosts in a rain-affected final.

Mountaineers reached their revised target of 103 runs with 11 balls to spare totalling 106 runs for the loss of three wickets hence winning the match by seven wickets.

Mashonaland Eagles had elected to bat but collapsed on their trusted deck managing a measly 106 runs all out after 19.3 overs.

Unheralded off-spinner Tapiwa Mufudza got the credit for his side’s victory with a devastating bowling spell that saw him finish with figures of four wickets for 14 runs from his four overs.

Mark Pettini, who is an overseas professional from England, freed his arms freely and top-scored with 40 runs while Tino Mawoyo weighed in with 26 runs from 20 balls.

On a slow track like the one at HSC on Sunday, patience was always going to be the key between winning and losing.

Mash Eagles seemed in a hurry to score and what they forgot was that not every ball requires a big hit in T20 cricket.

Straight from the first delivery, the hosts’ opening batsman Cephas Zhuwao clobbered Mufudza for a maximum.

Mafudza was not deterred by the occasion as he had Zhuwao out with the next delivery.

The left hander showed a lack of serenity and went for the big hit once again but perished as he connected the ball straight onto the stumps.

The ability to choose which ball to dispatch further and the one to knock around for a single or two has proved to be Zhuwao’s weakness as he gets carried away quite easily.

It was not just peculiar to Zhuwao as the majority of Eagles’ batsmen were guilty for a similar mistake and were removed from the crease in similar fashion.

Sikandar Raza Butt (15), who was the leading run scorer in the competition going into Sunday’s final, had a sudden rush of blood when he lofted his shot straight at Kevin Kasuza at mid-wicket.

Apart from the batting, the Eagles were also not at their best giving away unnecessary runs through overthrows and missed run-out opportunities.

On the other hand, Mountaineers got all the facets of the game spot on as they were quick in the field while their bowling and batting was excellent.

Mash Eagles coach Stephen Mangongo admitted that his side played second fiddle in all the departments while also singling out Mufudza for praise.

“He is a phenomenal and amazing player, that boy plays for Takashinga and I have always known his ability,” Mangongo told the Daily News after the match.

“I’ m not even surprised by him turning up. He has always been a seasoned campaigner in the Vigne Cup so to me he came up and showed his true class. He’s just a classy player.

Mangongo added: “Well it hurts deep and very deep but I’m proud of the boys because it’s all about showing your skills at a big stage and they came up and showed what they got.

“We must give credit to Mountaineers because their bowling and fielding was top class they never dropped anything that got into the air and their batting was just superb, we were totally outclassed.”

Gary Brent the Mountaineers coach paid tribute to his players for delivering the victory over their fancied opponents.

“It was a very exceptional performance and they deserve all the credit they got,” Brent said.

“We’ve had a good week winning against Southern Rocks in the Logan Cup, winning is a habit and when you get into a habit you think that I can have them and this was key to us winning against the Eagles today (Sunday).”

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