MANICALAND’s domestic cricket franchise, Mountaineers, today (Thursday) kicked off the four-day Logan Cup match against Midlands Rhinos at Mutare Sports Club.
This week the Logan Cup fixtures resume with three rounds to be played within the next month. Zimbabwe’s domestic season usually reaches its climax during April and May with the conclusion of the Logan Cup and the Pro50 Championship.
In the other fixtures the young Rising Stars team will play Harare Metropolitan Eagles at Takashinga Sports Club while the fifth team, Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers, has a bye. Mountaineers, the reigning champions, are again the favourites to win the Logan Cup with their experienced side, as they have 48 points from their six matches, four of which they have won and remain undefeated.
The only team that can catch them is Eagles that has 42 points from three victories and one defeat and both title runners are left with two matches to play. Tuskers has 29 points with two matches to play, while Rhinos (17 points) and Rising Stars (16 points) have three matches to play.
The centre of attention at Takashinga will probably be the big-hitting Eagles opening batsman, Cephas Zhuwao, who in December set up a new first-class Logan Cup record by scoring 265 against Rhinos.
He has scored 664 runs in Logan Cup matches so far this season, at an average of 55.33, and will be looking forward to batting against the inexperienced Rising Stars attack.
There should be a good match in Mutare, with the balance tilted towards the home team, with their great depth of talent, unless Rhinos are able to play most of their seven international players who took part in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.