Clash of the Titans

HARARE - A true Zimbabwean sports lover would tell you that there is nothing nicer than watching the country’s two oldest rivals and biggest enemies clash in a final of any sporting event.

Whether it is Dynamos taking on Highlanders, Old Miltonians against Old Hararians, or in this case, Matabeleland Tuskers against the Mashonaland Eagles.

Queens Sports Club will host the pro50 final today, and if the weather plays fair, the Bulawayo faithful may very well be in for an absolute humdinger of a match.

On paper, the Tuskers most definitely have the edge, but a final of any tournament is a different game all together.

The visitors will be desperate to end the competition in style, and a win would be the perfect send off for their former coach Kevin Curran, who passed away in October.

There is absolutely no doubt that should the Eagles beat the star-studded Tuskers, their victory will be dedicated to KC.

The Eagles are an unpredictable side who are capable of playing top drawer cricket, but are also just as capable of falling victim to a talented school boy team.

 The reason for their unpredictability is probably because of the way they go about their game.

They are an attacking team who have a few potential match winners in Sikandar Raza Butt, Elton Chigumbura, as well as Chamu Chibhabha.

Although the two all-rounders have been desperately out of form, they are still a force to be reckoned with in domestic cricket.

Chibhabha may very well be hoping that rain intervenes, not because of not wanting to play, but the shortened version of the game seems to suit him.

His usually cautious start undergoes a pleasant change, and he unleashes a variety of strokes that make many people want to pull their hair out by the roots, simply because the true talent and ability of the man comes to the surface.

 Although unpredictable, Raza is more than capable of winning a match on the day, and when you include the experience of Raymond Price, who will more than likely be used in the power play overs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles pull off a surprise.

The Tuskers, on the other hand, are unquestionably a force to be reckoned with.

Their seam attack comprises of Chris Mpofu, Keegan Meth and the strongly-built and lion-hearted Njabulo Ncube.

All of these bowlers have international experience and are seasoned campaigners for the Tuskers.

The home side are also blessed with a formidable batting line up, with the likes of Keith Dabengwa, Terry Duffin, Craig Ervine, Sean Ervine and the master-blaster Charles Coventry.

 Coventry has thankfully shown a reasonable amount of consistency throughout the season, and if the country’s cleanest striker of a cricket ball does get in, and convert a start to a score of significance, the Eagles fielders may have to ask the match referee to have a permanent fielder in the car park.

We have all been made aware of the unfortunate affairs that have rocked the already shaky foundations of Zimbabwean cricket, but, if the Bulawayo crowd rally behind their team and more importantly rally behind cricket in Zimbabwe by flocking to Queens Sports Club, it would go a long way towards proving that sport is the magnate that unites a country. - Dean du Plessis

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