Mangongo in emotional T20 final

HARARE - Mashonaland Eagles coach Stephen Mangongo is relishing a dog fight in an emotionally charged domestic franchise Twenty20 final against his former side Mountaineers at Harare Sports Club Sunday.

Mangongo, who is also the national team assistant coach, won the inaugural Stanbic T20 competition with Mountaineers who have gone on to win it again for the second consecutive time last year.

Tomorrow’s final is the first of its kind after Zimbabwe Cricket added the T20 competition to run concurrently with the Coca-Cola Pro 50 and the Castle Logan Cup on the domestic calendar.

“It is an emotional game for me having guided Mountaineers to their maiden T20 win, two seasons ago and here I am facing the guys that I have spent a greater part of my franchise cricket life with in yet another maiden T20 final,” Mangongo told the Daily News yesterday.

“That’s makes it a good final because the players would want to prove a point to their ex-coach, I’m fully aware of that and have done my homework to that effect.

“We have done everything possible to make sure that the guys are well prepared for the final and we are happy to see that Mountaineers on the hand were playing in the Logan Cup which is a different version of the game altogether while we worked on the skills and technical aspects required for the T20 format.”

Mash Eagles are set to welcome back national team seamer Kyle Jarvis, who arrived home last week from New Zealand where he took part in the domestic four- day competition, the Plunket Shield.

The Harare franchise will however, miss the services of allrounder Elton Chigumbura, who is currently making waves in the Bangladesh Premier League, where he is playing for Sylhet Royals.

Mash Eagles chief executive Vimbai Mapukute said the stage is set for a mouth-watering clash.

“We hope the weather will be friendly and everything is in place,” Mapukute told the Daily News.

“As far as the nitty gritties of putting together the final we are done although we are still tying a few loose ends but I’m confident the afternoon will be such an experience for family.”

Meanwhile, Mountaineers beat Southern Rocks by 116 runs in a four-day game that ended at Mutare Sports Club yesterday.

Mountaineers coach Gary Brent hopes the win will boost his players’ confidence heading into tomorrow’s final.

“It all feels good to win and if we can make it a habit the better poised we will be to win tomorrow’s final,” Brent said.

“The Eagles are a fine side and they can challenge anyone on any given day, we however, back ourselves as the T20 defending champions but most importantly who ever play the best cricket on the day wins the trophy.”

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