Mash Eagles give up on Logan Cup

HARARE - Mashonaland Eagles’ chances of winning the Logan Cup went up in smoke after a heavy 354-run defeat to Matabeleland Tuskers at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Saturday.

The Harare-based franchise was missing at least 13 of their regular players, who have all travelled overseas, and the impact was immediate.

Explosive opener Cephas Zhuwao, Kudzai Maunze, Regis Chakabva, Tino Mutombodzi, Herbert Chikomba, Taurai Muzarabani, Trevor Garwe, Tafadzwa Muzarawetu, Gary Chirimuuta and Elton Chigumbura all left for Singapore with one Logan Cup match remaining in the season.

This left Mash Eagles coach Stanley Timoni with no option but to field a second string side for the decisive encounter.

Tuskers’ opener Knosana Mpofu was caught by Bright Njanji for a two-ball duck off seamer Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi to leave the hosts on zero runs for the loss of one wicket.

Eagles’ good early start was, however, short-lived as Tuskers added 194 runs for the second wicket between Cunningham Ncube and Brian Chari.

That huge partnership was eventually broken in the 45th over when Chari was trapped plum by spinner Kuda Munyede for 127 runs.

Richmond Mutumbami added 72 runs at number four, Sikandar Raza weighed in with another half century scoring 77 runs while Ncube top scored with 136 to give Tuskers a healthy first innings total of 517 runs all out inside 141.2 overs.

The Eagles lasted only 70 overs for a measly 121 runs all out with Keith Kondo showing a bit of resistance at number three with 40 runs leaving the Harare-based side with a deficit of 396 runs.

Chari led the rout again with 91 runs from 101 balls before being run out while Nkosana Mpofu chipped in with 33 runs before Tuskers declared on 160/5d after 36.2 with a healthy lead of 556.

The total was always going to be a difficult chase for the Eagles, who despite bettering their first innings total and scoring 202 runs all out went on to lose the match by a hefty 354 runs.

Timoni conceded his team played badly owing to lack of game time and declaring the title chase virtually over.

“We played badly in Bulawayo. Most of my youngsters were not match fit, they lacked game time but I believe there’s room for improvement for most of them, given more games they will deliver,” Timoni told the Daily News.

Meanwhile, defending champions and log leaders Mountaineers are on course to defend their championship as they are in pole position with 50 points with one game to go.

Mash Eagles, who have played all their matches for this season, are in second place with 49 points while Tuskers are on 41 points.

 

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