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Matsikenyeri ends Manicaland Logan Cup famine


FORMER Zimbabwe international cricketer, Stuart Matsikenyeri ended Mountaineers five-year wait for the Logan Cup in style as the diminutive coach saw off hapless Eagles with an innings victory.

The towering Manicaland side stood tall to bag the 2023/24 Logan Cup with a massive hammering of Harare side Eagles to register an innings and 123-run victory at Old Hararians Sports Club in the capital last weekend.

The Eagles, flying at half mast, came crashing against the Manicaland based side and did not know what hit them after being bowled out twice cheaply after electing to field first upon winning the toss.

Mountaineers buoyed by Brian Bennett’s unbeaten 264 from 239 balls comprising 33 fours and three sixes and top order batsman Tony Munyonga’s 237 from 254 balls with 25 boundaries and nine maximums and Donald Tiripano’s 47 from 59 balls declared on 631/7 on day two.

Eagles tried to jump out of a frying pan to evade the simmering heat but landed right on the centre of a blazing fire to be dismissed for 302 runs inside 69.2 overs in their first innings and still owing 329 runs.

Matthew Welch scored 116 from 162 balls, Tadiwanashe Marumani fell nine runs shy of a century while Romario Roach weighed in with 37 runs. Mountaineers enforced a follow on and this time the Eagles managed only 206 runs in 36.5 overs. Roach top scored with 50 not out, Chamu Chibhabha contributed 43 while Kudzai Maunze and Welch chipped in with 35 and 27 runs respectively.

Tendai Chatara was the pick of the bowlers with seven wickets for 119 runs from 22 overs while fellow Mountaineers bowler, Salman Mirza took five wickets for 107 runs in 28.5 overs.

Three days were enough for Mountaineers to complete their mastery and condemn the Eagles to an innings defeat much to the satisfaction of the Manicaland side’s head coach, Matsikenyeri. The national team batting coach said they had eyed upsetting Tuskers in the penultimate match of the season but fell short.

“Not at all, we would have preferred to do it in the previous match against Tuskers but we were outplayed there. But to then bring it home in the last match like we did was indeed special,” Matsikenyeri Standardsport.

“Just glad and humbled to form part of the team that brought the Logan Cup back to the Mountaineers. Season in and out this is the championship everyone chases after the most so it’s great that it’s with us in the East this season.”

Matsikenyeri a former opener who could also bat at the middle has had an international playing career spanning from 2002 to 2015. He played eight Test matches, 113 One Day Internationals and 10 T20Is.

The 40-year-old coach also played 125 first class matches and 226 list A games. His final first class match was against Rhinos at Kwekwe Sports Club turning out for his Manicaland side Mountaineers.

The match ended in a nine-wicket victory for the Tino Mawoyo captained Mountaineers side with Matsikenyeri scoring 31 and 25 not out in the second innings to end his first class career on a high.

Mountaineers had last put their hands on the Logan Cup trophy during the 2018/2019 season under the captaincy of former national team Test opener, Mawoyo. However, this time it was spinner, Wellington Masakadza who captained his side to victory.

“I would probably say the return to the ranks of some of our senior players that had been missing in the earlier part of the season due to injuries (Pro 50 made a huge difference). Having said that, the guys showed a lot of fight to bowl out sides and end up with more wins instead of draws, that made the difference for us,” he said.

“When you look at the fact that we had two matches washed out gives an idea of how dominant we had to be when the opportunity was presented. Next is obviously regrouping in a few days and getting our T20 plans up and going.”

Mountaineers top the table with 130 points, won four out of eight matches drawing one and losing one while Southern Rockets finished in second place with 122 points, Tuskers picked up momentum late in the tournament ending on number three with 107 points while Eagles were in fourth with 104 points and Rhinos anchoring the table on 84 points.

The Manicaland side provided the Most Valuable Player of the season courtesy of bowler Salman Mirza who had a rating of 107.2. Eagles' Alex Russell was second with 91.31 with Nkosana Mpofu of Tuskers coming in third with 89.50.

Mirza was also the second best bowler behind Eagles' Russell while wicketkeeper Joylord Gumbie and Spencer Magodo finished in fifth and sixth on the best fielders list and Timycen Maruma claiming number nine for Mountaineers.

Donald Tiripano tore in the top batters chat sitting on number nine with 426 runs from 11 innings averaging 42.60 while fellow mate Brian Bennett took number 10 with 421 runs in seven innings and an average of 84.20.

The best batsman gong went to Brian Chari of Tuskers with 62 runs from 14 inninnings and an average of 49.43. Southern Rocks' Jonathan Campbell was in second with 675 runs in 13 innings averaging 61.36 while Aliakbar Hamid of Tuskers claimed third spot with 674 runs and an average of 48.14 in 15 innings.

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