Despite coming under intense political pressure not to tour Zimbabwe, the Ireland cricket team is expected to arrive in the country Friday.
The Irish will play the Zimbabwe XI in a crucial Intercontinental match on Monday before playing the full Zimbabwe team in three one-day internationals (ODIs) on September 26, 28 and 30.
The Intercontinental match will be important for Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) as it will serve as a benchmark to measure if the country’s senior national team has the player depth that can sustain the demands of Test cricket.
Shingai Rhuhwaya, ZC’s media and communications manager, said: “We are expecting the Irish team to arrive in the country on Saturday afternoon (today) ahead of the Intercontinental match against the Zimbabwe XI on Monday.
“Everything is all set for the tour to begin and we encourage the fans to come in their numbers to Harare Sports Club to support the team,” Rhuhwaya said.
Meanwhile, defending Metbank One-Day Cup champions Mountaineers clash against Mashonaland Eagles in a 50-over match at the High Performance Centre tomorrow.
Mountaineers won a Logan Cup match against the same opponents by 15 runs with a day to spare on Thursday and would want to continue their winning streak.
Although the inform Mutare-based franchise has enjoyed a 100% record in the Logan Cup, they lost their one-day match to Matabeleland Tuskers by 17 runs.
Mountaineers won last season’s edition of the Metbank One-Day Cup after winning all their matches except their last group stage game against Midwest Rhinos.
Mountaineers skipper Hamilton Masakadza said they would be taking tomorrow’s game seriously after losing their last game against Tuskers in Bulawayo.
“The guys were very happy after Thursday’s victory as most people had written us off during the first two days.
“Looking ahead to Sunday (tomorrow)’s game I can only say we will be taking this match very seriously so that we increase our chances of defending the cup we won last season,” said Masakadza.
Mashonaland Eagles have had an indifferent start to the new season, with a relatively poor record of one draw and one defeat in their first two Logan Cup matches against Southern Rocks and Mountaineers.
They are also still looking for their first win in the Metbank One-Day Cup after losing to Southern Rocks by four wickets at Masvingo Sports Club last week.