Mountaineers, the winners of the inaugural edition of the Stanbic Twenty20 competition will certainly not have it all their way when the tournament gets underway on Saturday.
The country’s other franchises, Mashonaland Eagles, Southern Rocks, Midwest Rhinos and Matabeleland Tuskers are optimistic that they will do well in this tournament.
Eagles’ player-coach Andrew Hall, said although he was disappointed by the sudden defection of his skipper Elton Chigumbura to Rocks, he was still confident that his team would do well.
“Obviously Elton (Chigumbura)’s last-minute exit took us by surprise and we were obviously disappointed because he was our captain and he knew the way we had organised the team.
“However, despite the setback, we still remain a very good side and I’m sure the players have come out of that stronger and I’m confident we will do well,” Hall said.
Grant Flower has since taken over the captaincy and in the hard-hitting pair of Forster Mtizwa, Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate, Greg Lamb and player-coach Hall they have some match winners.
Tuskers captain Gavin Ewing said like all the other teams in the competition, his side was gunning for victory in the tournament.
“We have done reasonably well in the other competitions on the domestic scene but Twenty20 was a different format altogether and like other teams we want to win it. We have a good side and the players have gelled well, so there’s no reason we can’t do well,” said Ewing.
Tuskers are perched on top of both the Castle Logan Cup and the MetBank Pro40 competitions and have one of the most balanced sides on the domestic scene.
No doubt coach Dave Houghton will be looking to players like in-form new signing Adam Wheater, Twenty20 specialist Charles Coventry, Niel Crater, rejuvenated Keegan Meth and medium bowler Tawanda Mpariwa.
Southern Rocks’ coach Monty Lynch he was hopeful that his side would do well despite the unpredictable nature of Twenty20 cricket.
“Twenty20 cricket at times is like a lottery and the competition is obviously going to be very hard but we will go into the tournament with a positive attitude and hopefully we will do well.”
Lynch is spoiled for choice in terms of quality, with players like the legendary Brian Lara, Chigumbura, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Steve Tikolo and Tatenda Taibu.
Sean Ervine, the new signing at Mountaineers, said he would do the best for his new club after crossing the floor from Southern Rocks.
“For me it’s not about my individual performances but the ultimate target is to do well for the team and hopefully we will do well during this tournament.”
Allan Donald, coach of defending champions Mountaineers, has players like Lance Klusener, Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya and South African Greg Smith.
Midwest Rhinos are basically the dark horses for the title, despite having one of the strongest sides in the competition and a well-decorated coach in Jason Gillespie.
In the prolific New Zealander Lou Vincent, Paul Franks, Brendon Taylor, Gary Balance, Rikki Wessels and their skipper Vusimuzi Sibanda, they have one of the strongest sides in this competition.