In-form defending champions Mountaineers clash with rivals Mashonaland Eagles on Tuesday in the fifth match of the second edition of the Stanbic Twenty20 cricket series at Harare Sports Club.
The match is a reverse of the inaugural tournament final held early this year where Mountaineers came out victors on their way to lifting the trophy.
A win for either side will see them soar to the top of the series’ points table with a four- point lead as four teams are currently tied on four points after the opening rounds.
Mountaineers, who will be playing their second match of the tournament, already lead the way on the five team-point table courtesy of a superior net run rate.
Matabeleland Tuskers, Eagles and Mid West Rhinos also have four points but they have an inferior net run rate.
However, Eagles and Rhinos have each played a game more than Mountaineers and Tuskers while bottom-placed Southern Rocks are winless in two outings.
Back to Tuesday’s match, both Eagles and Mountaineers posted impressive wins on the opening day of the tournament although the former went on to lose to Tuskers by 12 runs on Sunday.
With matches beginning to run out for the Harare-based team, Tuesday is definitely a must win for them if they entertain any hopes of reaching the later stages of the tournament.
Eagles’ player-coach Andrew Hall will be worried by his top order’s heavy reliance on Nick Compton as the hard -hitting pair of Forster Mtizwa and Cephas Zhuwawo are yet to come out of their shells.
Compton is currently the series’ current leading scorer following his knocks of 70 and 30 but is just four runs ahead of Hamilton Masakadza who has played a game less.
For Mountaineers, their coach Allan Donald looks set to retain the side that sent Mid West Rhinos to the cleaners on Saturday.
Hamilton Masakadza was in devastating form with the bat, coming within just four runs of a century while seamers Tinashe Panyangara and Shingirai Masakadza kept the Rhinos’ batsmen under a tight leash.
The Mutare-based side eventually dispatched Mid West Rhinos by 35 runs and will be out to maintain their unbeaten run in this tournament.
The only other team that is yet to taste defeat is Tuskers who meet struggling star studded Southern Rocks on Wednesday.