National cricket team opening batsman Vusi Sibanda has hit top form down under in Australia where he is playing for Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club in the Sydney Grade Cricket competition.
Sibanda, who was playing in his fifth match for Eastern Suburbs top-scored with an impressive 86 off 91 balls to help Eastern Suburbs to a comfortable 80-run one-day win over Mosman in the Sydney Grade Cricket competition.
According to the club’s official website Sibanda’s knock formed the cornerstone of Eastern Suburbs’ imposing total of 272 for six from their allotted 50 overs.
The former MidWest Rhinos captain slammed four sixes in the process on his way to his highest score so far since joining the club last month.
The win saw Eastern Suburbs maintain fourth position on the First Grade ladder at the halfway point of the season.
Sibanda’s side will play Parramatta in another one-day match this weekend at Waverley Oval before the Christmas break.
The 28-year-old Sibanda, who is in his second stint at Eastern Suburbs having played for them in 2006, has scored 135 runs in four limited overs matches at a decent average of 33,8. Sibanda, however, got his stint at Eastern Suburbs off to a disappointing start when he was dismissed for a first-ball duck against North Sydney on November 13 before bouncing back with decent scores of 24 and 25 against Hawkesbury and Campbelltown-Campden respectively.
He could, however, manage just 10 off 15 balls in a Twenty20 (T20) match his team went on to lose by 44 runs to Sydney University before returning to form over the weekend with a well-compiled 86.
Although not as star-studded as the inaugural Big Bash League, Australia’s Indian Premier League-style T20 event which begins on Friday, the Sydney Grade Cricket competition, is considered one of the strongest amateur and semi-professional cricket leagues in the world.
“The main thing is the competition that I’ll be playing there is a lot more competitive and the guys I’ll be playing with — the likes of David Warner and Brad Haddin — I can feed off and gain a lot of experience to better my game,” said Sibanda.
Sibanda said he hoped to return to Zimbabwe a stronger player for the experience.
“There are all these opportunities out there and hopefully I’ll do well when I get there. If I do well in the first month then I’d like to think it would open up more windows for me.”
Sibanda was a mainstay at the top of the Zimbabwe order this season, playing in all three Tests against Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand and the majority of limited overs matches.
Besides Sibanda, national team skipper Brendan Taylor is the other local player to take his talents elsewhere as he is set to play for Wellington Firebirds in the New Zealand HRV Cup T20 cricket competition next week.
Taylor, expected to leave the country today, hopes the experience will help him ahead of the national team’s tour next year.
The national cricket team is scheduled to play one Test, three one-day internationals and a couple of T20 internationals in New Zealand. The tour kicks off with one-off Test in Napier
on January 26.