MOUNTAINEERS outclassed hosts Mashonaland Eagles by seven wickets in a low scoring final to lift the Castle Lager
Twenty20 title at Harare Sports Club yesterday
REPORT BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Unheralded Mountaineers offspinner Tafadzwa Mafudza proved to be the match winner, claiming four quick wickets to restrict
Eagles to a paltry 106 all-out in
19,3 overs after they had won the toss and elected to bat first.
While the seamers were expected to make use of the overcast conditions at the match venue, it was instead Mafudza who starred with the ball finishing with impressive bowling figures of four wickets for 14 runs in his four overs.
The 20-year-old Takashinga prodigy, who was playing in only his third domestic Twenty20 match, was duly named man-of-the-match.
Mountaineers, whose target was reduced to 103 in 19 overs after a couple of brief rain delays, marched on patiently towards a well-deserved victory with 11 balls to spare.
The Castle Lager Twenty20 title is now Mountaineers’ third major Twenty20 title after the two Stanbic Twenty20 titles.
Overseas-based star batsman Mark Pettini was another contender for the man-of-the-match award for Mountaineers with his quickfire 40 off 37 balls which
included two fours and three sixes.
He was ably supported by skipper Tino Mawoyo who weighed in with 26 runs from just 20 balls in a 50-run second wicket partnership stand to
prove his worth in limited overs cricket.
While the Mountaineers batsman looked settled and untroubled in their run chase, their Eagles counterparts had earlier taken a totally different approach after electing to bat first.
Where their Mountaineers were looking for quick singles, Eagles took a rather too aggressive approach as they looked for the big shots.
Their intent was clear right from the start with opener Cephas Zhuwao hitting a six off the first ball of the match before falling to Mafudza while attempting another big shot from the next delivery.
Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza and Chamu Chibhabha were the most lethal batsmen in the competition prior to the final but were also both guilty of poor shot selection before both falling to Mafudza in the fifth over for 15 and nine respectively.
That proved to be the turning point in the match as the hosts collapsed thereafter, losing their last seven wickets cheaply for just 26 runs to post a low score which Mountaineers easily chased down without any trouble.