HARARE – Mashonaland Eagles underlined their dominance in local franchise cricket by adding the Logan Cup to their Pro 50 and Twenty20 titles they won earlier in the season on Saturday. By Austin Karonga
The Harare franchise side becomes only the first side in domestic cricket history to hold all three titles in one season led by their coach Stanley Timoni in only his first full season.
The Eagles soared high to complete a dramatic comeback after having spent the most part of the season anchoring the log.
Playing in the last match of the season at home against then leaders Mountaineers at Harare Sports Club, they made good use of home advantage to win the match by five wickets.
Timoni paid tribute to his technical staff and players for their never-say-die attitude.
“Yes, at one stage we were at the bottom of the log but we sat down as a team and came up with strategies and plans because we wanted to win the last three matches and with the grace of God we won them,” Timoni told the Daily News.
“And also good leadership from my captain Tinotenda Mutombodzi and all the senior players in their respective roles in the team and all this contributed to the Logan Cup success.”
Mutombodzi told the Zimbabwe Cricket website: “It’s really a great feeling and we are all proud to have been part of this all-conquering team.
“If you had asked us at the beginning of the season if this was possible, I don’t want to lie, I would probably have said no because, at most, we would have aimed to get maybe two trophies.
“But there we are and all I can say is well done to the entire team. We never expected this but we worked hard, our confidence is growing with every game and trophy that we won.”
After being set a 102-run target for victory on the fourth and final day, Mash Eagles made light work of the chase reaching the target in just 21.2 overs.
Mutombodzi and Nathan Waller both took the team across the line unbeaten on 23 and 24 respectively to send the home team into delirium.
Shingi Masakadza was the pick of the Mountaineers bowlers with three wickets while Victor Nyauchi and William Mashinge took a wicket each albeit in defeat.
Eagles had won the toss on day one and elected to field before a disciplined seam attack restricted the visiting Mountaineers to a paltry 192 runs in 49.1 overs.
Taurai Muzarabani and Trevor Garwe led the onslaught with four and three wickets apiece while Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi and Tafadzwa Muzarawetu picked two and one wicket respectively.
Shingi Masakadza scored 86 batting at number eight before he was caught by wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva off Muzarabani.
A century by Chakabva (103) and two half centuries from opener Kudzai Maunze (74) and Waller (58) at middle order and another effort from youngster Joylord Gumbie (48) ensured the Eagles took a first innings lead of 167 runs after they were bundled out for 359 runs in 79.5 overs.
Shingi Masakadza once again led the Mountaineers bowling charge with three wickets together with fellow seamer Nyauchi while Mashinge still fresh from the U19 World Cup campaign and spinner Natsai Mushangwe weighed in with two wickets apiece.