Two apparent mis-matches in the Logan Cup this round, the first of which was the meeting at Zimbabwe Cricket Academy between Eagles and Rocks, who were newly-strengthened by the arrival of Kenyan maestro Steve Tikolo and a few 'returning rebels'. Not that they helped, in this round at least. Rocks won the toss and opted to field, and Eagles were quick to seize the opportunity to build a decent score - after not quite firing in the first two rounds of matches, their batsmen finally for their act together and put on 357 for their first innings. Things didn't entirely go their way - Ryan Butterworth's early departure with the score on just 8 was one of a few disappointing outings, but with half-centuries from Elton Chigumbura (61), Admira Manyumwa (61) and Trevor Garwe (58*), the Eagles did a good job of setting the first-innings pace. Steve Tikolo showed few signs of rustiness - he had been playing in the Kenyan national league prior to joining the Rocks - by leading the Rocks' bowling with 2/59, while Chamu Chibhabha, Tafadzwa Kamungozi and Hilary Matanga chipped in with 2 wickets apiece.
I reply, though, Rocks' batting simply wasn't up to the challenge - at one point the side were in deep trouble on 62/6 as the top order simply collapsed, and it took a fighting 55 from Ryan Chinyengetere at seventh to add a touch of respectability to the score as Rocks were bowled out for a meagre 159. Most of the damage was done by the pairing of Chigumbura (3/35) and Greg Lamb (3/38), giving Eagles a first-innings lead of 198.
Eagles' second innings wasn't quite as imperious as the first, but then it didn't need to be. Forster Mutizwa led the scoring, adding 78, while Lamb made up for a disppointing first innings with a knock of 41 before the home side declared with the score on 260/9. Tikolo once again led with the ball for Rocks, taking an impressive 3/23, but by this point the match was already beyond the Masvingo side - faced with a target of 459 to win they never got close. Their second innings was marked by a few good individual performances - returnee Craig Ervine led the scoring with 65, while Tikolo added 47 and Steve Marillier put on 44 - but beyond them there was scant support from the rest of the side, and Rocks were bowled out for 224, well short of the target.
That gave Eagles a 234-run win and second place in the tournament table, and gave a little more credence to their chairman's claims in the media prior to the match that his side would soon bounce back. With so many changes in the domestic game this season, it's taking some time for sides to gel and find their form, and the running is being made by those sides that have gotten their act together the quickest. Eagles seem to be there, now. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 357 (111.3 overs; Chigumbura 61, Manyumwa 61, Tikolo 2/59) & 260/9 decl (59 overs; Mutizwa 78, Tikolo 3/23), Rocks 159 (60 overs; Chinyengetere 55, Chigumbura 3/35) & 224 (93.1 overs; Ervine 65, Price 5/57). Eagles win by 234 runs
CricInfo reports that Thomas Odoyo has become the second Kenyan international to sign for Southern Rocks - their other Kenyan signing, Steve Tikolo, is due to join the side as player / coach on October 1st. The signing of Odoyo and Tikolo is seen as a snub to the Kenyan NCPA league, which has been suffering from perceived low playing standards.
CricInfo - Odoyo named as second Kenyan to head to Zimbabwe
Yesterday's coverage of the 2nd ODI included a short ZC promotional video where the logos and kit of the five franchise sides were unveiled. While the general idea of the Tuskers' logo had been spoken about already, the rest were news - so here they are:
Still no confirmed news on squads, though...
New Zimbabwe has the names of the five franchise sides and their captains:
Matabeleland Tuskers - Tawanda Mupariwa
Mashonaland Eagles - Elton Chigumbura
Southern Rocks - Chamunorwa Chibhabha
Mountaineers - Hamilton Masakadza
Midwest Rhinos - Edward Rainsford
No word yet on the playing squads for the sides, which is what I'm really curious to see...
New Zimbabwe - ZC unveils 5 franchise teams
The Zimbabwe Independent has details of the franchise sponsors, with which I'm about to have a little juvenile fun. Bear with me. :)
Mashonaland Eagles, the biggest franchise headquartered in Harare, are set to be bankrolled by agro-processing company Colcom Holdings Limited. If they don't win the title this year, it'll likely to be down to a clear case of "we ate all the pies".
Matabeleland Tuskers have almost agreed terms with Metropolitan Bank - appropriately enough, as their pre-season preparations would seem to make them a side you can bank on to do well this year.
Masvingo will land insurance company Nicoz Diamond, in the hopes that their support will help them improve on their less-than-sparkling performances in recent years. Bear in mind that the side, in their Southerns incarnation, didn't feature in last season's Logan Cup tournament.
Steelmakers, Zimbabwe's second-largest steel producers, will sponsor the Midlands, who will be disappointed that the steel connection doesn't exempt them from the laws against bowling beam-ers (okay, I'm stretching these now...).
Manicaland will be spondored by Sakunda Energy Petroleum, making them one side guaranteed to have no worries about petrol shortages. One hopes.
I'll stop now. :) Full franchise details and squads are due to be announced in Bulawayo on Wednesday evening, and for the first time in years, I'm feeling a certain sense of anticipation and excitement to see who's named in them...
Zimbabwe Independent - Cricket Franchises Secure Sponsors