Tafadzwa Tichawangana Sport Correspondent
MUTARE-based cricket franchise Mountaineers are on the verge of becoming the first team to win three straight Logan Cup titles, something no team has achieved since Zimbabwe’s first class domestic cricket competition was re-launched as a franchise competition in the 2009-10 season.
Victory against the Tuskers in their four day match which began at Old Hararians yesterday (Thursday) will see Mountaineers crowned Logan Cup champions for the third time in a row a feat that will no doubt leave an indelible mark on the domestic franchise cricket scene.
After failing to win their first two Logan cup matches of the 2018-19 season the Mountain Goats have won back to back matches to move to within a point of log leaders Eagles who slumped to their first defeat of the season against Rhinos at Old Hararians on Monday.
The Dangamvura duo of Donald Tiripano and Tendai Chatara were instrumental with the ball for the Mountaineers in the win over the Tuskers. All rounder Tiripano picked up 7 wickets while seamer Chatara who was returning from injury picked up 5 wickets to restrict Tuskers to 127 and 256 in reply to Mountaineers 497, and a victory by an innings and 114 runs.
The latest round of results puts the Mountaineers right back in contention to reclaim the Logan cup which they have won back to back in the 2016-17 and the 2017-18 seasons. Eagles have 26 points and Rhinos 24 points with one match each to play while Mountaineers have 25 points with two matches in hand including the ongoing match against the Eagles at Old Hararians, which is on until Sunday.
Rhinos are currently playing their final game of the Logan cup against Tuskers at Harare Sports Club.
Mountaineers general manager Wonder Chisango told Post Sport that winning the Logan Cup for a third season in a row would help boost the Mountaineers brand.
“ I have always maintained that Mountaineers is the best franchise in Zimbabwe and bringing the trophy to Mutare for the third season in a row would further strengthen our brand both with corporates and the Mutare community. As we speak, we are on the verge of sealing sponsorship deals with two corporates who want to partner with us because of the great publicity the Mountaineers brand generates. When you look at our bowling attack in the matches we have won it’s the Mutare boys who are leading the line and this will also go a long in motivating the young kids who are still in school especially when they see their role models like Donald Tiripano and Tendai Chatara making it internationally and on the domestic front,” he said.
Chisango also reassured Mutare cricket fans that they would get to watch the Mountaineers at Mutare Sports Club for the first time this season when they host two Pro50 championship matches on the 23rd and 24th of February.
“Due to logistical challenges all Logan Cup matches have been played in Harare. It wasn’t just Mutare that missed out on hosting Logan Cup matches. Tuskers and Rhinos didn’t host any Logan Cup matches in Bulawayo and Kwekwe respectively. Mutare Sports Club is ready to host cricket matches and I am excited about the two Pro50 championship games later this month. I am encouraging the Mutare community to come out in their numbers for those Pro50 championship matches so that we can show the rest of the country that we are very capable of hosting matches in Mutare,” he said.