Taibu leads from the front
Zimbabwe's drawn-out 2004-2005 domestic season has come to an end with Mashonaland, as expected, winning the Logan Cup for the sixth time in a row. We take a look at how the four provinces performed
The captain Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, Barney Rogers and Stuart Carlisle were outstanding with the bat, while Waddington Mwayenga and the legspinner Graeme Cremer bowled really well in the last stages of the competition; Cremer seems to have learned a lot form the South African tour.
Star man Taibu. He was outstanding with the bat, with two well-made centuries and a top score of 151 against Manicaland - and he missed on a third when he was out for 91 against Matabeleland in the first match. His ability to bat for a long period shows he has really matured.
Young player to watch A complete allrounder, Chamunorwa Chibhabha is a composed player, a brilliant stroke player in the top order and an accurate medium-pace bowler with a bright future in the game.
Back-to-back victories against Midlands and a surprise win against Mashonaland in the last round ensured that they finished second, a huge improvement from last season when they were bottom. Their captain Dion Ebrahim, Neil Ferreira and Hamilton Masakadza were in top form with the bat, but the bowling was a problem - although left-arm seamer Allan Mwayenga did well in the last stages.
Star man Ebrahim, two centuries and a brace of half-centuries made the difference for Manicaland.
Young player to watch Tino Mawoyo - the Zimbabwe Under-19 captain did not play much due to educational commitments, but the few times he did turn out, he showed that he is a good batsman. Mawoyo is also capable behind the stumps and he will be able to put his talent on display when he completes his studies this year.
They started off their campaign with a 258-run defeat at home to Mashonaland but recovered to beat Manicaland by nine wickets. They were really affected by the departure of coach Pommie Mbangwa who took up a job as a commentator in South Africa. Captain Mluleki Nkala also missed out on the last four matches due to a nagging ankle injury, and Heath Streak was also not available due to county commitments. This left a lot of pressure on Tawanda Mupariwa and Christopher Mpofu to lead the bowling attack and they rose up to the occasion. Terrence Duffin was consistent with the bat at No. 1 and Keith Dabengwa and Sean Williams also impressed.
Star man Keith Dabengwa - a best of 161 against Midlands and three more half centuries was impressive, although he still struggled for wickets.
Young player to watch Sean Williams. Another of a crop of composed young players, the left-handed Williams has a good technique up the order. He is also a left-arm spinner and, should he learn to turn the ball more, he will become a complete allrounder.
A very disappointing season for a side that has spent the last few years challenging for honours. Midlands finished this year's competition with six defeats in six. They were not consistent and relied on individual performances to bail them out: but these were never enough. For example Douglas Marillier's 202 in the second innings against Manicaland could not save them from a ten-wicket drubbing. Friday Kasteni scored a hundred on debut against Matabeleland but he failed to find such brilliant form again.
Star man Prosper Utseya. He struck three half-centuries with a top score of 89, Utseya also did well with the ball with best figures of 5 for 32.
Young player to watch Anthony Ireland. He has the raw pace but ultimately he lacks control. If he learns how to maintain a good line and length, he could go far.