Logan Cup 4th round preview May 2, 2007

Westerns and Easterns meet in title showdown

Westerns received a timely boost ahead of their Logan Cup showdown against Easterns at Bulwayo with news that Charles Coventry and Sean Williams are available for the match. The two missed the innings victory over Notherns at Harare Sports Club - Coventry because of work commitments, Williams with a sore back.

Williams has been the key to Westerns' fine form so far with a century and two half centuries in the two matches he has played. Coventry has not lived up to his hard-hitting reputation, but did score a brisk 76 when promoted to open to lead Westerns to a four-wicket win over Kenya Select. The pair are expected to make up Westerns' top order batting line up with Bonaparte Mujuru, Tinashe Hove and Mbekezeli Mabuza.

The tie could turn into a battle between the spinners. Westerns have Keith Dabengwa, the tournament's leading wicket-taker with 22, fresh from a remarkable spell of 7 for 1 last weekend. Easterns pin their hopes on Prosper Utseya and legspinner Tymcen Maruma.

With both teams unbeaten, it is likely that the winners will go on to take the title. A draw will suit Westerns, who have home advantage, as they won all three games, while Easterns have drawn one.

At Masvingo, Northerns visit Southerns. Neither side has won yet, so only pride is at stake. But the alarming collapse of Northerns, effectively the old all-conquering Matabeleland side, is causing alarm, with many blaming the overtly political selection policy for alienating many of the best players. Elton Chigumbura, the captain, Brendan Taylor, Tafadzwa Mufambisi and Graeme Cremer seem likely to miss the match.

At Kwekwe Sports Club, Centrals look for a third successive win against Kenya Select, who have been easily beaten in both matches they have played so far. There are rumours of discontent over pay and conditions inside the Kenyan camp, but they need to concentrate on performing on the pitch where they have been alarmingly inconsistent.

Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare

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