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Easterns retain Faithwear title

Easterns completed the successful defence of their Faithwear Cup title after beating bottom side Centrals by three wickets at Takashinga Cricket Grounds. Centrals limped to 134, although Easterns made life hard, losing wickets too regularly even though they had 24 overs to spare.

Although Easterns still have to meet Westerns in their final game, they already have enough points in the bank. "There was never a doubt that we are the best prepared side in the series," said coach Steven Mangongo. "That we've been beating every team we played is not down to anything but class.

"We are professionals and … we set the standards and everyone follows. Basically our preparations were good, team strategy was also good. Our role play have been carried to the letter and our all round role play have been magnificent and such a team can not lose matches."

Mangongo's bullish rhetoric might be influenced by the fact he is still bidding to take over as national coach, even though his credentials are hardly bristling with experience. However, he is a key figure at Takashinga which dominates the club scene and has often been closely linked to the ruling Zanu-PF regime.

Westerns got revenge over Northerns for their opening-day defeat with a three-wicket win at Harare Sports Club and in the process ended Northerns' title hopes after they had won their first three games.

Northerns, who were stuck in, were reduced to 77 for 5 with only national discard Cephas Zhuwawo making a meaningful contribution. Trevor Garwe rallied the tail with 34 but it only pushed them to 187. Westerns found themselves in an almost identical spot at 79 for 5, however Keith Dabengwa cracked 71 not out to ease them home with five overs in hand.