Southerns edge out Easterns

True to the newly-found unpredictability of Zimbabwe domestic cricket, Southerns have clinched the country's first-ever inter-provincial Twenty20 series after beating host province Easterns by five runs in the final in Mutare at the weekend.

Southerns comprise largely of the old Masvingo, a province which in the old set-up, had no first-class status. It only contested the "B" Division of the Logan Cup, the country's premier first-class tournament. Their victims in the final, Easterns, are the new champions of the Faithwear one-day series which ended in Harare last week.

The historic Twenty20 tournament took place in the border town of Mutare over three days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The final was a rain-affected match reduced to eight overs a-side, and Southerns were 73 for 7 in their 8 overs with Man of the Match Norman Mukondiwa smashing 20 off nine balls. Young spin bowler Timycen Maruma, who played in Zimbabwe's first and only Twenty20 match against South Africa last year, took 2 for 21.

Easterns were 68 for 7, managing only 12 of the 17 they needed from the last over, with Blessing Mahwire doing the damage with 3 for 18.

Southerns won through to the final after topping the group stage. Easterns finished level on points with Westerns, but secured their place thanks to a superior run rate. Northerns came fourth while Centrals, who lost all four of their matches, came bottom.