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Taibu delays honeymoon to keep Mashonaland on track

Mashonaland will be aiming to make it four wins in a row in the Logan Cup when they host Matabeleland at the Harare Country Club on Tuesday. Both sides won last week, and matches featuring the two biggest provinces in Zimbabwe have always been exciting and this one should be no exception.

Tatenda Taibu, who got married on Sunday, has put his honeymoon on hold to lead his Mashonaland side, but top-order batsman Barney Rogers is ruled out through injury, as is veteran left-arm seamer Bryan Strang. Taibu, who scored a century against Manicaland last week, is part of a strong Mashonaland batting line-up, which also has Brendan Taylor, Stuart Carlisle, Kudakwashe Samunderu and Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Allrounders Elton Chigumbura and Andy Blignaut are also expected to chip in with runs in the middle order. Waddington Mwayenga leads the bowling attack with veteran Jordane Nicolle while legspinner Graeme Cremer is expected to play a pivotal role as the match progresses and the pitch starts to turn.

Matabeleland are set to open their batting with Terrence Duffin and Tinashe Hove, who scored a century against Midlands despite retiring hurt after being hit on the head. Mark Vermeulen makes a return into the side and is likely to be thrown into the starting line-up with either Charles Coventry or captain Michael McKillop, who performed dismally with the bat against Midlands, set to make way. Christopher Mpofu, Tawanda Mupariwa and Thabo Mboyi form the Matabeleland pace attack while offspinner Gavin Ewing and left-armer Keith Dabengwa make up the spin attack.

In the other game Manicaland host Midlands at Mutare Sports Club. The match was supposed to be played in Kwekwe but had its venue changed for what are understood to be logistical reasons. Manicaland welcome back skipper Dion Ebrahim and opening batsman Trevor Gripper, who both failed to travel to Mutare for the match against Mashonaland after their houses in Harare were broken into. Graham Brown and Kingsley Went make way for them, while Stuart Matsikenyeri, who captained Manicaland against Mashonaland, reverts back to his post of vice-captain. Medium-pacer Blessing Mahwire, who has been out through injury, returns to the side in place of Ryan Bennett.

No changes are expected in the Midlands side with captain Alester Maregwede, Vusumuzi Sibanda, Craig Wishart, Douglas Marillier and Friday Kasteni, who made a century on debut, expected to play as Midlands look for their first victory after tasting defeat three times so far in the competition.