In the Logan Cup this weekend, Matabeleland travel to Harare to play what was once the major domestic fixture of the season against Mashonaland, while Midlands host Manicaland at Kwekwe Sports Club.

Mashonaland again will be favourites to overcome their rivals, especially after the way they dispatched Manicaland last weekend. Matabeleland have not beaten the champions since 1995/96, which was actually the last time Mashonaland lost at first-class level at all. In 11 matches between the two teams since the Logan Cup was granted first-class status in 1993/94, Mashonaland have won seven and Matabeleland just that one. Both Andy and Grant Flower average over 100 in matches between the two provinces.

Mashonaland still lack Douglas Hondo, whose strained shoulder has not yet healed, and have named the same team as last week. Matabeleland too expect to play an unchanged team.

Manicaland and Midlands have met only twice at first-class level, excluding a washout at Mutare Sports Club two years back, and have recorded one victory each. Midlands will be favourites to win this match, especially on their home soil, where the bowling of Raymond Price, who took ten wickets in the drawn match at Queens Sports Club last weekend, is so often the vital factor. Midlands also have a strong pace attack and powerful batting line-up, and may well prove too powerful for the young Manicaland side.

Manicaland are still without Guy Whittall, not yet fit, and have made four changes to their team, dropping the Soma brothers, Lance Malloch-Brown and Justin Lewis. In come Kingsley Went, who had a good innings for the B team last weekend; Paul Strang, grabbed from Matabeleland B; former Academy all-rounder Blessing Mahwire; and Harare off-spinning all-rounder Prosper Utseya. This gives them a long batting line-up, with captain Henry Olonga either having to bat at eleven himself or giving that post to one of the all-rounders. They will be putting their hopes on off-spinner Richie Sims to emulate Price and take advantage of a helpful pitch. Midlands expect to play the same team that drew with Matabeleland.

The nominated teams are as follows:

Mashonaland: Trevor Gripper, Stuart Carlisle, Dion Ebrahim, Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Craig Evans, +Tatenda Taibu, Andy Blignaut, *Brian Murphy, Gus Mackay, Alfred Mbwembwe.

Matabeleland: Gavin Rennie, Mark Vermeulen, Charles Coventry, Barney Rogers, Andre Hoffman, Mluleki Nkala, Gavin Ewing, +Wisdom Siziba, *Pommie Mbangwa, Keith Dabengwa, Jordane Nicolle.

Manicaland: +Neil Ferreira, Kingsley Went, Alistair Campbell, Richie Sims, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Guy Croxford, Paul Strang, Blessing Mahwire, Gary Brent, Prosper Utseya, *Henry Olonga.

Midlands: Terry Duffin, Vusi Sibanda, Doug Marillier, *Dirk Viljoen, Sean Ervine, Travis Friend, +Alester Maregwede, Don Campbell, Raymond Price, Innocent Chinyoka, Campbell Macmillan.

B DIVISION TEAMS

Matabeleland B play at home against Mashonaland B, while Masvingo make their debut, travelling to Mutare to play Manicaland B. Midlands B have a bye.

Mashonaland B: Tafadzwa Mufambisi, +Glenn Goosen, *Darlington Matambanadzo, Ryan Butterworth, Conan Brewer, Tom Benade, Ishmael Senzere, Neeten Chouhan, Elton Chigumbura, Nyasha Chari, Stephen Zesengwa.

Matabeleland B: *Ryan King, Clement Mahachi, Neil van Rensburg, Jason Hitz, Mark McKillop, +Romeo Kasawaya, Piet Rinke, Steven Brown, Michael Springer, Norman Mukondiwa, Tawanda Mupariwa.

Manicaland B: Paxton Chatura, +Adiel Kugotsi, +Kudzai Taibu, Shepherd Makunura, *Glen Barrett, Paddy Obank, Sintu Khan, Guy Penford, Gerald Makota, Marvin Vogel, Keegan Taylor.

Masvingo: No team list has yet been forthcoming from Masvingo.