Midlands square up to Manicaland in final
The battle for the National League ends this weekend when Midlands square up against Manicaland at Kwekwe Sports Club
The battle for the National League ends this weekend when Midlands square up against Manicaland at Kwekwe Sports Club on Sunday.
Manicaland, with an unbeaten record from the qualifiers, remain favourites to lift the 2006 National League Championship. In Tinotenda Mawoyo and Paxton Chatora, they have the best opening-bat partnership in the league. Their right hand-left hand combination has been a nightmare to bowlers. But they will have to face the young and vicious pace attack of Mike Chinouya and Alex Mavhiko. Legspinner Remembrance Nyathi, who had a dream semi-final against Matabeleland 2 at Queens Sports Club, taking 6 for 15 in 8.5 overs, could prove to be a handful for the Manyikas.
Mawoyo is currently leading the National League batting rankings with an average of 173.50 after five matches. His best is 138, scored in the semi-final against Uprising Cricket Club from Mashonaland.
Alongside Mawoyo, the former Zimbabwe Under-19 captain, will be the three Soma brothers- Leon, Andre and Daniel. The Soma boys are capable of doing damage with both bat and ball.
Although Midlands carry the underdog tag, they are capable of producing Houdini acts as they have done so twice during the qualifiers. Against Masvingo, Midlands were reeling on 21 for 4 after seven overs, but went on to make 230 to win the match. In the other escape act, while defending a paltry 121, the Midlands managed to dismiss the Matabeles for 92.
Inspired by player/coach Walter Chawaguta, who is also the Zimbabwe Under-19 coach, the Midlands have in their ranks a wealth of experience coupled with their never-die-spirit. Friday Kasteni, who served his country with the bat at the U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka earlier this year, also stars for the Midlands. However, he is still to show what he is capable of after following up on a good century in the opening game with a string of disappointing performances.
The Midlands track, always known to be a batting paradise, is likely to offer a high-scoring match.