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Cricket festival in Bulawayo

Mbongeni Ncube
THE country’s four cricket franchise teams will square off in Bulawayo in a five-day cricket extravaganza that will be used to select players for the national team — the Chevrons — to take part in a T20 World Cup scheduled for India from 8 March to 3 April.

From 9 to 13 March the Matabeleland Tuskers, Mashonaland Eagles, MidWest Rhinos and the Manicaland Mountaneers are set to battle it out at two venues, Queens Sports Club and the Bulawayo Athletic Club in a round robin format in the first three days of the tournament.

The last two days are for the semi-finals and the finals respectively.

Initially the tournament had been billed for Harare but later moved to Bulawayo by Zimbabwe Cricket in a bid to “decentralise the game”.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Cricket chairman Vumi Moyo pleaded with local cricket fans to throng the two venues in numbers.

Entry into both venues is free.

“When fans come in large numbers then as Bulawayo we will be making a strong case for the city to host international matches in future. It’s a big event which we must use as the perfect platform to show that Bulawayo has got what it takes to host a high profile tournament,” said Moyo.

National team players that recently did duty for the Chevrons in Afghanistan will take part in the tournament for their respective teams.

“The tournament will be blessed by the newly appointed Chevrons’ captain Hamilton Masakadza and his deputy, leg-spinner Graeme Cremer, as well as former national team pace bowlers Christopher Mpofu and Tawanda Mupariwa to mention but a few,” he said.

The last time Bulawayo staged an international match was in October last year when the Chevrons played against Afghanistan as well as a tri-series pitting the hosts, powerhouses Australia and South Africa earlier in 2015.