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Cricket festival in Bulawayo

Mbongeni Ncube
THE countrya��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 a�� the Chevrons a�� 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 a�?decentralise the gamea�?.

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

Entry into both venues is free.

a�?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. Ita��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,a�? said Moyo.

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

a�?The tournament will be blessed by the newly appointed Chevronsa�� 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,a�? 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.