16 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Taylor, Masakadza Leave for Bangladesh

ZIMBABWE captain, Brendan Taylor, and top order batsman, Hamilton Masakadza, left for Bangladesh last night to take part in the country's premier Twenty20 tournament that gets underway in Dhaka this Friday.

Taylor has landed a contract with the Chittagong Kings while Masakadza will play for Sylhet Royals.

At the Kings, captained by Bangladesh international Mahmudullah, the Zimbabwe skipper will join other overseas players such as Ryan Ten Doeschate of the Netherlands, Jacob Oram of New Zealand, Wahab Riaz of Pakistan and Shaun Tait of Australia.

Masakadza's side is led by Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who will also keep wicket, and contribute in the middle order with the bat.

The Zimbabwean players were excited by the opportunity, which will give them the opportunity to fine-tune ahead of the tour of the West Indies next month.

"I was hoping that Tino Best and Andre Russell would be there so that I get a headstart in acquainting myself again with Caribbean opposition ahead of the forthcoming tour to the West Indies," said Masakadza.

The Zimbabwe top-order batsmen will have to be contend with sizing up West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith, who is part of the Royals' foreign contingent that includes Dirk Nannes of Australia and Paul Stirling, the 22-year old Ireland opening batsman.

Although the final of the Bangladesh Premier League is on the 18th of next month, both Masakadza and Taylor have said they will respond to the call for national duty if they are included in the Zimbabwe travelling squad to the West Indies.

"The national team always comes first and so there is no doubt that we will make it in time for the West Indies," said Taylor before his departure.

Meanwhile, Matabeleland Tuskers captain Gavin Ewing is anticipating a highly competitive match when they face Mashonaland Eagles in their first Pro50 Championship cricket match at Queens Sports Club this weekend.

The Bulawayo side guaranteed their place when they finished top of the table in the limited overs competition despite their last match against Mid West Rhinos ending in a stalemate due to wet weather conditions.

Tuskers received confirmation that they will square off with the defending champions Eagles who capitalised on the Zimbabwe Cricket decision to deduct points from Rhinos for using an improperly registered player.

Ewing said Tuskers, who have done well in the four-day Logan Cup competition, winning it twice in succession in the last two years but never making the final in the limited overs competitions, are excited to play their first one day game title contest.

Tuskers started off slowly in the one-day game this year but their turning point came in the last round robin match against Rhinos, which they won with a bonus point.

They managed to score 294 runs in that match and then bowled their opponents out for 162.

From then on Tuskers never lost a match until the final game that was washed out by the rains at the weekend.

"I feel we were a bit of a let down when it comes to one-day cricket and I am glad this year we have managed to pick ourselves up to finish top of the table.

"We did the little things right because in one-day cricket if you make a mistake, it can easily cost you the match. So we have been playing some good cricket of late and we would want to continue with the form into the final," said Ewing.

By finishing at the top with 24 points, five clear of second-placed Eagles, Tuskers won the right to host the final contest in Bulawayo.

Ewing said they are hoping home advantage will work in their favour as they seek to capture their first limited-overs crown.

"Hopefully some of the guys will not get nervous playing in front of the home crowds. Myself and (Heath) Streak feel we don't need to change anything because this final match is like any other that we have played this season. We just need to focus on winning," said Ewing.

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