MOUNTAINEERS came good when it mattered most as they totally outplayed hosts and favourites Mashonaland Eagles in the final of the inagural T20 domestic cricket league competition to win the title courtesy of a seven wicket victory at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
The Mountain Goats, whose bowlers had inflicted the most damage to the Eagles innings, needed to reach a revised target of 103 runs in 19 overs following the light showers that interrupted play earlier on.
And the batsmen responded well to wrap up the game with 11 balls remaining, largely thanks to opener Mark Pettini's highest contribution of 40 runs from 37 balls and skipper Tino Mawoyo who contributed a worthwhile 26 runs from 20 deliveries.
Man-of-the-match Tapiwa Mufudza struck 4/14 as Eagles crumbled at 106, all out, inside 19.3 overs.
Shingi Masakadza and Natsai M'shangwe weighed in with two wickets each.
Mountaineers coach Gary Brent said the victory made them feel on top of the world after going into the final with the underdogs tag hanging on their backs.
Brent was impressed by his team's performance, having qualified for this final as the second best team, 14 points behind their opponents.
"(I am) absolutely delighted. We are just on top of the world. The way the guys won, I thought it was fantastic. It was a very professional performance and they deserve all the credit. They made it on the day and we won it, interesting and great style as well," said Brent.
Eagles had won the toss and chose to bat first on overcast conditions.
Their coach Steve Mangongo said they were aiming for a competitive score of around 130 to 140 runs but their batsmen just let them down as wickets tumbled from the first over.
Mufudza struck first as Eagles lost Cephas Zhuwawo (6) with the second ball of the match and went on to distabilise the top order by removing Sikandar Raza (15) and Chamu Chibhabha (9) to leave the home team on 3/36 after 5.4 overs.
The 22-year-old off spinner, who had a brilliant outing in the team's Logan Cup victory at Southern Rocks where he registered a 5-27, returned to claim the wicket of Nathan Waller and by then Eagles were already battered and battling for life on 85/7.
Mangongo was disappointed by the defeat and said poor shot selection cost them the game.
"(It's an) anti-climax. We left our batting brains at home today and unfortunately (it's) very disappointing having had a very good run (of) seven games unbeaten in the league and finished 14 points ahead of the second team to get into the final and, where it mattered most, we didn't turn up with the bat.
"It was a bad performance by our batters and very disappointing for the players themselves because they know that they could have done better.
"On a wicket like this, you needed to knock the ball around a bit longer. We played too many big shots too early and as a result we couldn't get a competitive score," said Mangongo.