Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
TUSKERS are set to return home for their third and fourth fixtures of the 2022/23 Pro50 Championship season to face Southern Rocks at Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC) after completing a double over rivals Alliance Health Eagles in Harare.
The fixtures against second placed Southern Rocks are scheduled for Friday and Sunday, with the home team looking to continue their fine run in the tournament that has seen them sit on top of the league standings with two wins in as many matches.
In their first match of the campaign, the team from Bulawayo emerged 43-run victors over Eagles courtesy of clinical bowling which saw them defend what seemed to be a below par score 194. Tanatswa Bechani and Sheunopa Musekwa were lethal with the ball for the Ainsley Ndlovu captained Tuskers as they took four and three wickets respectively.
In a bid to complete a double over Eagles which they failed to previous season when they lost one and won one against rivals, Tuskers managed to dig deep to register their second victory of the campaign and complete the famous double.
Batting first, Tuskers put 269-7 on the board courtesy of two half centuries by Milton Shumba and Alvin Chiradza who scored his second in two matches. Brian Chari chipped in with 45 runs while wicketkeeper Clive Madande scored 31.
Once again, bowlers were at the forefront of the win with Musekwa coming up with another splendid performance, finishing with 4-48 in just 8, 3 overs. Seam bowler Ernest Masuku took two wickets as well as Shumba to successfully defend 269.
Playing at home, Tuskers will fancy their chances of completing yet another double in front of their fans to continue the impressive form.
The matches were however moved from Queens Sports Club to Bulawayo Athletic Club as Queens is undergoing renovations and is expected to be back for use by next month.
“The pitch is currently being redone to give it more bounce as it was getting flat. We have put new grass and clay and it will take one and a half month to settle,” said Tuskers general manager, Nicholas Singo.
Tuskers head coach Walter Chawaguta told Chronicle Sport that he is happy with the way they have started their campaign despite not playing some good cricket.
“We are happy to get a good start such as this but as a unit we also accept we haven’t played our best cricket yet. It’s still early in the season, so there is pressure to keep improving in all aspects of our game to stay ahead of the pack,” said Chawaguta.
The coach also believes that playing at home will be good for Tuskers supporters to watch their local heroes in action in their own backyard and give the team extra drive to impress. He however downplayed his team being potential title contenders, stating that it is too early and their focus will be on games as they come.
“It’s early days to speak of the title, we want to focus on the here and now (process), focus on the controllable. I do believe that the ultimate result will then take care of itself, we are process driven,” said Chawaguta.
After the games against Rocks, Tuskers will make a trip down to Mutare to face Mountaineers. – Follow on Twitter @brandon_malvin