Tuskers’ assistant coach Mbekezeli Mabuza believes his charges were deserved winners of this year’s Logan Cup, attributing the team’s success to hard work, good preparation and a never die spirit within their camp.
The Bulawayo-based cricket franchise were crowned the Logan Cup champions for the first time since the 2014-2015 season after a slipup by Mountaineers on the final day gifted them the coveted title in the country’s premier first-class competition on Monday.
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Mountaineers, who only needed to draw their final match of the season to be crowned champions, lost by seven wickets to Southern Rocks in their final match at Harare Sports Club.
This meant Tuskers, who were docked two points for a slow overate, finished the season on top of the five-team log with 53 points from eight matches, ahead of second-placed Mountaineers who finished on 50 points.
The win was especially special for Mabuza who was part of the last Tuskers squad to enjoy Logan Cup success seven years ago.
“The wait felt like a lifetime because we had to rely on how the result between Southern Rocks and Mountaineers went but we had played some good cricket throughout the season,” Mabuza told ZimSportLive in an exclusive interview.
“I feel we deserved to win it because of the hard work we had put in preparation and during the season. The players were determined to do well which is always an advantage and I believe they deserved the success.”
He added: “There are so many things you can pinpoint but the standout was the way the team managed to turn games around from difficult positions. For example, the game against Rocks when we fell behind by 80 odd runs in the first innings and managed still managed to win by six wickets chasing 288 on a fourth innings wicket.”
The 37-year-old former middle-order batsman, who played 33 first-class matches for Tuskers between 2004 and 2017 took over the head coaching duties during the Logan Cup in the absence of head coach Douglas Hondo, who is in the UK for his ECB Specialist Coach (Level 4) coaching course.
He however refuses to take personal credit for the team’s success, attributing their achievements this season to a unity of purpose within the coaching setup.
“Our advantage is that we have a group of coaches who do a lot of hard work behind the scenes and can’t thank them enough. Doug is our leader and his physical absence was obviously felt but we have good communication lines.
Tuskers managed four wins and two draws while they only suffered just one defeat in the eight matches they played to finally end their long wait for success in the competition while also completing a double of trophies after winning the Domestic T20 competition in April last year.
2021/22 LOGAN CUP POINTS TABLE
* Tuskers were docked two points for slow over-rate