MASHONALAND Eagles assistant coach Stanley Timoni says they will approach their Pro-50 Championship encounter against Matabeleland Tuskers like a final as they seek to book a place in the final of the 50-over competition at Queens Sports Club today.
With Tuskers having already booked a place in the final, pressure will be on Mash Eagles as they will have to win the match in order to confirm their place in the final ahead of third-placed Mountaineers.
Tuskers are top of the points table in the Pro-50 Championship with 26 points, five above second-placed Mash Eagles and a win in today’s encounter would guarantee them a home fixture in the final scheduled for this Saturday.
Mash Eagles, who are on 21 points will know they cannot afford any slip-up as a loss against Tuskers will see Mountaineers, who are on 19 points pushing them off second place should they win their match against MidWest Rhinos in Kwekwe.
“It’s a crucial game for our season and the boys are geared up and ready for the match,” Timoni told our sister paper NewsDay Sport in an interview yesterday.
“It’s like a final for us and we cannot afford to lose the match because if we do we will miss out if Mountaineers win their match.
“We don’t want to give Mountaineers a chance to qualify for the final and so the boys know we have to do the job for ourselves and not expect any favours.”
Mash Eagles received a major boost ahead of today’s encounter after a comfortable six-wicket win over the newly-crowned Logan Cup champions Tuskers in the final round of games at the same venue.
Spinner Wellington Masakadza picked up nine for 90, his best match figures, as Tuskers were dismissed for 174 in their second innings before Eagles hustled past their target of 71 in 17,2 overs.
The win saw Eagles finishing second on the Logan Cup points table and Timoni believed it was a confidence booster for his players ahead of today’s match.
“Yes, it will do a whole lot of good for the boys’ confidence. It’s not easy to beat Tuskers in their own backyard and we went into the match knowing if we won we would finish in second position and not third.
“We managed to achieve that objective; hopefully the boys will carry on with that momentum in tomorrow’s (today’s) match,” he added.