Musekiwa's last-ball yorker seals thrilling NPL T20 Blast title for Takashinga Patriots 2


Takashinga Patriots 2 clinched the 2023 NPL T20 Blast title in a dramatic three-run victory over Uprising Cricket Club in the final on Saturday at Harare Sports Club. The match went down to the wire, with Uprising needing four runs off the last ball to overhaul Takashinga's imposing total of 208.


However, young fast bowler Tashinga Musekiwa delivered a perfect yorker to dismiss Brian Bennet and spark wild celebrations among his teammates. 

Musekiwa's heroics ensured that Takashinga Patriots 2 emulated their sister club Takashinga 1, who had won the NPL 45 over competition earlier in the season.

The final was a high-scoring affair, with both teams showcasing their batting prowess. Takashinga's innings was anchored by a sensational knock of 91 off 47 balls by Antum Naqvi, who smashed seven fours and five sixes in a display of power hitting. 

He was well supported by Cephas Zhuwao (36) and skipper Kudzai Maunze (21), who gave their team a flying start. Faraz Akram added some late fireworks with a quickfire 35 off 19 balls, propelling Takashinga past the 200-mark. 

Chris Mpofu was the pick of the bowlers for Uprising, claiming four wickets for 27 runs in his four overs. Following him was skipper Luke Jongwe with figures of 3-52.

Nick Welch and Craig Ervine proffered some sturdy balance for Uprising with a magnificent partnership of 150+ runs for the second wicket as the team's innings had started on a shaky note.

The duo kept up with the required run rate, scoring at over 10 runs per over. Ervine was particularly aggressive, blasting 76 off 37 balls, while Welch played a more measured innings of 60 off 45 balls.

The match turned in Takashinga's favour when Ervine fell to a leg before wicket off Naqvi's delivery in the 14th over, triggering a disconcerting collapse of Uprising's middle order. Wickets fell at regular intervals, as the pressure mounted on the chasing side. 

Bennet kept Uprising in the hunt with a brisk 24 off 12 balls, but he was denied by Musekiwa's brilliant final delivery. 

His innings also involved a controversial moment, when a six he hit was wrongly signalled as a four by the umpire.

The match was a fitting finale to an exciting tournament that showcased some of the best talent in Zimbabwean cricket. The attention now shifts to the Pro 50 championship, which starts on Friday, October 20.

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