Team of the Tournament
1: Connor Fletcher – Ndola Blitz
What a fantastic tournament for Fletcher, opening the batting for the Blitz he has consistently been able to get the team off to a good start. Picking up the award for being both the best batsmen of the tournament and the overall best player in the tournament really was deserved for Fletcher who scored the tournament’s first half-century (51 off 29 balls) against the Heats. During the competition, Fletcher proved that there is more than one way to bat in T10 cricket displaying both how to score quickly in games but also when to hold the innings together and rotate the strike. But Fletcher’s contribution with the gloves was also invaluable for the Blitz during the tournament and whilst he does not have the gloves in the team of the tournament should not go unmentioned.
2: Joseph Chinunga (C) – Kabwe Stars
The captain of the Stars had a good tournament with the bat and his on-field captaincy. Chinunga’s tactical awareness and ability to set fields to restrict the batsmen really helped the Stars during their campaign. A crucial factor for any captain’s success is the ability to show faith in their bowlers and to react to the game situations. The faith that he showed to his bowlers was at times brave and bold but more often than not proved to be the correct decision for his team. Plus, his field setting was often at times a lesson in how to set up a batsman to be dismissed. His contribution in the tournament does not end with his captaincy, however, with some crucial performances with the bat. Potentially his most crucial innings was his 56* from 34 against the Blitz in the Qualifier game. His ability to rotate the strike, push for runs and clear the boundaries makes Chinunga a fantastic opener for any team.
3: Javid Patel – Lusaka Heats
Javid Patel really has proved how important an all-rounder can be in a team. With his ability to bowl spin coupled with his clean striking of a cricket call, Patel has earned his spot in the team of the tournament. His best performance with the bat came in the Heats victory in their final game of the group stage against the Kitwe kings to push the team into the finals. His 75 off 30 balls was a display of extraordinary hitting and his ability to clear the boundary was unmatched in this innings. But this was not a one innings tournament for Patel, also scoring various 20’s and 30’s throughout the tournament. His spin bowling also provided some crucial moments during the team’s campaign. His bowling performance against the Blitz during the early stages of the tournament cemented his place as an all-rounder picking up the impressive figures 2-0-10-2.
4: Isaac Mwaba (WK) – Kabwe Stars
Every team needs a fantastic wicket-keeper and Isaac Mwaba of the Kabwe Stars is exactly that. Over the course of the tournament, he consistently proved that he had lightning fast reflexes and extremely safe hands; which is impressive considering the standard of wicket keeping in the tournament was so high. His impressive stumping in the super over of the final was a highlight that could have been shown across the globe as an exceptional stumping. Mwaba also proved his talent with the bat over the course of the tournament with scores of 41 off 19 balls and 49 off 27. The hard-hitting wicket-keeper could find himself looking to add to his international career based on his performance during the tournament and may even catch the attention of other team managers.
5: James Green – Ndola Blitz
It was a real shame to see James Green injured for finals day, as he had been a fantastic performer in the earlier stages of the competition. With firework style hitting displays, including an innings of 41 off 15 against the Kitwe Kings was one of the highlights of the competition. But like many of the players in the competition, Green proved he was gifted with bat and ball. Some economical displays with ball in hand, including against the Stars (2-0-8-0) and the Heats (2-0-12-0), helped the Blitz to restrict the runs when bowling. Green was definitely one of the players of the tournament and lit up the crease whenever he strode in the crease.
6: Robert Rogers – Ndola Blitz
Rogers could have batted in a number of different positions in this team of the tournament just as he has done for the Ndola Blitz team. Rogers is another all rounder who has proved himself to be adaptable and dependable in a number of different situations. His performance in the qualifier against the Stars really proved his ability with the bat scoring a very important quick 28 from 12 despite it being in a losing cause. Then in the eliminator against the Heats, the ability to pick up a wicket in the first over not only displays his ability with the ball but his dynamic and ever ready nature as a player. His playing abilities along with his fantastic leadership of the Blitz team meant that Rogers performances did not go under the radar and should be highly praised for his performance in the tournament.
7: Godfrey Kandela – Kabwe Stars
Getting player of the match in the final really was the icing on the cake for Kandela who performed with the ball right the way through the tournament. The Heats vice-captain bowled with fantastic skill and combined economical bowling spells with the ability to take key wickets throughout the competition. His spell against the Blitz during matchday 3, returning with figures of 2-0-12-3, has to be one of the standout bowling performances of the tournament especially against the formidable line-up of the Blitz. But there were also glimpses of Kanedla’s ability with the bat, with his 34 off 23 balls not out against the Kitwe Kings providing the perfect example. But what most will remember Kandela’s tournament for is his display in the final. Any bowler that is able to bowl under pressure is worth his weight in gold in short-form cricket, especially in T10 cricket and to return figures of 2-0-3-2 is a truly fantastic display.
8: Aiden Hawksworth – Ndola Blitz
Another fantastic player coming out of the Blitz, but by no means lost in a crowd was Aiden Hawksworth. Hawksworth had a number of crucial contributions throughout the competition including figures of (2-0-10-2) against the Stars in the teams first game of the competition and scoring 7 off 4 balls* in the Eliminator; a score which at first glance may look irrelevant but when in the context of the innings taking the team across the line becomes key. Hawksworth was reliable for the Blitz and consistency was key for the player who definitely shouldn’t fly under the radar.
9: Tapson Nyirongo – Kabwe Stars
Nyirongo was a key cog in the wheel that was the Kabwe stars bowling line up. It is hard to pick just one performance from a player that has been the epitome of consistency. His hat-trick in the qualifier would be a highlight in any cricketer’s career and should be remembered as one of the moments in the tournament; especially as it was the tournament’s only hat-trick and is a rarity in any format let alone one where a bowler is only given 12 legal deliveries to make an impact. But honestly, there could have been so many moments that Nyirongo has produced over the tournament that it does not do his tournament performance justice. Nyironogo has proved himself to be one of the best bowlers in Zambia and deserves all the recognition that his performance in the BetBarter Zambian T10 League earns him.
10: Tausif Panchibaya – Kabwe Stars
The number of Kabwe Stars bowlers that have made it into the team of the tournament is really testament to the strong bowling line up of the team. Panchibaya may have gone under the radar for many with the likes of Zimba and Nyirongo, but had the ability to find a way to get batsmen out during crucial situations. The wicket of player and batsmen of the tournament Connor Fletcher, well caught by Mwaba, helped the Stars restrict the Blitz’s batting efforts in the final and provided a key building block to help the Stars win the final. Other key performances included his bowling performance against the Heats on matchday 2 of the tournament returning mind blowing fixtures of 2-0-4-3 and 2-0-13-1 against the Blitz on matchday 1.
11: James Zimba – Kabwe Stars
The left-arm spin of Zimba deservedly got him the award for being the bowler of the tournament. Zimbia really complimented the rest of the bowling unit of the Kabwe Stars and the addition of the left arm spin bowler created fantastic variation. Zimba looked phenomenal all the way through the tournament and his name should be remembered by fans of African cricket as he looks like a brilliant talent. Figures of 2-0-15-4 in the Qualifier, 1-0-4-0 against the Kings during matchday 2 and 2-0-8-3 against the Kings on matchday 3 really summarise his ability to bowl both in an extremely economical manner and to take key wickets. Zambia really do have a fantastic talent in James Zimba and it was a pleasure to watch a spinner bowl so well in a format that some believe will leave slow bowling redundant.
12th man: Joyeb Chand – Kitwe Kings
Despite not making finals day, Joyeb Chand really stood out for the Kitwe Kings during their campaign. Starting off the tournament with a bang, Chand scored an eye-catching 35 off 18 balls to win himself the player of the match award in the tournament’s curtain-raiser against the Heats. But as the tournament went on Chand also showed that he has real value with the ball in hand returning with a variety of good performances including against the Heats during matchday 3 where he bowled the first over of the game and took 2 wickets and keeping it tight conceding only the 2 runs. Chand is definitely a player who the Kings can be proud of for his performances throughout the group stage.
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