UPRISING captain Tadiwanashe Marumani will sit out of the money-spinning phase of the National Premier League (NPL) T20 Blast that gets underway at Harare Sports Club today due to an injury.
The explosive left-handed batsman picked up a quad muscle niggle which has ruled him out of play for four weeks.
Log leaders Takashinga 2 and second-placed Gladiators will get the ball rolling when they square off in a qualifier at 2pm with the winner sailing through to the final.
At 6pm, Uprising will battle it out against Takashinga 1 in an eliminator with the winner meeting the loser of the qualifier match between Takashinga 2 and Gladiators.
The final is scheduled for 6pm on Saturday with the champions guaranteed US$20 000, runners-up $10 000 while third and fourth-placed teams get $5 000 and $2 500, respectively.
Uprising head coach Alois Tichana said he was saddened to lose his captain through injury.
“It's quite difficult losing the captain since he's the one who knows all the players, so it's a big challenge to the team," Tichana told NewsDay Sport.
“The good thing is that we have a backup plan. Luke Jongwe is coming in to stand for Marumani as captain. We have got a big squad, so we are not worried too much about Marumani. We have got youngsters who are hungry, players like Ryan, Aisha, they can do the job for the team.”
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Takashinga 1 captain Roy Kaia said winning was a tradition within the Takashinga clan and he was looking forward to facing their second side in the final.
“Preparations were fine, I'm very happy to get in top four, that was a very good effort from the boys. We are now looking forward to claiming the trophy,” Kaia said.
“I will be more than happy to face Takashinga 2 in the final in a siblings grudge match. We are looking forward to it, hope they will make it to the final and we meet them there.”
Gladiators skipper Ashley Mufandauya who had a good season scoring the NPL T20 Blast’s first hundred, has only the qualifier in sight.
“We are not reading much into the possible two chances we may have of making it to the final. We just want to beat Takashinga 2 and seal the final berth, that's our strategy,” Mufandauya said.
Kudzai Maunze, Takashinga 2 stand-in captain, is hopeful of making it into the final too.
“It's every team's dream of winning big when you make it this far, so we are just looking at getting our basics right, then the rest will be history,” Maunze said.