Mustard targets SA after successful Zim T20 stint

Durham’s four-day captain, Phil Mustard, is confident of securing his second Twenty20 contract of the winter after helping Mountaineers win Zimbabwe’s Stanbic Bank 20 series.

“I’ve had some feedback from South Africa saying they might be interested in me going over for their T20, which runs from mid-February to the end of March,” said Mustard.

“SuperSport, the South African TV, showed all the Zimbabwe tournament so that was perfect for me. I performed pretty well.”

Opening the batting in the Stanbic final at Harare Sports Club, Mustard top-scored with 56 in a 27-run victory over a Mashonaland Eagles side featuring Ryan ten Doeschate, Peter Trego, Rory Hamilton-Brown and Andrew Hall.

Somerset’s Trego was named player of the tournament, but he, Hamilton-Brown and ten Doeschate all fell cheaply as the Eagles slipped to 25 for three in reply to 142 for six.

Mustard’s 56 off 31 balls was his third successive score of 40 or more and the victory capped a successful five-week stint based at Mutare in the Eastern Highlands.

On the standard of Zimbabwe’s T20, Mustard said: “Once you bring in all the county players, I think it would probably be a bit better than county second team cricket.

“You’ve got the internationals as well like Dirk Nannes, Chris Gayle and Shaun Tait, plus the likes of Paul Horton and Tom Smith from Lancashire. They are helping to raise the standard.

“They’ve also got some big name coaches like Jason Gillespie and Dave Houghton and I think people are starting to enjoy going there again.

“I didn’t do any proper coaching but I tried to help some young Zimbabwean guys to improve their cricket. I think it’s gone pretty well.”

Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance finished his T20 campaign in Zimbabwe with 137 runs at an average of 34.25 as Mid West Rhinos, coached by Yorkshire-bound Gillespie, just failed to make the final.

Ballance scored 67 from 34 balls in a seven-wicket win against Matabeleland Tuskers, for whom Gayle thrashed an unbeaten 109 in a total of 171 for one.

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