Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter

TAKASHINGA Cricket Club might as well start popping the champagne since they have all but won the inaugural National Premier League trophy after they defeated Amakhosi by 77 runs at Kwekwe Sports Club on Wednesday.

Heading into Wednesday’s fixtures, Amakhosi had a good chance of winning the NPL had they defeated Takashinga and then beaten Gladiators in their concluding encounter on Sunday while second placed Midwest who had a bye on Wednesday also lose to the Great Zimbabwe Patriots on the same day.

The loss to Takashinga has ruled Amakhosi out of the title race. Only Takashinga and Midwest can land the ultimate prize of US$10 000 on Sunday. All is pointing to Takashinga being crowned champions because even if Midwest win, the Harare side has a superior net run rate so they will be take the top prize by virtue of that should the two teams be tied on points.

Alvin Charadza top scored with a 52-ball 35, Takashinga posting 183/9 in 44 overs. Veteran off spinner John Nyumbu picked up 3/27 while there were two wickets each for seamers Ernest Masuku, Steve Chimhamhiwa and left arm spinner Ainsley Ndlovu.

The Amakhosi run chase got off to a poor start when Bright Phiri fell for a first ball duck. Amakhosi were reduced to 20-3 and the game had slipped away from them at that stage. Cunningham Ncube top scored with 19 and an 48-ball 18 from Chimhamhiwa gave their scorecard some decency, the Bulawayo side wiped out for 106 in 35.4 overs.

Off spinners, Roy Kaia and Tapiwa Mufudza were the chief destroyers with four wickets apiece to obliterate Amakhosi.

Harare Kings made it two wins in a row when they defeated Gladiators by 31 runs, Easterns saw off Queens Sports Club by six wickets while Rainbow Sharks won by eight wickets over the Great Zimbabwe Patriots.