Stage Is Set For Cracker Weekend of Finals Cricket

One of the biggest weekends of the DDCC cricket season is just hours from getting underway as four teams go to battle for the ultimate prize in the 50-over competition.

Southern Districts coach Tony Judd says “absolutely” anyone can win it from here even though Nightcliff has proven to be the best team so far this season.
 
“When you play in a final, anything can happen,” he said.
 
The Tigers are the only undefeated team in the competition after a 6-0 start to the season which gave them a top-place finish heading into the Casuarina All Sports Club One-Day finals.
 
They finished on two more wins than the next best Waratah and Palmerston who picked up four wins.
 
Meanwhile, the Crocs won three matches to scrape into the top four where they will now face the Tigers.
 
The Warriors will host the Power after finishing the six-game campaign with a better net run rate.
 
The winners from both semi-finals on Saturday will face off in the grand final 24 hours later on Sunday playing on DXC Arena. 
 
Nightcliff v Southern Districts – Nightcliff Oval

 
This game is set to be a cracker.
 
After beginning the 50-over competition with a shock loss to bottom-placed PINT, the Crocs have won two of their last three games to enter finals with some confidence.
 
Judd knows it will be a “tough game” for his side, although, he is prepared with a key focus that could unravel the Tigers to the point where they suffer their first defeat of the season.
 
“We haven’t started well enough with the ball so our focus will be trying to reduce their effectiveness upfront with the bat – that’s where their strength is,” he said.
 
“They (Nightcliff) have made a lot of runs their first three, four or five batters so that’s going to be a priority, that we try to restrict the flow.
 
“I think all sides this year are lacking bowling depth, not so much batting depth.”
 
The Tigers will have just as much confidence as the Crocs, if not more, as they defeated them by 16 runs at the very same oval they will meet on this Saturday.
 
It was their fourth win of the campaign and one the Tigers top order starred in with Douwjie Hoogenhoezem and Connor Carroll putting on 170 runs for the opening partnership.
 
The Tigers have the advantage of the home ground but even more handy for the top-placed side is the fact they will come in fresher after having the bye last weekend.
 
Worth noting, the Tigers game against Crocs in round 4 was their closest win of the season.
 
This game is sure to be a tight one.
 
Prediction: Tigers
 
Waratah v Palmerston – Gardens Oval

 
These two teams met all the way back in April when the season was just beginning and the Warriors took the chocolates in that round 1 clash at Cazalys Oval.
 
This time the teams will meet at Gardens Oval where the Warriors hold a 2-1 record this season.
 
The Warriors are on a two-game winning streak but that is quickly beaten by the Power who have won their last four games.
 
It is sure to be an intriguing battle.
 
Warriors captain Jagadesh Koduru who topped the competition batting in the regular campaign with 484 runs at a stunning average of 161.33, said he is expecting a good game.
 
“I think they are a good side (Palmerston), we played them in round one, it was a close win that probably could have gone either way,” he said.
 
“Our team looks a little different from that game though and their team looks a bit different too.
 
“There will probably be some fresh challenges, I reckon it will be a good game.”

The Warriors have added to their batting stocks since, with Aryan Jain, Sam Elliot and Shashank Lokesh joining the side.
 
Meanwhile, the Power had batter Ethan Anderson and pace bowler Darshan Thakkar, who didn’t feature in round 1, in last week’s XI.
 
It is not just the best-performing batter the Warriors have in their side; it is the competition’s top-performing bowler in off spinner Udara Weerasinghe.
 
The Warriors coach and former professional Sri Lankan first-class cricketer has taken 14 wickets at an average of 11.5.
 
Who wins? It’s anyone’s guess perhaps.
 
Prediction: Warriors