Red Ball Cricket Returns

Yes that's right, it's time for two-day cricket in the Top End with three blockbuster games, including a day-nighter, set to kick us off.

 Time to leave the coloured clothing to the side and whip out the shiny whites as red-ball cricket gets underway in the Top End.
 
Prepare for longer spells, more drink breaks and plenty of time for more patience in your game.
 
The ball could be swinging more and the bat could be leaving more.
 
It is set to be a big second half of the Darwin and District Cricket Competition as the long form of the game takes flight to wrap up the season.
 
It all begins this Saturday – strap yourself in.
 
Nightcliff v Darwin – Nightcliff Oval
 
The back-to-back one-day premiers will be on the field again this Saturday with a big clash against Darwin who just missed out on finals.
 
After a double header weekend of finals for the Tigers and a rest weekend for the Eagles, it is set to be an intriguing battle.
 
Connor Carroll is coming off a huge grand-final century of 104 and will be eager to get his long-from campaign off to a flyer.
 
It will be much the same for Douwtjie Hoogenboezem who also had a strong 50-over campaign.
 
The stand-in skipper for the one-day grand final said he was feeling confident about the back half to the season.
 
“Feeling pretty confident about it to be honest,” Hoogenboezem said.
 
“We got a few changes to the side, we got a few boys going home and a few guys coming up to replace them – so they will be here for the two-day finals. 
 
“Hopefully we can put a few good performances through and we can push on for those finals as well.”
 
Carroll, Mansukh Singh and James Doherty are set to leave after the T20 campaign is complete and will feature in the opening two-dayers.
 
WA U19 fast bowler Jye Donald will come into the side as well as wicketkeeper-bat Lachlan Ball and Tyler Van Luin who has already played a T20 for the Tigers.
 
This game in Nightcliff is sure to produce some exciting cricket.
 
Prediction: Nightcliff
 
Waratah v Palmerston – Gardens Oval
 
It was a devastating loss for Waratah to go down by a run to Nightcliff in the 50-over final.
 
But they will be looking to bounce back and they will have confidence against Palmerston after beating them comfortably by eight wickets in the semi-final last week.
 
The Power on the other hand will be keen as ever to bounce back after bowing out of the one-day competition in disappointing fashion.
 
Prior to the poor semi-final loss, they had won four games in a row.
 
It is sure to be a hot contest between these two teams.
 
Warriors skipper Jagadesh Koduru is confident the strengths of his side will work well for the longer format.
 
“I think our batting depth is really good to post big totals and our spinners are bowling really nicely which is really important up here so hopefully they can do the bulk of the work in taking 10 wickets,” he said.
 
The Warriors captain has been in sublime form this season and was excellent again last weekend where he scored 32* and 58 in the decider.
 
Warriors off spinner and coach Udara Weerasinghe will be vital in continuing to deliver with the ball for his side after taking a stellar 15 wickets in the white-ball campaign.
 
Power captain and off spinner Hamish Martin will be just a crucial to his side after taking 12 wickets in his one-day campaign.
 
Both leaders took the most wickets for their side’s in the 50-over season and can also play a big role with the bat.
 
And lastly leading the way with the bat for the Power is wicketkeeper Caleb Montague who scored 368 runs in the one-day campaign.
 
At Gardens Oval, it will be important that teams deliver with the ball.
 
Prediction: Waratah
 
PINT v Southern Districts – DXC Arena
 
PINT like Darwin will benefit from the weekend off last week after missing out on the one-day finals.
 
They play host to Southern Districts who went down by a narrow two wickets to the Tigers in the 50-over semi-final on Saturday.
 
This game could be anything.
 
The Greens defeated the Crocs the last time they met in round 1 this season in a shock result to kick start the season.
 
And it was a comfy five-wicket win for the Greens that day out at Gerry Wood Oval.
 
But this time, it could be different, the Crocs may have a different side to what they had back then and the Greens have dropped off slightly in form since that top start to 2024.
 
But you never know, and the fact it is a glorious 3pm start with the game to be played as a day-nighter under lights presents another unique challenge.
 
Christopher McEvoy is destined to enjoy the conditions with his whippy mediums which got him 12 wickets in the 50-over campaign.
 
His teammate Jackson Isakka should also relish the opportunity to play under lights and will be eager to deliver after scoring a solid 327 runs in the white-ball competition.
 
The Greens will be led by Farzan Chowna and Mitch Doolan who have both showed good signs with the bat this season.
 
Bradley Ilott will be the one to watch with the ball after taking 10 wickets in the one-day campaign.
 
It should be a cracking game to watch under lights and hopefully a nice crowd get along to watch this encounter.
 
Prediction: Crocs

Tracy Village have the bye.