The opening day of the inaugural cricket 365 competition had it all from a low-run chase to towering sixes under the lights at DXC Arena.
Local Southern District’s pair Jackson Isakka (Desert Blaze) and Dean Fry (Southern Storm) led the way with match-winning performances of 81 and 53 respectively.
Opening batsmen Dylan Brasher was also impressive scoring 61 for the Desert Blaze just four days after leaving the quarantine facility at Howard Springs where he spent 14 days.
Desert Blaze off-spinner Hamish Martin (3/20 off 7.1) and Southern Storm opening bowler Josh Kann (2/23 off 10 overs) were the standouts with the ball as they secured crucial wickets to help secure victories for their teams.
Round 1: Northern Tide vs. Southern Storm at Cazaly’s Arena
The round began with Northern Tide opening batsmen Isaac Conway top-scoring with an unbeaten 77 to get his team to 6/180 off 50 overs against the Southern Storm.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl, the Storm bowled tight and consistent thanks to Josh Kann (2/23 off 10 overs) and Sydney Thunder’s Arjun Nair (1/24 off nine overs) keeping the Tide to 180.
The Storm started strongly in their run chase, reaching 100, just two wickets down at the 25 over mark.
Hobart Hurricanes opening batsmen and Storm captain, Mac Wright hit the most boundaries of any batter in the match with five fours to score 34 while Ash Chandrasinghe made 36 batting at number three.
Tide opening bowler Noah McFadyen (2/24 off 10 overs) brought his team back into the game with two quick wickets to put the Storm under pressure at 4/106 after 27 overs. Lochie Bangs was also influential with 3/48 from 10 overs.
It was then local Northern Territory talent Fry who hit a game-saving 53 to get the Storm over the line with 11 balls to spare.
Having played in every Strike league since its inception, Fry enjoyed having more interstate players in the tournament and credited the batters at the top of the order for setting up the innings.
“The boys batted really well. Good start up the top and all I had to do was come in, knock them around and do my job,” Fry said.
“All the interstate players, they bring up the level of competition and it’s good to get the exposure that you don’t quite get here sometimes. So it’s really good, the competition they’ve put on.”
Round 1: City Cyclones vs. Desert Blaze at DXC Arena
In the day-night match at DXC Arena, the Desert Blaze took control through Brasher, scoring 61, opening the batting followed by Isakka finishing the innings unbeaten on 81 with three fours and four giant sixes.
In his second season for Southern Districts in the Carlton Mid premier cricket competition, Isakka mentioned the benefit of having played in the Darwin conditions before.
“I'm adjusting to the conditions and getting used to them, I learnt a lot coming up last year so coming up this year I sort of knew how they played and was able to bat accordingly,” Isakka said.
Originally from New South Wales, Isakka took 2/44 off nine overs opening the bowling and mentioned his enthusiasm for being an all-rounder.
“Along the way, so many people say pick one but I’ve always loved doing both. If you fail with the stick you’ve always got something to go to,” he said.
Coby Edmondstone scored 34 with some late hitting involving a six at the end helping the Blaze get to a respectable total of 7/260 from 50 overs.
The Blaze total proved to be out of reach for the City Cyclones particularly after the bowling of local Northern Territory off-spinner Hamish Martin (3/20 off 7.1 overs) and Tasmanian left-arm orthodox spinner and Blaze captain, Tom Andrews (2/28 off 8 overs) put the Blaze on top from the beginning of the run chase.
Opening the batting, Dylan Hunter fought hard for the Cyclones scoring 52 while wicketkeeper batsmen Zac Sleeman blasted 51 with two sixes at the end to lift the total to 166 all out.
The Blaze were exceptional early keeping the Cyclones to 16 runs after the first 10 overs thanks to a superb opening spell from Australian fast bowler Chris Tremain bowling four overs for three runs with the Dukes ball.
At 5/31, the task became too big for the Cyclones, earning the Blaze their first win of the Cricket 365 one-day tournament.
The opening round sets up a cracking round two as the winners, Southern Storm and Desert Blaze take on each other at Cazalys Arena on Sunday while Northern Tide and City Cyclone will face off at DXC Arena.