The Southern Storm and Desert Blaze have set up a massive round-five clash between each other after convincing victories against the bottom two teams.
The Blaze set the tone for the day, bowling the City Cyclones out for 107 and chasing it down with ease, only losing one wicket.
The undefeated Storm followed as they bowled the Northern Tide out for 162 and chased it one wicket down in the day-night match.
Round 4: Desert Blaze vs. City Cyclones at Cazalys Arena
The Blaze obliterated the Cyclones from the beginning of the game as they had the Cyclones 2/22 after the first powerplay and continually took wickets from then on.
All-rounders Jackson Isakka (3/19 off seven overs) and Hayden Kerr (2/15 off eight overs) bowled superbly while off-spinner Corey Rocchiccioli (2/4 off three overs) did a fine job.
The wickets were shared across the entire bowling attack as Chris Tremain, Hamish Martin and Tom Andrews all picked up a wicket.
Blaze captain, Andrews, credited the consistency of his bowlers this tournament and the experience they bring to the side.
“Every game so far, we’ve bowled pretty well and I think today it just showed. We’ve got a pretty experienced bowling line-up which always helps,” Andrews said.
For the Cyclones, Campbell Kellaway (34) and Keegan Oates (26) contested but were not supported as they got bowled out in 36.1 overs.
The run chase lasted 21.1 overs as the Blaze cruised home, getting the required 109 runs for victory through Dylan Brasher (46) and Hugo Burdon (45).
Round 4: Northern Tide vs. Southern Storm at DXC Arena
The Storm showed why they are leading the competition when they ran through the top order of the Tide to bowl them out for 162.
Josh Kann (2/44 off 10 overs) did a fantastic job upfront to grab the wickets of both Tide openers.
Arjun Nair (3/31 off 10 overs) was excellent, taking the most wickets and breaking a dangerous partnership that was forming from 2/30 to 3/61.
From then on, the Storm dominated the innings, continually taking wickets to bowl the Tide out for 162.
Kyle Scrimegour (2/28 off 6.4 overs) was vital as he secured the important wicket of Jason Sangha, while Blade Baxter (2/26 off 10 overs) was economical for the Storm.
Chasing 162, opening batsman Mac Wright gave the Tide no chance, scoring an unbeaten 103 off 59 deliveries to secure the Storm a comprehensive victory.
Wright was outstanding, hitting 16 fours and two sixes to put himself well clear of the rest of the competition in runs scored at 233 runs from four innings.
Wright was delighted to get to his hundred chasing a low total and credited the bowlers for their performance in the first innings.
“Absolutely stoked. To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to get there but it was nice to bring it up in the end,” Wright said.
“It was a really good day. A really strong bowling performance from our guys and then it made it a pretty easy job for us with the bat.
“Our bowlers were able to execute their plans and bowl really tight on a pretty flat wicket, so it’s pleasing to see those guys doing their job every week and to get four wins in a row is really pleasing.”
Wright put his team’s success down to players doing their jobs when the opportunities have arrived.
“I think we have a really strong side and when the time has come, different guys have stepped up and done their job, so I think just sharing the load has really been a key to our success,” he said.
Nair (30*) and Sam Fanning (25) were also handy for the Storm in the run chase.
The round four results set up a huge clash next week where the Blaze take on the ladder leader Storm for the top spot on the TIO Strike League One-Day ladder.
The Blaze are second on the ladder with three wins and the Storm is still undefeated with four wins.
With just two rounds remaining, this day-night match will be significant for the team that wins.
In the other game, the Cyclones will be looking for their first win after losing the first four matches of the competition.