Desert Blaze is representing the NT at the 2020 National Premier T20 Cricket Championships played in Adelaide. Winners of the Premier Grade T20 competitions in each State and Territory are vying for the status of National Champion. Blaze won the 2019 TIO Strike League competition where they beat the more fancied Hobart Hurricanes in a one-sided final - the Hurricanes were previously undefeated.
In Rounds 1 and 2, Blaze were drawn to play Lindisfarne (Tasmania) and the Sydney Cricket Club – both games were played at Park 25 (No 3 Oval).
In their opening game, Blaze won the toss and elected to bowl and had almost immediate success with quick, Michael Ninneman, and off-spinner, Matt Hammond, taking an early wicket each. At the compulsory close after 20 overs, Lindisfarne managed a respectable 5-149 – opener, Kieran Gilbert, carried his bat to be 59 n.o. while Dean Fry was the best with the ball taking 2-17 off his allotted four overs.
In reply Blaze were steady with Jacob Dick making 40 at the top of the order, but at 3-75, they were behind a readily acceptable rate. Despite an unbroken 66-run fourth wicket partnership between Jack James and skipper, Kierran Voelkl, Blaze couldn’t reach the target and fell a heart-breaking nine runs short.
In their second match of the day, Sydney won the toss, batted, and got away to a flyer but Matt Hammond stopped the rot in the fifth over with the first wicket, however, a steady procession of partnerships allowed Sydney to score 6-185 after 20 overs – Dean Fry continued his wicket taking form while Matt Hammond also took two wickets.
Although scoring at a brisk rate, Blaze openers Jacob Dick and Ben Abbott fell cheaply and while most of the other top order got starts, only Jack James managed to completely get ahead of the game. James (47) again top scored but Blaze fell 26 runs short at the closure.
James, who is currently playing with North Sydney said he was hitting them pretty well but disappointed a win didn’t eventuate.
“We played quality opposition in both games and were a bit stiff in the opener because we batted a bit slow early,” said James.
“Sydney were also a quality side and bowled well at the death which in hindsight was the difference.”
“I hit them pretty well in both games today and hopefully can again tomorrow - we are confident and looking to win.”
Round 1 – Lindisfarne: 5-149 (20) (Kieran Gilbert 59 n.o.; Dean Fry 2-17) d Desert Blaze: 3-141 (20) (Jack James 59 n.o., Jacob Dick 40, Kierran Voelkl 28 n.o.).
Round 2 – Sydney: 6-185 (20) (Nicholas Gubbins 51; Matt Hammond 2-18, Dean Fry 2-37) d Desert Blaze: 7-159 (20) (Jack James 47; Alex Glendenning 2-26).