Round 2 of the T20 competition reversed the result from last week with Desert Blaze strolling to a nine-wicket victory over Southern Storm to level the three-match contest at 1-1.
Sending Storm in to bat after winning the toss, Blaze opened with steady bowling and sharp fielding, and didn’t allow for any Storm batting heroics - holding them to 8-127 at the compulsory close after 20 overs. Only Jackson Isakka (44) and to an extent Matt Hammond (22) and Ryan Clark (22) looked in some way likely to pounce and get a competitive score on the board.
But it clearly wasn’t allowed to happen as Blaze skipper Luke Shelton astutely rotated through his string of bowlers to keep tabs on any likely batting explosion. Among the eight bowlers used, Dean Fry (2-19) and Aaron Summers (2-23) were the multiple wicket takers.
Strom got the start they were looking for when Tom Pinson took a well-judged catch at mid-on to get rid of Isaac Conway (3) off the bowling of Isakka with just 15 runs on the board, but that was the only joy for the bowling side as James Seymour (66 n.o.) and Kierran Voelkl (44 n.o.) combined for an unbroken 113 run second wicket partnership to carry their team to 1-128, and victory.
Round 3 gets underway at DXC Arena on Sunday at 2.00pm – for the winner it is a series victory.
The first two matches were contrasting with each side setting the pace early and holding the advantage throughout the contest. While that is often the way of T20 cricket, neither has shown an ability to wrest control from their opponents and the winner of Game 3 may just be the side that best turns the tide if the flow is against them.
Blaze looks more likely to be able to reverse the trend – they have a string of bowlers with variety and experience and batting that can shift from cruise mode to full throttle in the blink of an eye.
Storm are not without their own array of match winners and although batting is their strongest suite, there tends to be a haphazard approach when runs aren’t flowing as freely as they seem to want. While runs are clearly important, so is batting out the full 20 overs and the task of the Storm leadership group may just be to insist on a more measured approach when at the crease.
TIO Men’s Strike League – Rd 2 Result.
Desert Blaze 1-128 (17.3) (James Seymour 66 n.o., Kierran Voelkl 44 n.o.; Jackson Isakka 1-29) d Southern Storm 8-127 (20) (Jackson Isakka 44; Dean Fry 2-19, Aaron Summers 2-23)
Three match series: tied at 1-1.