By Nick Creely
There were three sparkling centuries on a night where runs rained from the bat in Round 3 of the Dandenong District Twenty20 competition on Tuesday 19 November.
Played in perfect weather – a far cry from a rain-interrupted season so far – the batsmen enjoyed the sunshine to take full toll.
Down at Perc Allison Oval, Heinz Southern Districts skipper Kaushalya Weeraratne crunched an unbeaten 101 as the Cobras went to town on the home side, Beaconsfield.
Batting first, the Cobras were in a bit of strife early, but Weeraratne saved the day, with the Frankston Peninsula marquee man in the Vic Super Slam continuing his white ball dominance by dispatching the ball to all parts as his side struck an imposing 3/175.
The Tigers stood little chance after quickly finding themselves 3/11, and scrambled their way to 7/96, with Jack Benbow leading the way with 37.
The impressive Chandima Abeykoon was excellent with the ball, ending with figures of 3/14, while Tharanga Watterugedara (2/18) and Michael Davies (2/26) caused issues with the new ball.
It was a similar story down at Max Pawsey Reserve as Fountain Gate played host to the powerful Springvale South.
The Gators – who have perhaps unluckily been drawn against Berwick, and now the Bloods, in this tournament – sent the visitors in to bat, where it was all about overseas star Ateeq Javid.
Javid – who crunched 88 in his debut Twenty20 for the club against Berwick weeks earlier – was merciless against the Turf 3 outfit, belting 108 off 53 balls, a knock glittered with 17 boundaries, including five sixes.
The Leicestershire top-order batsman put on 106-runs for the first wicket with Akshay Ballal (32), setting up a grand total of 3/213 off its 20 overs. Liam Hamilton also carved up the Gators to finish unbeaten on 40 off just 21 balls to help set the imposing chase.
Javid has now made 365 runs at 91.3 across all formats in the early stages of the season and continues to build into a potentially record-breaking 2019/20 campaign.
While the home side battled hard to make a fist of it, with skipper Stephen White (24) crunching five boundaries, the likes of Kallan Braid-Ball (3/15), Akshay Ballal (2/9) and Brayden Sharp (2/6) helped bundled the Gators out for 74 in the 19th over.
Cranbourne captain-coach Sandun Dias was the third star batsman to take the night by storm, registering another century, this time against Parkmore Pirates to lead his side to victory.
The Pirates scrambled to 8/134 after a strong hand from skipper Anurudhdha Fonseka (44 not out), but the likes of Tim Fathers (2/29) and Jordan Margenberg (3/22) helped make the chase a manageable one.
Despite an early wicket, the Eagles – through Dias – dominated, running down the total with four overs to spare and six wickets left in the shed.
The skipper was merciless, belting 100 not out – his second ton in just four digs in the DDCA – in another sign that he means serious business in both the regular season and the shortened format.
And in another fascinating match between two quality Turf 1 outfits, Narre South got the points against Hallam Kalora Park in a high-quality affair at Strathaird.
The Hawks were sent in, but Ben Hillard fell first ball courtesy of Tim Phillips (1/24), before ex-Victorian and Lion marquee Jayde Herrick struck in his first over to trap Dulaj Ranathunga in front.
But Hallam boy Jordan Hammond, in the middle of his first XI debut for Casey-South Melbourne, was at his devastating best and the top-of-the-order, helping the Hawks recover with a blistering 45-ball 61.
Jagveer Hayer and Kevin Kean also contributed strongly with 30 and 20 respectively, helping the Hawks to 6/140.
Herrick showed his class to be the pick of the bowlers with 2/25 off his four overs.
The Lions took the game on as they often do in the shortest format, and it paid off, with opener Rumesh Rangana crunching 56 not out and Jersey international Jonty Jenner showcasing his class with 54 from 34 balls as the home side cruised to victory with seven wickets left and 25 balls to spare.
Herrick also chimed in with a quick-fire 17 from 12 balls.
In the remaining matches, 20 wickets fell at Fotheringham Reserve, but St Mary’s (114) got the points against Silverton (79), with Rob Peat starring with 38 and 2/5, while Parkfield (1/78) eased past Springvale (77) in a dominant effort.