DEDERANG captain Andrew Creamer believes the Demons must defend their total of 251 today if they want to play finals.
Dederang is languishing in seventh spot on the ladder with just two wins under its belt.
But the Demons are still well and truly in the finals mix, with the chance to jump as high as fourth if things go their way this weekend.
In the searing heat predicted, Dederang will look to defend a competitive 251 against second-placed Bethanga.
And although the Saints have won four of their opening five games, it’s not necessarily because of their batting.
Bethanga’s strength has been in its ability to take wickets, but the club is ranked second last in total runs scored.
And that’s left Creamer optimistic.
“Hopefully we’ve got enough,” Creamer said.
“I’d say we’d need to win at least three of our last four to comfortably make finals.
“Looking at their scores this season, they haven’t been batting too well.
“I think the outfield will be pretty quick this week, though, so we’ll need to get early wickets and bowl tight.”
In a boost, right-arm quick Kade Innes, who opened the bowling for the Demons in last year’s grand final, will take the new ball for the first time this season.
Work and family commitments kept him out of the team until after Christmas.
John Perri is also playing his first game since early October.
“We’ve lacked a bit of depth and experience all year, so it should help,” Creamer said.
“We’ve got Kade back to open the bowling but mind you, he’ll probably only last five overs in the heat.”
Cricket Albury-Wodonga officials are still weighing up whether day two will go ahead, due to the extreme heat.
Creamer said his troops wouldn’t be concerned, either way.
“Our boys are pretty relaxed at the best of times, so I don’t think the heat will worry them too much,” Creamer said.
“There’s not much difference between 42 and 40, is there?
“It’s still hot.”