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Knights on a quest

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Central franchise team out to fight back after disappointing performance in opening encounter

ALL OUT ACTION: Rudi Second of the VKB Knights will be switched on and ready - along with the rest of his teammates - to take the fight to the visiting Warriors tonight at the Diamond Oval. Picture: Frikkie Kaap BackpagePix

Knights coach Alan Kruger has lamented the fact that his team is playing catch-up cricket again as they prepare to welcome the Warriors for their round two CSA T20 Challenge outing at the Diamond Oval today.

The hosts suffered defeat to the Dolphins in their competition opener over the weekend, a match in which they were mainly poor at Kingsmead. They were restricted to 133/8 after throwing away a good start and then went on to lose by four wickets with nine deliveries to spare.

“We were disappointed in losing our first T20 march against the Dolphins on Saturday, but there were a lot of positives that came out of the game,” Kruger told the DFA. “We have since worked on rectifying the mistakes, as we wanted to start this campaign on a positive note, but as I said this was our first T20 for this season.

“Once again we are playing catch-up and we’ll have to try our best to hit back against the Warriors,” Kruger bemoaned. “I wasn’t too unhappy with the way we started against the Dolphins, but then we lost our way quite badly.

“We have a few things we need to address, like our middle-order batting and our running between the wickets. That was disappointing for me; hopefully, we’ll learn from it in our next game.”

The Warriors, meanwhile, are coming off a win after they beat the Titans in their first match and have generally been a better-than-average side in white-ball cricket over the past few years.

Kruger said that he was aware of the danger posed by the Eastern Cape team. “The Warriors are a good T20 outfit with explosive batters up front that can really cause damage, so our bowlers will have to strike early on. Our players are all very positive and geared up for this series and want to do well.

“The Warriors play white-ball cricket very well,” Kruger added. “They have some good experience and we know exactly the dangers they pose. We’ll have to be ready for them or they will punish us.”

The Knights coach also said that it would boost the team tremendously if the Kimberley supporters turned out in their numbers tonight to support the Knights saying: “We enjoy playing in Kimberley, at the Diamond Oval in front of the crowd.”

Jon-Jon Smuts, captain of the Eastern Cape side, admits that his side was a bit lucky to have won their first game. Chasing a massive 216/5 – revised to 200 in 18 overs – against a side that was fresh from winning the 50-over Momentum One-Day competition, they reached 60/0 in six when rain forced an early abandonment.

They won by four runs on the DLS Method, with the skipper happy to have taken the points.

Looking ahead to the trip to the Northern Cape, the captain hoped they would be able to get more points on the road early on in the 20-over competition.

“It a tough competition and there’s a stage when we’re away for 10 days, so it will be difficult, but also exciting at the same time,” he added. “Hopefully we can get some good momentum on the road.

“But every team is a good team, so you have to get your basics right and make sure you rock up for each game.”

The CEO of Northern Cape Cricket, Eugene Jacobs said that hosting franchise cricket at the Diamond Oval was always going to be a thrill for the crowds, and he called on supporters to fill up the stadium to support the local stars in this, the first of three CSA T20 Challenge fixtures scheduled for the Diamond Oval.

Tonight’s match starts at 6pm.