Knights aware that they need to put together a complete performance against revitalised Cobras
The VKB Knights are back at their Kimberley stronghold today, determined to undo the 38-run defeat that they endured at the hands of the runaway log-leading Multiply Titans in the middle of last month here at the Diamond Oval.
In that match half-centuries from Henry Davids and Aiden Markram helped the Titans reach an impressive 199/4 after being put in to bat, and the home side were never in the contest as they slumped to 161/7 in reply.
Today’s encounter against a revitalised WSB Cape Cobras side, starting at 6pm, will be no easy task, since Cobras coach Ashwell Prince has seen his side make a remarkable U-turn after a torrid start to the season. After losing their first three games, they stormed back to win the next three, before a washout against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins last Friday.
Now the coach of the visiting Western Cape franchise is looking forward to the final passage of the season knowing that destiny is in their own hands.
“That’s the most important thing,” Prince said. “When you’re trying to qualify for a something, you want things to be in your own hands and you don’t want to be depending on favours from other people.”
The hosts, on the other hand, find themselves in a precarious position after a mixture of losses and no-results has them in fourth place on the Ram Slam T20 Challenge log after seven games, with their Cape opponents second; but the pair are two of five teams separated by just four points heading into the final few games.
Neither of the teams going at it today at the Diamond Oval want to miss out on a semi-final berth, so fans can be sure there will be no holding back.
In the Knights’ last outing on Sunday, once again against the Titans, a battling, unbeaten Farhaan Behardien, played a pivotal role to help his team maintain their unbeaten run with a fighting five-wicket win in Port Elizabeth.
The Knights had won the toss in that match and batted first in the first game of a double-header. But they struggled to get going and eventually had to settle for a modest 133/7 thanks to David Miller’s 43 and 31 from Grant Mokoena.
Bowlers Aubrey Swanepoel (2/20), Duanne Olivier (1/31) and Shadley van Schalkwyk (1/30) then looked to have given them a chance by blowing away the Titans’ top order cheaply.
But it was not to be and they went down by five wickets in the last over after that spirited knock of 56 not out by Behardien.
Knight’s coach Nicky Boje is under no illusions about the position they find themselves in at this stage of the competition.
“There’s only big games ahead now and it’s definitely the business end of the competition, not just for us, but for everyone really, except for the Titans,” Boje said
“There’s quite a number of teams close to each other, so it’s going to be a massively important week.”
Besides the five-wicket reverse to the Titans on Sunday the Knights have not won any of their last three matches. One of these was also a narrow loss in the first round to the very same Cobras they face today, but Boje believes that the hosts are capable of turning things around.
“They (Cobras) have played well the last few games,” he added. “We had a close one against them in Cape Town and we feel we have what it takes to beat them. I think we’re still a work in progress, we’re getting quite a lot of stuff right, but we’re also doing a few things wrong.
“So we just need to make sure we put a complete performance together.”
Northern Cape Cricket’s CEO, Eugene Jacobs, told the DFA that this was a match not to be missed.
“We are very proud to host this Ram Slam T20 game between the VKB Knights and the WSB Cape Cobras at the Diamond Oval. It is great that spectators can see the likes of Hashim Amla, Vernon Philander and David Miller and other Proteas players in action right on their doorstep.”
Jacobs echoed the thoughts of the two coaches when he added: “This is going to be a very important game for both teams.”
He added that this type of entertainment doesn’t happen often in the city, and invited fans, supporters and spectators, wives, girlfriends and children to fill the Diamond Oval.
“Please let us fill the Diamond Oval for the Ram Slam T20 match between the Knights and the Cobras,” Jacobs said. “The action starts at 6pm,” he added.