Thursday, December 1, 2022

Cricket South Africa: Knights aim to open up title race

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The 4-Day Domestic Series returns for the second round from Monday when round six of the season resumes across the country.

All six teams are in action with one of the key games coming in Johannesburg where the top-of-the-table Imperial Lions host the third-placed VKB Knights.

In fact, all the games heading into the second part of the campaign take on extra significance, with a little over 30 points separating the top five – the defending champion Lions have 90.1 points compared to the 59.84 of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in fifth.

Victory for the 2018/19 winners will give them a huge advantage over the chasing pack and visiting coach Alan Kruger acknowledges that they need to do everything to try and win on the Highveld. “They are obviously flying at the moment, they’re on top of the log and so it makes this one a massive fixture in the context of the season,” he said. “It will be really tough to beat them.

“They are of course the champions and have played quite well so far. One of the things they have done really well is to get 20 wickets. It’s something we’re going to have to do as well. That really has been the difference between them and everyone else.”

Up the road at SuperSport Park in Centurion, it will be the team in fourth, the Momentum Multiply Titans, who lost for the first time this season in the previous round when they were thumped by the Lions, up against the second-placed Warriors.

Their coach, Mandla Mashimbyi, wants to put that result, in his first game in charge, behind them immediately.

“What happened at the Wanderers is old news now,” he said. “We’ve got to put that behind us quickly and it’s a big job ahead. We know where we let ourselves down and will be out to ensure that mistakes are not repeated.

“We’re also up against a side that is in good form themselves. But we’ve got to stick to our basics and make sure we execute our plans the way we want to.”

The final match-up of the round sees the Cobras welcome the Hollywoodbets Dolphins to the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn.

Although the hosts are yet to win a game, they have not been bad either and are still in touch with the pack. They are up against another winless side, although the visitors have not been anywhere near consistent this season.

But Cobras coach Ashwell Prince knows they have to remain focussed. “We’re there and there abouts,” he said. “It was a challenging first round and hopefully things will go a bit better in the second round.

“I keep repeating myself by saying this, but there are no easy games in the competition and the Dolphins will be no different. They’re also looking for a first win, you just have to try and stay ahead of the game and then try and drive the advantage home.”

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