Kimberley – Knights' coach Sarel Cilliers is determined to get their domestic four-day cricket campaign moving this week when they host the log-leading Highveld Lions in Kimberley from Thursday.
The Free Staters failed to register a victory in the opening two rounds of action, drawing against the Dolphins in a rain-affected match last week. Their opening game against the Warriors yielded the same result in East London.
In contrast, the Lions won their opening match of the season away to the Titans, one of just two matches that have had results from the six played overall. They then drew with the Warriors in Potchefstroom.
“The Lions are coming off a good display in Potch over the weekend, even though they didn't win,” Cilliers said.
“They've got guys that have been scoring a heap of runs and have some serious bowlers in Hardus 1/8Viljoen 3/8 and Chris Morris.
“So it's going to be a challenge, but Kimberley is such that if you put your mind to it with bat and ball, there's every chance you can succeed.”
The hosts do have a superior winning record Ä six victories to four losses Ä over their visitors, although the Knights' coach played down its significance.
“It's always difficult to call,” Cilliers said.
“We'll see how it goes, but we're up for the challenge and we are really marking to get some points on the board.”
He also conceded that their season was tough to assess so far, considering the outcomes of their two games.
“It's difficult to judge our progress because the first game against the Warriors, the wicket was very conducive to spin, and then in Pietermaritzburg there was a lot of rain with only 102
overs possible,” he said.
“So we're really looking forward to a game in Kimberley where it is likely that we will get some game time, and enough of it to push for a result.”
Lions' wicket-keeper Thami Tsolekile will miss the game due to injury, meaning Dominic Hendricks will take the gloves.
The match at the Diamond Oval is one of two taking place this week, with the other seeing the second-placed Cape Cobras, the side with the other win this season, travel to Port Elizabeth to play the Warriors.
It is a fixture the defending champions Cobras have dominated, looking at their 10-4 win-loss ratio.
“For us it's all about making sure we get through the right processes,” said Cobras' coach Paul Adams.
“We have a squad that's fairly experienced in four-day cricket now and we'll be hoping to continue building on the start we've made.
“It's a big weekend for the Cobras, this being the third game on the road and it's an important time to set up your season so you can make sure you go to the second phase strongly placed.”
Veteran Ashwell Prince will miss the game for the hosts after he was granted compassionate leave, while paceman Dane Paterson could make his Cobras debut after impressing for the provincial team. – Sapa