at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – Warriors coach Piet Botha is optimistic his side can still qualify for the One-Day Cup play-offs despite being bottom of the log ahead of their showdown with second-last Knights at St George's, in Port Elizabeth, on Friday.
“I think it's tight enough from second to sixth place and there's a lot that can happen,” Botha said on Thursday.
“If you win two games back-to-back, it will put you right in the mix. For us I think four out of five will get us up there. We're probably under the most pressure and will need to win this one and hopefully we will.”
The Warriors would be hurting from their first round meeting with the Knights which set them on the back foot after they went down by 91 runs in Kimberley.
However, Botha said that match was history and the team had put the loss behind them a long time ago, even though everyone kept talking about it.
“For us every game since then has been a fresh start as per normal. This one will be the same,” he said.
“The Knights are a very good side, a very competitive unit and we'll treat them with that respect.
“Hopefully it's the first game we win out of many in the remaining five.”
Defeat to the Titans in their last game was by a narrow five-run margin, while they thumped defending champions the Cape Cobras by 76 runs in their previous game.
“We played well against the Cobras – we were very solid in most departments. Against the Titans, we were very competitive and could have won the game,” Botha added.
“There's a fine line between winning and losing sometimes and the fact that it could have gone either way is a positive.”
Knights coach Sarel Cilliers had a lot more to worry about in his squad after an injury-ravaged season was compounded further by a demoralising 10-wicket loss to the Cobras over the weekend.
They were dismissed for just 94 in 34.1 overs.
“When you're rolled over for 90, you want to play again as quickly as possible to get it behind you,” Cilliers said.
“We need to forget that game and focus on getting the basics right in this game. Everything else will take care of itself.”
The coach admitted batting had been their biggest problem, with injuries to Reeza Hendricks and Morne van Wyk not helping, although the latter may be fit to play.
Another key batsman, Dean Elgar, is away in Australia with the Proteas, while bowler Quinton Friend remained sidelined.
“We've been battling for form with the bat and we'll try and get that right in this game. It's a 50 overs contest and we need to bat 50 overs, it's as simple as that,” Cilliers said.
“It's now halfway through and the players need to step up.” – Sapa