BLOEMFONTEIN – VKB Knights assistant coach Werner Coetsee admits that they are still lucky to be in Momentum One-Day Cup play-off contention and remains hopeful that the bonus-point win they need over the Multiply Titans in Bloemfontein on Saturday will be enough to see them progress.
The Central Franchise failed to win any of their first seven games, due to luck, some poor cricket and sometimes the weather as they sat bottom of the table for nearly three-quarters of the season.
However, back-to-back bonus-point wins in their next two games saw them come alive, although that hope was shot down when they lost to the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras this week.
Despite the loss, they are still in the mix in fifth place, but need to win with a bonus point at the Mangaung Oval and hope the Warriors lose to get through.
“It’s the last game of the round robin and we’re still in it, which is great considering that results have not gone for us since the start,” coach Coetsee said. “So to still be sitting here feeling ready for tomorrow, it gives us a lot of hope.
“We had a nice chat after the game and the guys know things didn’t go as planned, but they still know everything is on the cards for tomorrow.”
Defeat in midweek came after a poor batting display that saw them bowled out before their overs had expired in Cape Town.
“It was really disappointing especially after we played such good cricket last weekend,” Coetsee said. “Our batting was disappointing and their senior bowlers Rory (Kleinveldt) and Vernon (Philander) exploited the conditions very well. We just couldn’t recover from that.”
Regular season winners the Titans, meanwhile, fielded a slightly weakened team in their midweek loss to the bizhub Highveld Lions and Coetsee is counting on them continuing that strategy for the game in the Free State.
“The Titans are always a good side, but the fact that they rested many of their players in recent games is another factor that leaves us quietly confident,” he added. “We just feel if we can do what we did last weekend, we will be there in the semis come tomorrow night.”
The Titans sealed their place as log winners a couple of games ago, meaning they have had the chance to give some of their fringe players a chance.
However, stand-in captain Dean Elgar was still disappointed to have been beaten so narrowly by the Lions this week.
“It still doesn’t take away the fact that a loss does hurt,” he responded when asked about the loss meaning little in terms of the table. “We gave a lot of our more inexperienced players that hadn’t been given a chance earlier in the season an opportunity, so it was a good learning curve for them.
“We can take a lot out of this game and hopefully be better for it in the future.”
As for the derby defeat itself, Elgar felt they should have not allowed the game to go so deep. “It was disappointing to lose against the Lions,” he added. “They gave us a good challenge. We got ourselves into great positions many a time and we could have sealed the deal way before the 50th over mark.”
Fans are urged to head to the stadium for the final set of games as none of the three matches on Saturday will be televised.
The Knights squad is: To be confirmed.
The Titans squad is: Farhaan Behardien, Corbin Bosch, Theunis de Bruyn, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar (capt), Heino Kuhn, Gregory Mahlokwana, Rivaldo Moonsamy, Tshepo Moreki, Marcello Piedt, Kabelo Sekhukhune, Grant Thomson, Jonathan Vandiar.
African News Agency (ANA)