Clock ticking on Knights and Lions
VKB Knights assistant coach Werner Coetsee is not yet willing to throw in the towel in their bid to reach the Momentum One-Day Cup play-offs and is counting on the new competition format as their hope of making it.
The Central franchise, who hosts the bizhub Highveld Lions in Bloemfontein on Saturday, are rooted to the bottom of the table, having failed to win any of their opening five games. Their only points are from the reverse fixture of the same game, which was abandoned due to rain in Johannesburg.
It means they have plenty of catching up to do with 10 points separating them and the last semi-final place, currently occupied by the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras on 12 points.
However, unlike in recent seasons, the rules of the competition this season have been altered to accommodate four teams in the play-offs and this is the potential silver lining for Coetsee.
“I think the format of the competition this season also gives us hope,” he said. “If it was the system they had been using in recent years then we would have been down and out at this stage.
“But we’re far from there as it stands and we still believe we can do it.
“There’s still some way to go and we just need one player to stand up when it counts. That’s how close it is for us.”
The Knights, though, will have to start winning immediately and the Mangaung Oval is the best place for this.
Coetsee says the mood in camp remains upbeat as they aim for a positive outcome against the second-bottom Lions.
“I must admit that the overall feeling in the camp remains positive,” he added. “The guys are still putting in a lot of hard work even though the log may not reflect that.
“It does look bad when you look at it, but we remain in a positive space. It was literally small things that cost us games recently and we know that a win is just there on the horizon.
“Hopefully it will happen this week, we’re confident of it and look forward to the match.”
Opponents the Lions lost a cliff-hanger on Thursday when they threw away a strong position in the final over to go down by three runs at the hands of the Cobras.
It has left them second last on the table with eight points and having played two more matches compared to the Knights.
Nonetheless, coach Enoch Nkwe remains upbeat. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have to pick up immediately and try to hit back,” he added. “The competition is so open.
“One day you can beat a team and the next day they can come back and do the same to you, so it’s really open and we cannot underestimate anyone.”