• Hamza, Kruger ready for Kimberley showdown

    Knights coach Alan Kruger insists they are not yet pressing panic buttons in their pursuit of the One-Day Cup semi-finals despite a woeful start to the 2019-20 campaign.

    The Central Franchise have failed to win any of their first four games – they lost three and have one washout – ahead of their round five encounter and the halfway point of the first phase of the competition against the Cape Cobras in Kimberley on Saturday.

    It has not been good at all for the Knights, who have been heavily let down by their batsmen, with Kruger conceding they need to up their game.

    ‘The Knights do have a history of being slow starters,’ he stated. ‘We seem to be doing that far too often and then trying to come from the back when it is a little bit too late. So hopefully we can start now.

    ‘It certainly isn’t panic stations as yet. We’ve only played four matches so far and a lot can happen still considering the number of points that are still on offer.

    ‘But we just need to knuckle down, have more self-belief and play the way we know we can. I think if we can do that, the tables will turn for us.’

    There was at least a positive, if they want to look at it that way, when they collected their first points of the campaign, albeit via a rain-abandoned game against the Warriors in midweek.

    Their underlying problem, however, is plain for all to see – the batting, which has yielded scores of 115, 164 and 134 thus far.

    ‘I know it’s been difficult because you can’t really compete if you only make a score of 150,’ Kruger added. ‘That is just not good enough. The batsmen know that, and they have been doing some soul searching among themselves.

    ‘I also feel that each individual has to look within, they have to be open with each other and think collectively rather than individually. We are one team at the end of the day and we have got into the situation as a team.

    ‘The only way we’re going to get out of it is as a team. So that’s been the message and hopefully we can do the business in the next game.’

    Kruger and his team can take solace in the fact that they are up against a Cobras side showing plenty of inconsistency.

    The Cape side failed to chase 184 against the log-leading Dolphins in midweek and remain second bottom with eight points from six games, two more than the Knights.

    Their captain, Zubayr Hamza, admits they have to make drastic improvements in the games ahead.

    ‘Our batting unit simply did not come to the party in the last game,’ he said. ‘We have to go back to the drawing board to try and rectify some of the mistakes we are making.

    ‘We’re had extensive chats about game plans and execution, but we’re still not getting it right.’

    Photo: Gallo Images

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