Highveld Lions coach Enoch Nkwe is expecting a tough One-Day Cup battle between two desperate sides when they host the Knights at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Saturday.
After the first three games of the 2019 One-Day Cup, neither team has managed to notch up a win. The Lions were beaten by the Dolphins, and then had their second match against the Warriors washed out in midweek. The Knights lost their opening game of the tournament to the Titans last weekend.
Nkwe, whose side have won all the domestic trophies on offer this season, admits it has not been an ideal start for his team.
‘Even though we got off the mark with those two points, it’s not ideal,’ said Nkwe. ‘The weather was frustrating on Wednesday, but that’s not something we can control. We’re going to have to now try and maximise our preparation for the next game.
‘There have been some challenges with outdoor facilities because of the amount of torrential rain in the Johannesburg area. That has made things trickier. I think it will mean we’ll have to be mentally ready and focus on that element a lot for Saturday.’
Nkwe believes the Knights will be equally determined to get off the mark in the competition.
‘The Knights started their season with that loss and I’m sure they’ll be eager to bounce back, but this one is in our backyard and we’ll be up for it,’ he added. ‘We want that win so that we can actually kick-start things and start building momentum.’
Knights coach Alan Kruger, meanwhile, was also looking forward to a better showing from his players, especially his bowlers, after they disappointed in their opening loss to the Titans.
‘We left a lot to be desired with the way we bowled,’ said Kruger. ‘We didn’t execute our skills and there’s no excuse for that. We weren’t on the money and it wasn’t good at all. It was a disappointing start for us.
‘But we have spoken to the players about it and they’re now looking forward to bouncing back in the next game.’
Kruger admits they are up against the best team in the country, but remains hopeful of producing a positive result on the Highveld.
‘They are the form team in the country, and what a chase they had against the Dolphins last weekend. It just shows the character of that side and how they will not go down without a fight,’ added Kruger. ‘We definitely know we’re going to have a big challenge on our hands at the weekend.’
Photo: Cricket South Africa