Highveld Lions coach Enoch Nkwe is hoping to build on the solid start his team has made to the new 4-Day Domestic Series when they host the Cape Cobras in Johannesburg starting on Monday.
The round two encounter at the Wanderers Stadium comes after both teams won their opening encounters this past week – the hosts having upset the Warriors in Port Elizabeth, while the visitors overcame the Knights in Cape Town.
It was a first match in charge at franchise level for Nkwe, who replaced Geoffrey Toyana as coach in the winter, and the new man feels they now have a good foundation to build on.
‘It’s obviously a good feeling to start off on a good note personally, but this is more about the team,’ said Nkwe. ‘It’s about getting them to understand how we want to play going forward. So now we have a great base to build on.’
As for the result in the Eastern Cape, Nkwe said it left him proud of his players.
‘The team did well, it took us time to hit our straps, but their response was top notch,’ addedNkwe. ‘It’s not easy to win on the road in four-day cricket, so to get the victory, especially after losing time in the game, was an excellent effort. I’m very proud of them.’
Looking ahead to taking on the Cobras, he added: ‘They are a good team, very competitive. Playing them on the back of their start as well will be tough. But we’re at home and we need to make sure we capitalise on that.’
Opposite number Ashwell Prince was delighted with the start his side made over the past week but says they now need to remain focused for the next challenge.
‘It’s nice to start the season in a positive way and we did that well this week,’ said Prince. ‘It was a good win, a good result, so we’re happy with it.
‘But we have a new game now to look forward to against the Lions, who had a good game against the Warriors. Credit to them for going to PE and getting the win.’
Prince also praised the ground staff at Newlands for preparing a wicket that produced good cricket in their first match. Last year, results were a rarity and the Cobras coach says it was difficult to say whether things will improve this season based on the two wins from the opening round.
‘I don’t think you can read into one result, but the pitch was excellently prepared for the game and credit must go to our groundsman, Evan Flint. It was a very sporting pitch.’
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images