Lions coach Geoff Toyana believes his side’s Ram Slam T20 match against the Knights on Wednesday will define their campaign.
The Lions will look to their batsmen to provide the ’20 or 30 per cent’ that Toyana believes they have been missing in the competition so far when they host the Knights at Senwes Park.
With the Lions currently lying in fourth place, four points behind the third-placed Cobras but with a game in hand, Toyana says the game against the Knights ‘will define where we go in the competition’.
He also feels that the Lions are yet to play their perfect game, but knows that the batsmen will need to improve their performances if they are going to achieve that.
‘Our bowlers in all the games – especially the games that we’ve won – have done really well for us. The two spinners, in my opinion, are the best two spinners in the country in T20 cricket at the moment, and Hardus [Viljoen] has also bowled well,’ said Toyana.
‘I just hope we can have that great day with the bat. We’ve spoken about playing cricket without any fear, and that’s basically where we’re going. It’s a young batting order – Alviro [Petersen] and Thami [Tsolekile] are the only ones who have played a lot of games. The key is for the others to learn quickly.’
The Lions have named the same squad that beat the Sunfoil Dolphins in a close affair on Sunday, and can fancy their chances against a Knights outfit that are still to get off the mark in the competition.
With a new coaching team taking charge at the start of the tournament, there was hope that a fresh broom might improve the fortunes of the Knights, but Sunday’s defeat to the Cobras made it six losses from six games.
‘It’s been a tough one for us,’ said captain Werner Coetsee. ‘There have been a number of chances for us to get our first win but we haven’t been able to get over the line. It’s been frustrating but the guys have been good – there hasn’t been a lot of negativity.’
The one hope for the Knights, who have retained an unchanged squad as they continue a lengthy trip around the country that takes in three away games, is that they can shed their inhibitions now that they only have pride to play for.
‘Hopefully we can, because that’s the situation we’re in,’ said Coetsee. ‘A little bit more freedom might help, and the Twenty20 format is built for cricket like that.’
The game gets underway at 6pm, and will be broadcast live on SuperSport 2.
Kieron Pollard, all-rounder of the defending champions the Cape Cobras, won’t take part in the remainder of the domestic T20-showpiece due to an injury to his right knee.
He will fly back to the Caribbean on Wednesday.
The injury occurred while the 28-year Pollard was fielding in the T20 match against the Knights at Boland Park in Paarl on Sunday.