Knights, Cobras start from scratch in 50-over format

Theunis de Bruyn of the Knights

Theunis de Bruyn of the Knights

VKB KNIGHTS coach Nicky Boje concedes his new Sunfoil Series champions will be starting from scratch when they begin the Momentum One-Day Cup against the BuildNat Cape Cobras at the Mangaung Oval on Saturday.

The Central franchise ended years of waiting for a trophy when they won the four-day title last week, but the focus is now on 50-over cricket for both teams.

The Cobras endured a miserable first part to the 2016/17 campaign, before storming back since the turn of the year as they ended the first-class season in third place.

“It’s a totally new competition and even though we finished well last weekend, we have to start from scratch here,” Boje said ahead of the game. “Obviously there’s a bit more confidence now, so we’ll have to try and capitalise on that on Saturday.”

The Knights had a terrible time in the other white-ball competition this year, the T20 Challenge, which they ended up with the wooden spoon.

“You play every competition to try and win it, so that’s what we’ll be going out to do,” said Boje when reminded of their poor form in the 20-over game.

The Knights coach is expecting a tough challenge from the visitors in their opening assignment.
“They had a good finish to the Sunfoil Series and will be looking to carry that momentum forward,” he added. “They have some quality one-day players in their side, so we’ll have to look out for them and play good cricket.”

Opponents, the Cobras have come full circle in 2017.

Written off in the Sunfoil Series at the turn of the year – after failing to win any of their first five games – the Cape side replaced Paul Adams with Ashwell Prince and the former Proteas batsman has worked wonders so far.

They were the pick of the second round teams and came a credible third in the competition after winning three and drawing two of their last five games. The coach is now looking forward to an even playing field to start the one-day competition.

“It was good to fight back the way we did in the Sunfoil Series, that has helped us with the confidence and we’re looking forward to this new competition,” Prince said.

“We had a lot of ground to make up in the last competition, but here everyone is starting on zero points. We all have the same chance of getting through to the play-offs, so it’s all to play for.”

Assessing the Knights, he added: “They’ve had an up and down season if you look at it at as a whole because when it came to the T20 competition they finished last. So first and last, so I'm not sure what to expect. But they will have confidence coming into the tournament, so we can expect a good game.”

Standard Bank Proteas seamer Vernon Philander is available for the Cobras, while limited-overs specialist Richard Levi also comes into the mix.

HEAD TO HEAD – VKB Knights v BuildNat Cape Cobras

Matches Played 23
Knights Win 08
Cobras Win 13
No Result 02