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Sport24.co.za | Knights’ Coetsee: To be the best you have to beat the best

Cape Town – Assistant coach Werner Coetsee admits that a good result against the Titans in the 4-Day Domestic Series next week will show more encouraging progress for the Knights in the 2019/20 season.

The clash at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein is between the top two sides in the competition thus far, with the visitors narrowly leading the way from the hosts by just under two points.

Both have enjoyed strong starts and are the only unbeaten teams after three rounds of action.

“We’re very excited for this game because you obviously want to test yourself against the best,” Coetsee explained. “These are the matches you really thrive on.

“You’re up against a tried and test franchise and we’re looking forward to it. We want to try and get our best team out there. We want to see our guys playing their best cricket against them.”

The Knights started the campaign with a win over the Warriors and followed that up with draws against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins and then the Imperial Lions this past week.

Reflecting on this past week’s encounter with the defending champions in Kimberley, Coetsee admitted that the wicket did not deteriorate enough for them to produce a result.

“Unfortunately, the wicket stayed very good throughout the game and that did not help anyone,” he added. “But we still managed a good performance as we have done in all the games so far.

“I’m very happy with the way the season has gone for us. I’m especially excited by the way some of the young players have adjusted, someone like Gerald Coetzee, who hasn’t played any long-format cricket in his life, and now he’s carrying the bowling attack.

“Raynard van Tonder is another. He’s opening the batting and he’s not even an opener, so we’re very excited with the way we’ve gone. Hopefully they can continue with the form against the Titans.”

Meanwhile, assistant coach of the Centurion-based side Mandla Mashimbyi was also content with the way their campaign had progressed, although he felt there was still a lot of room for improvement.  

“It was nice to see the guys show a bit of character in the last game (against the Warriors),” he said. “We had chances throughout that we didn’t take and those could have altered the way the game went.

“But we still showed fight and that’s a positive I suppose, the way we came back from some of the setbacks to play out a draw. You can’t fault the guys for effort and the way they went about doing things.

“But our game is certainly at a point where we still have improvements to be made so that come Monday when we come up against the number two team on the log, we’re ready for them.”

The Titans’ draw with the Warriors came after they fell into some early trouble on the final day, before Farhaan Behardien and captain Grant Thomson rescued them with a good partnership.

Their other results so far have been a win over the Dolphins and draw with the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

With this week’s matches being the last before a break in the season for the Mzansi Super League (MSL), Mashimbyi says a good finish is important.

“I’m a big believer in momentum and even though there is a gap coming, a win will give you a nice taste heading into the break,” he added. “That’s definitely something on our minds, to make sure we finish well.

“It’s been our best start in I can’t remember how many seasons, now we want to finish well.”

– Cricket SA

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