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Cricket | Ram Slam T20 Challenge

Knights, Dolphins gear up for crunch clash



The RAM SLAM T20 Challenge might still be in the early stages of the competition but the Chevrolet Knights and the Sunfoil Dolphins will be desperate to claim a win in their Wednesday fixture at Chevrolet Park with both teams yet to register a victory this season.

The Knights are currently on the bottom of the points table after losing their first two matches while the Dolphins have just two points after three games following a no-result and two losses.

Whoever loses Wednesday’s match will be rooted to the bottom of the table after three consecutive losses which might prove too much of a hurdle to try to overcome in the hunt for a playoff berth.

Knights coach Sarel Cilliers explained that losing, just like winning, can become a habit and that it was vital that his team turned around their poor form.

“Momentum is crucial in these types of tournaments. It is difficult to get out of a streak, whether you are winning or losing,” Cilliers said. “It is something that we need to address urgently. But it is not rocket science. We know what we need to fix and we need to be focused on getting things right,” Cilliers said.

“We need to get going (in the tournament) and find a way to gain momentum. If you have lost two games in a row it is not so much about whom you are playing in your next game, it is about getting aspects of your game right. The Dolphins have done well here recently and it will not be easy but it would be nice to get off the bottom of the log,” he added.

Lance Klusener, the Dolphins’ coach, played down his team’s two losses but agreed that the clash against the Knights was a crucial match for both teams. “It (losing two games) is not ideal but it is still relatively early in the competition,” said Klusener.

“It is a big game for everybody. But we do still have some time on our side to get back on the horse and start winning,” he explained.

Both teams have been afflicted by batting woes at the start of their innings. The Knights slumped to 38 for five in their 25-run defeat to the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras while the Dolphins battled to 37 for three off 10 overs on their way to a seven-run loss to the log-leading bizhub Highveld Lions while they also slipped to 37 for three against the Cobras.

Cilliers said that his team needed to make full use of their 20 overs while batting.

“We need to get a start with the bat and then extend that. Someone in the top four needs to put his hand up and bat through the innings. We got a good start in the first game but not in the second one. At the moment we are batting in two parts, the first 10 overs and then the next 10 overs but we need to put a 20-over performance together to put on a good score whether batting first or chasing a target,” he said.

Klusener would not be drawn on whether a change in his team’s batting order was needed after their lethargic starts but did concede that he would look at his playing XI.

“It is an option. We might have to make one or two changes but you normally have to play a bit differently in Bloemfontein so we will just have to see,” he said.

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