The Knights face the added challenge of reconstructing their top order at a time when they are trying to find some form in the Sunfoil Series, but coach Sarel Cilliers is drawing confidence from the form of his replacements. With Gihahn Cloete and Rudi Second acquitting themselves well in the current series between South Africa A and the England Lions, and Reeza Hendricks on Twenty20 duty with the Proteas, the Knights will be without three key batsmen from their top four when they host the Dolphins at the Diamond Oval on Thursday. Lefa Mosena will take over the keeping gloves, and Cilliers has some obvious options for the other batting posts.
“Gerhardt Abrahams will come back into contention as an opener, and then there are opportunities for some players. A guy like Diego Rosier has been involved with the squad but hasn’t had an opportunity in the four-day format so far, and Patrick Botha and Michael Erlank have been doing really well for Free State,” he said. Erlank is the second highest run-scorer in the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup with 543 runs from six games, while Botha has notched up 316 runs at an average of 63. In the bowling department, Duanne Olivier remains injured but Dillon Du Preez has recovered and will challenge Corne Dry and Quinton Friend for a place in the line-up.
Dolphins coach Lance Klusener also has selection dilemmas as he takes into account the players not available to him, but also considers resting some players ahead of the resumption of the Momentum One-Day Cup next week. “It’s quite tough playing two weeks in a row and it looks like it’s going to be a hot week in Kimberley, so we might just freshen the side up a bit,” he said. Of more concern to Klusener is the ability of his bowlers to take 20 wickets in a match, and of his batsmen to score the sort of centuries that would put the team in a position to register a second victory in the campaign.
“We’ve scored hundreds in every game but they’re little hundreds. We set our standards quite high so we’re chasing five-wicket hauls and 150-plus scores from the top six,” he noted.
HEAD TO HEAD – Chevrolet Knights vs Dolphins
Matches Played 20
Dolphins Win 8
Knights Win 3