By their own admission, the Chevrolet Knights and Chevrolet Warriors had largely forgettable campaigns in the 2012/13 Momentum One-Day Cup. Excluding their two head-to-head matches, the two franchises managed just three wins in the 50-over format and found themselves hit regularly by the injury curse.However, out of challenging times came some promising young talent, which both sides believe will stand them in good stead for the coming season. The Knights won both head-to-head matches last term and will play host for Saturday’s clash in Kimberley, but they will come up against a Warriors team buoyed by the return to fitness of key players.
“I’m pretty happy with the squad at our disposal mainly because we don’t have any injuries at this stage,” said Warriors coach Piet Botha. “Last season we missed Rusty Theron for the whole campaign, Davy Jacobs was injured for part of it, and we also have Wayne Parnell available for a few games now so we’re pretty well covered in terms of the balance of our side.”
Botha is also expecting big things from Vuyisa Makhaphela, a right-hand batsman who has graduated from Border, and Christiaan Jonker and Ayabulela Gqamane, who made impressive franchise debuts last season.
The Knights will be without captain Johan van der Wath for the first week of the Momentum One-Day Cup after he injured a calf muscle, while Michael Erlank is still recovering from a shoulder problem. Sarel Cilliers’ team have also lost Morne van Wyk to the Sunfoil Dolphins during the off-season, but the coach is optimistic about the replacements coming into his squad.
“If you look at the stats of a couple of guys who came up from the amateur set-up in Pite van Biljon, Rudi Second and Gihahn Cloete, as batters they’ve done really well – especially Rudi, who has a tremendous record at semi-professional level,” Cilliers said. “There’s no way that you can replace the experience and talent of guys like Morne, but it’s a new season for these guys and they are the ones who need to step in.”
Veteran allrounder Nicky Boje will take the reins in Van der Wath’s absence for Saturday’s match.
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