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Three matches gone and three bad defeats - such has been the fate of the Knights in ongoing edition of theMomentum One Day Cup. The tournament is slowly but slowly slipping away from them. A couple of spots above them on the points table are the Warriors, who will be looking to get into the top half of the points table. We are inching towards halfway mark in the tournament and this match and both the sides would love to take momentum into the second half of the tournament by registering a win here. Even though the Knights are underdogs going into the fixture, they have the capability to topple any team on their day. The match between the two sides is to be played on 18th February at Diamond Oval, Kimberley.
Warriors have already played four matches in the tournament and even though they are not in the top-three positions as of now, they will get into a pretty good position if they win their upcoming match. They are coming off an excellent win over the Lions and will be looking to build on the momentum.
In the tournament so far, the Warriors have had a bumpy ride. They got off to a terrible start with a close defeat to the Cobras, but followed it up with a spectacular win over the Knights. In their next encounter they were defeated by the Titans as Titans chased down a pretty small total that the Warriors put on the board batting first. The Warriors, however, bounced back to the contention with a splendid win over Lions, who have arguably been of the bests sides of the tournament thus far.
It was all about Warriors' bowlers in the match that proved to be a rather low-scoring affair. Batting first, the Lions' batsmen failed to get going as Warriors stuck to accurate lines and concentrated lengths. Excellent fielding in the powerplay overs helped Warriors build pressure on the Lions and that resulted in two game-changing run-outs. Onke Nyaku, Lutho Sipmala, and Shaun Tait were the picks of their bowling. Nyaku picked up three wickets for 39 while Sipmala and Tait returned with a couple of wickets each.
With just 222 runs required to win, all the Warriors' batsmen needed to do was stay at the crease and their batsmen didn't disappoint. Ed Moore, Sine Queshile, and Yaseen Vallie did exceedingly well to deny Lions any opportunity to break through as Warriors marched home with more than six overs to spare and five wickets in hand. Queshile was the pick of their batsmen as he scored 66 off just 77 deliveries and drove the game away from the Lions. He was involved in a useful 114-run partnership for the second wicket with Edward Moore.
Before their last game, the Warriors had won only the games matches that were perceived easy. However, a win over Lions would have massively boosted their confidence. They are already a pretty stable side and beating them is not going to be an easy task for the Knights, who are still searching for their first win.
Playing 11 not yet available.
It is clearly apparent from the recent results that the Knights aren't in the kind of form their fans hope them to be in. They lost all the three matches they played in the tournament and now need a win to not to fall away from the rest of the pack. They are placed at the bottom of the table with zero points to their name. In addition to not having any point, they have an extremely poor net run-rate and that could be a cause of concern if things happen to get close for them towards the end of the league stage.
While the bowlers have done a decent job for the Knights thus far, their batting has been disappointing, to say the least. In the three matches gone so far, their scores read 115, 164, and 134 against the Dolphins, Warriors, and Dolphins respectively. Given the kind of form their batting is in, it is going to be remarkably difficult for the Knights to put up a challenging total against the Warriors.
Exactly opposite to how their batting has done, their bowling has done pretty well. They kept Dolphins to just 209 in their opening match of the tournament, dismissed Warriors completely for just 214, and made things difficult for Dolphins in the last match. While the Knights were never going to defend the total of 134, they did well to pick four Dolphin wickets before Dolphins knocked off the total with six wickets in hand.
Up until now, the Knights have displayed a listless performance. Their batsmen have done poorly, but on the basis of performance, they have one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament. They'd need their batsmen to complement their bowling and if they can do that, Warriors will have their work cut out.
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Considering that the Knights are still searching for their first win, this match is of massive importance for them. The Warriors are coming off an exceptional win over the Lions and will be brimming with confidence. Comparing the two teams on paper and on the basis of performances of the two sides in the tournament thus far, the Warriors seem to be favorites and betting on them would be the way to go.
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