The Knights almost wrecked the Titans’ unbeaten record – coming closer than any other team – in their Ram Slam T20 Challenge match in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
But senior batsman and Protea star David Miller believes his team need greater mental sharpness as the tournament enters its pivotal stage this week.
It took a magnificent innings by Farhaan Behardien for the Titans to scrape home with just a ball to spare, meaning the Knights probably have to win two of their three games this week in order to be sure of a semifinal place.
The Knights host the Cape Cobras in Kimberley on Wednesday and the Dolphins in Bloemfontein on Friday, before ending the round-robin stage at the Wanderers on Sunday against the Highveld Lions.
“Obviously the Titans are a pretty strong team and the positive is that even though we didn’t get that many runs on the board we were able to get into a great position to win the match. But it was disappointing that we didn’t get over the line.
“There was the loss to the Cobras as well, obviously you can’t win every game, but if you can win one or two of those close matches then it really builds your confidence, especially heading into the play-offs. We have to rock up mentally, learn quickly and put all the talk into play,” Miller said on Monday at the handover of R500 000 worth of kit from New Balance to the children from Cricket South Africa’s regional performance centres and hubs that have been chosen to play for their provinces in national weeks.
The Knights lie fourth in the table, but they are just two points behind the second-placed Cobras.
“The table is really tight, there’s quite a bunfight in the middle, and there’s a quick turnaround with some hectic travel this week. So we’ll have a meeting to assess and learn from the last game and regroup. But we definitely have the players to at least scramble into fourth,” Miller said.
In terms of what the Knights need to improve, the hard-hitting left-hander said there was no escaping the fact that fielding needed to improve across the board and that they had to avoid deviating from their plans.
“The fielding definitely needs to improve in every team, there have been a lot of fumbles and dropped catches. It also comes down to mental preparation and the guys need to think a bit more before the game about the different scenarios they might find themselves in. As an individual you have to stay tuned in.
“We have clear plans and we must stick to that, even if sometimes it’s just not your day,” Miller said.