A NEW coaching team, a new competition and the inclusion of two new players give the VKB Knights an opportunity to make a fresh start when they take on the Warriors in the first game of Sunday’s RAM SLAM T20 double-header at PPC Newlands.

With coach, Sarel Cilliers, and the Knights parting ways after last weekend’s Momentum One-Day Cup defeat to the bizhub Highveld Lions, a new coaching team of Nicky Boje and Allan Donald has brought a new approach ahead of the Twenty20 competition.

The franchise has also been bolstered by the arrival of Theunis de Bruyn and Ryan McLaren on loan, and are expecting to have West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell in their ranks for the majority of a tournament of which they have fond memories, having reached the Final last season.

“At least it’s a new competition,” said Boje. “Obviously the guys didn’t have a great time in the Momentum One-Day Cup, but I must say that everyone is looking forward to a new challenge and a new competition.

“The guys will take a lot of positives out of last season and what they’ve done, and then Allan Donald and I are bringing a lot of new ideas in, so hopefully the guys can just build on last year, and then when Andre Russell arrives we will have momentum and can keep playing good cricket.”

In contrast to the wave of change sweeping through the Knights, the Warriors will enter the game with a very similar side to the one which served them well in the first half of the 50-over competition.

Although the franchise explored the possibility of recruiting an overseas player and some local loans, none of their enquiries bore fruit.

“We’re happy with what we’ve got, and it’s an opportunity for our own players to develop their game and show what they’re capable of,” said coach, Malibongwe Maketa.

It helps that three wins out of five games has put them level with the Cobras on top of the Momentum One-Day Cup table, making Maketa’s chief goal to ensure a smooth transition between the formats.

“I’d be lying to say that confidence is not high at the moment,” he said. “We still appreciate the fact that it’s a totally different competition, but we’re in a good space nonetheless.

“We just need to up the intensity, and complement that with the execution that we have done so well in the Momentum One-Day Cup. It’s a shift of mindset. RAM SLAM is all about executing skills under pressure.”

Knights squad: Werner Coetsee (capt), Tumelo Bodibe, Patrick Botha, Theunis de Bruyn, Dillon du Preez, Reeza Hendricks, Ryan McLaren, Kagiso Mohale, Diego Rosier, Rudi Second (wk), Malusi Siboto, Shadley van Schalkwyk.

HEAD TO HEAD – Chevrolet Warriors v VKB Knights

Matches Played                22

Warriors Win                    10

Knights Win                     10

Tie                                    01

No Result                         01

Highest Score 152/9 (Kimberley 2010/2011) 205/5 (Johannesburg 2014/2015)
Lowest Score 65 (Port Elizabeth 2005/2006) 97/6 (Port Elizabeth 2008/2009)
Highest Individual Score 73* Jon-Jon Smuts (East London 2014/2015) 73* Ryan Bailey (East London 2009/2010)
Best bowling in a match 5/26 Arno Jacobs (Bloemfontein 2006/2007) 5/12 CJ de Villiers (Port Elizabeth 2008/2009)