Knights out to make amends against Wizards

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014
Ish Sodhi
MARK TAYLOR/ Fairfax NZ

BATTER UP: Ish Sodhi winds up to smash the ball.

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Northern Knights coach James Pamment is backing his troops to bounce back strongly in Christchurch tomorrow.

The Knights were thumped by the Canterbury Wizards at Hagley Oval on Wednesday, knocking them from top spot of the one-day standings and denying them a home major semifinal.

However, Pamment is confident of a greatly-improved showing when the two teams clash again at the same venue.

The visitors' batsmen failed horribly in the final Ford Trophy round robin match - falling to 40 for eight before recovering enough to reach 119 all out in the 45th over. That was never enough to test the Wizards, who got up with six wickets and more than 23 overs up their sleeves, to grab home advantage in the 1 v 2 match tomorrow.

Pamment said the maligned Hagley  Oval wicket wasn't to blame for the capitulation.

''It wasn't too bad at all - it was our application that was probably more in question than the surface,'' he said.

''I think five of our top seven players put their hands up and said they got a little bit ahead of themselves. They acknowledged that it wasn't that bad to bat on and their [Canterbury's] second innings showed that.''

Pamment said his chiefly young side were too attacking in their intent, after losing experienced skipper Daniel Flynn to the first ball of the match.

''They'll be better for that experience,'' Pamment assured.

''It's similar to how we perhaps didn't play the spin very well against Wellington in round six and we bounced back and played really well against Canterbury in round seven. There won't be too much scar tissue hanging around.

''It was a good learning opportunity - which obviously is often coach-speak for a really disappointing day. With the young group we've got, we've had some ups and downs this year, but we always seem to bounce back really well.''

The Knights have played the majority of their one-day campaign without Black Caps stars Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson, while test wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling missed the last three round-robin matches with a hamstring injury.

''At the start of the campaign, our goal was to make the top four,'' Pamment admitted.

''To make the top two is a bonus and we're going to approach this game in that manner.''

The victor tomorrow gets to host the Trophy final - in Mount Maunganui should the Knights triumph - but Pamment said probably the greatest benefit would be getting a week off, with the losers having to face the winner of the 3 v 4 match between the Auckland Aces and the Wellington Firebirds mid-week.

Black Caps legspinner Ish Sodhi was rested for Wednesday's clash but will resume his place in the starting XI tomorrow, while Pamment is optimistic Watling will come through fitness tests to take his place in the team too.

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- Waikato Times

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