Cape Town - Knights coach Nicky Boje is hoping for more complete performances from their remaining Sunfoil Series matches as the reigning champions bid to rein in the leading Titans with victory over the Highveld Lions in Kimberley this week.
The Central Franchise are currently second on the standings with 97,38 points – 6,96 behind the table-toppers on 104,34 with three matches to play.
They begin a crucial round eight clash at the Diamond Oval from Thursday against a Lions (74.02) side that are bottom of the table and are the only side to have been beaten twice in the campaign.
“We’ve played some good cricket over the last two games, so the mood is quite upbeat,” Boje said. “They’re playing good cricket and we’ve seen in the first innings of matches how we’ve managed to put pressure on teams. But it’s now about doing that in both innings and trying to get the win.”
The Knights have dominated several games this season, but have not managed to be clinical enough in the second innings, meaning they have ended up drawing every game thus far.
But their draw count is not unusual with 18 out of the 21 matches in 2017/18 ending in the same way.
But Boje expects things could change in the closing weeks of the term and feels they will need two wins to stand a chance.
“I would probably say two wins (are needed) out of the three games, so that means everyone is still in the mix there,” he adds. “We play two of the sides that are close to the top as well, which are the Warriors and the Titans, so it will be interesting.
“But I think it’s important for now to stay focussed on this weekend coming up, make sure we execute well in each department and get the win we need.”
The Lions lost their first match after the limited-overs season, but bounced back well to secure a draw against the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras last time out.
Although their prospects of the title are slim – they will in all likelihood have to win all three games and hope others slip up – coach Geoffrey Toyana is remaining positive heading into round eight.
“We’ll take some confidence from that Cobras game in Paarl,” he said. “It was tough bowling in those conditions, but I thought we batted well and it’s something to build on now.
“It’s always tough going to Kimberley because you never sure what you’re going to get there. We’re also up against a tough team in the defending champions, but we’ve prepared well and look forward to it.”
The Knights squad is: Rudi Second (capt), Ottneil Baartman, Mbulelo Budaza, Werner Coetsee, Marchant de Lange, Leus du Plooy, Patrick Kruger, David Miller, Luthando Mnyanda, Grant Mokoena, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Pietersen, Shadley van Schalkwyk.