VKB Knights coach Nicky Boje has stressed the importance of every one of the five remaining Sunfoil Series matches ahead of the competition resumption this week.
The Central franchise host the Multiply Titans at the Mangaung Oval starting on Thursday in a match that brings together the top two in Bloemfontein.
The visitors are also the defending champions, while they are riding high after winning the first trophy on offer less than a month ago – the T20 Challenge crown.
“They are the leaders at the moment and they’ve won one competition already, so they’re a good side and they’ll also have some of their internationals come back into the frame, so it will be tough,” Boje explained. “But we’re focussed on our own game rather than theirs.”
The domestic season has been on a break since the 20-over tournament concluded on December 16.
But Boje says they are now ready for battle in a four-day competition that sees the top five separated by less than 10 points. “We’ve had two or three days of good preparation and the guys are looking forward to getting back on the field again,” Boje added.
“There’s a lot of sides right up there and in with a good chance. I think whoever plays the best cricket in the second round will win the competition.
“That’s basically what it’s come down to. Every game will be important starting with this first one against the Titans.”
The hosts are bolstered by the availability of captain Theunis de Bruyn after he was released from Standard Bank Proteas duty, while new signing Keegan Petersen is also in the squad.
The Titans are expected to have Chris Morris back after a lengthy injury. Tabraiz Shamsi could also feature after his Test debut during South Africa’s successful tour to Australia recently.
“We are spoiled for choice,” said captain Henry Davids. “We have a good top- middle- and lower order. But our intensity needs to be spot on.
“Usually the ground in Bloemfontein favours the spinner on the last day, but there has been a lot of rain around the past few weeks. We have all basis covered.”