WSB Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince is taking plenty of heart from the start they have made to the Sunfoil Series season ahead of their showdown with the VKB Knights at the Recreation Ground in Oudtshoorn starting on Friday.
The Cape side have not been at their best in their two matches thus far, but have escaped with draws on each occasion, first against the same opponents they face this week and then against the Warriors.
They have already played the reigning champions this season in a match that saw them bowled out for 159, before a massive second-innings batting effort helped them save the game in Bloemfontein.
“I'm very encouraged by the way we’ve fought in the first two games,” coach Prince said. “As a team we haven’t been at our best yet, but we’ve managed to hang on to get two draws.
“On both occasions we’ve been the side under pressure and twice we’ve stood up.”
The Cobras boss now hopes the tables will be turned in their favour.
“I'm looking forward to being in a little bit of a different situation this time, maybe in a position where we can be the side putting the pressure on the opposition rather than the other way around,” Prince conceded.
He also admitted that they were keen to try and get a win and pull away from the other teams in what has become an early season log-jam after all six matches ended in draws thus far.
“Everyone will be looking at getting a tick in the win column and we’re no different,” he added. “We have the Knights this week after playing them in the first round, so there’s no secrets there.
“It’s just now about us trying to gain the upper hand in the match, trying to be the side that’s applying more pressure and that will give us the chance to look for the result come day four.”
Opposite number Nicky Boje admits that good batting wickets have been the main reason for no team winning a game so far this term.
“I think the wickets have been very good batting wickets in the first two rounds, so it has left everyone very close at this stage,” he explained. “So going into the last three games of this first part of the competition, I reckon we will start seeing some wins, hopefully we can get a few under our belt.”
Boje was also looking forward to their rare visit to the Recreation Ground.
“We looking forward to playing in Oudtshoorn,” he concluded. “I know they will look after us nicely, it’s also a beautiful ground and hopefully we can produce good cricket.”
The Cobras have lost Dane Paterson to the Standard Bank Proteas this week, with Michael Cohen, who has only played one previous first-class match, in contention to replace him.
The Knights have Kolpak player Marchant de Lange back in their squad and available for selection.
The Cobras squad is: Dane Piedt (capt), Michael Cohen, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Justin Ontong, Andrew Puttick, Kyle Simmonds, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams.
The Knights squad is: Pite van Biljon (capt), Ottneil Baartman, Mbulelo Budaza, Werner Coetsee, Marchant de Lange, Corne Dry, Patrick Kruger, Eddie Leie, David Miller, Karabo Mogotsi, Grant Mokoena, Keegan Petersen, Rudi Second.