A full round round of fixtures will take place on Friday night that have the potential to put daylight between the top three and the chasing pack in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge.
The Knights hosts the Dolphins in Kimberley. They are the two sides fighting for third on the log, the final qualifying position. After suffering another defeat on Wednesday, this is a must-win for the visitors or they will give up too much ground to the Knights.
The Lions take on a rejuvenated Titans outfit in Potchefstroom. After a terrible start that ended the Titans title aspirations, they have found their form in the absence of pressure. They have nothing to lose, but the hosts will be desperate to win and stay in the race for top spot, and a guaranteed home final.
The Cape Cobras travel to what is expected to be a very wind Port Elizabeth. The Titans win on Wednesday has relegated the Warriors to rock bottom on the points table and this is a golden opportunity for the Cape Cobras to go further ahead at the summit of the log.
Players to Watch:
Rudi Second has been a quiet achiever for the Knights this campaign. He has chipped in with valuable thirties and forties, without producing a match winning innings. The flat pitch in Kimberley will give him the perfect opportunity to change that. Morne van Wyk broke the record for the highest 50-over domestic individual score when the Dolphins visited the Knights earlier this year. The captain needs to stand up and be counted again to resurrect his sides title defence.
The Titans change of fortunes has coincided with Henry Davids being relieved of the captaincy. He has had the chance to focus on his batting and is now the leading run-scorer in the competition. If runs continue to flow from his bat at the top of the order, the men from Pretoria will be difficult to stop. The Lions have relied on their bowlers to win them matches this year. Leg-spinner Eddie Leie has shown incredible control and his variations balance the attack perfectly. He could be the difference on what is usually a batsman’s paradise.
The Cape Cobras seem to have a galaxy of stars at their disposal, but Richard Levi is the one that has the greatest influence on the team. If he fires at the top of the order it gives the rest of the players confidence and the side goes on to win. Runs from the big man are therefore vital to a polish performance. The Warriors have become more competitive after a poor start to the competition. Yaseen Vallie is on loan from the Cape Cobras and he will be eager to show his worth to his full-time employers.
The Dolphins have lost the self-belief that made them champions last year. The Knights on the other hand are riding the crest of a wave and should use that momentum to rack up another victory.
The battle for Highveld supremacy is always tough to call. It’s even more difficult now that the Titans have found their feet. I have a feeling that the Pretoria-based side will end the competition with a string of wins, including this match.
The Cape Cobras are a well balanced team and seem to have too many match-winners to be caught out in Port Elizabeth.
Preview compiled by Gareth Stevens