The Knights and Warriors aim for victory in Bloem as they hunt Sunfoil Series log-leaders Dolphins.
The four-day match will start on Thursday at Mangaung Oval, with a victory for either side pushing them above log-leaders Dolphins who have a game in hand.
The defending champions, the Titans, threatens either sides ambition of going top as a victory for the Titans against the Cape Cobras in Centurion will drive them to the top with two games to play after this weekend.
It all makes for an exciting finish and Nicky Boje concedes it has got his players excited.
‘Everyone’s looking forward to it,’ he said. ‘Three massive games ahead, but we’re ready to play and hopefully do well.’
Boje stayed away from predictions regarding the remaining rounds but wants his side firmly focussed on the first job at hand, which is against the men from the Eastern Cape.
‘I think we’ll take it game-by-game,’ he added. ‘The important one is starting tomorrow against the Warriors. They beat us in the first round and we’ll have to play well to beat them here.
‘From there we’ll take it to the next one and then the next one. So we’ll focus on the first game starting tomorrow and hopefully do all the processes right.’
Boje is also intrigued at the tightness of the 2016-17 competition, which sees just under 20 points separating the top five.
‘It’s quite interesting to see how the season has progressed,’ he stated. ‘There’s usually one team that has won four games by this stage, but not this season, which does make for a close finish.’
Duanne Olivier’s return will be a boost for the Knights after he missed the last round of games to make his Proteas Test debut, while new Kolpak signee, Rilee Rossouw, is also available. David Miller will miss out due to his duties with the Proteas T20 squad.
Warriors coach Malibongwe Maketa is also thrilled to see his side in the mix in a competition they have recently struggled in.
‘We haven’t done well in the past and I think to still be in the running with three games to go, we’re really happy with that,’ was his assessment. ‘But there’s still a lot of cricket to be played and we need to win, that’s going to be the challenge for us now.
‘What’s good is that so many other teams are in a similar position, so we can expect to see some positive cricket. Every session and every ball is critical at this stage of the season.’
Maketa also thinks that two wins from the remaining three games may be enough for any team to win the title.
‘With three games to go now, we need to get two wins at least if not three, to try and stake a claim for the trophy. So we’re refreshed and ready to go,’ concluded Maketa, who has no fresh injuries to contend with.
Knights team: Kula Akhona, Mbulelo Budaza, Theunis de Bruyn, Marchant de Lange, Michael Erlank, Patrick Kruger, Luthando Mnyanda, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Rilee Rossouw, Rudi Second, Johan van Dyk.
Warriors team: Colin Ackermann, Andrew Birch, Gihahn Cloete, Gionne Koopman, Simon Harmer, Sisanda Magala, Eddie Moore, Lesiba Ngoepe, Anrich Nortje, Tladi Bokako, Yaseen Vallie, Basheer Walters, Somila Seyibokwe.