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Johannesburg – Cape Cobras coach Paul Adams said their performance in the first innings against Knights in the domestic series match, which starts in Bloemfontein on Thursday, is all important.
The series heads into the final round this week with two teams challenging for the title, and a third with an outside chance.
The Cobras, who are current log leaders and Highveld Lions would be going all out to beat the Knights and Warriors respectively.
“For us, we'll need to see what conditions get put out for us in Bloemfontein and assess which is the best way to go about our game,” Adams said.
The Cobras were sitting pretty at the top of the series log not too long ago, and seeming to be running away with the title.
But losses to the Lions and the Dolphins changed the dynamics of the title chase, leaving a last-round 'shoot-out'.
“There is still work to be done. We had that position earlier on, about three games ago. We were put into a position where we had to fight and push back hard, and that is the same mindset, which we want to go into this game with,” said Adams of their fortunes.
Adams said that the players have spoken about not getting distracted and taking their finger off the button, but to remain calm and focused on the job at hand.
“When this side gets zoned into their own game and what is required, they really start to play some good cricket,” stated Adams.
Meanwhile, the Knights had an horrendous start to their campaign with a number of games cancelled due to bad weather, but have since come back with a few victories under their belt.
“They've played some good cricket. Every one of their cricketers has contributed to their cause, especially their lower order, and with their all-rounders in the team,” said Adams.
Adams singled out guys like Werner Coetzee and Dillon du Preez as players that his team had to be wary of.
The Western Cape franchise will be without the services of Alistair Gray, who broke his arm at the start of the second innings against the Titans last week and right-arm off-break bowler, Dane Piedt, who is struggling with a finger injury.
Richard Levi will replace Gray at the top of the order.
Rory Kleinveldt, who has been released from National duty to play for his franchise, will come into the team at the expense of Charl Langeveldt.
In his first full season as head coach of the Cobras, Adams seems to be a tad nervous at the prospect of clinching his first trophy outright, after sharing the One-Day Cup with the Lions.
“It is a big moment, but the focus is on the players to make sure that they play in an environment where they can perform at their best. They have to be in a calm environment, I do not want to bring any of my nervousness to the table,” Adams said. – Sapa