VKB Knights coach Nicky Boje does not expect his players to get ahead of themselves as the new Sunfoil Series leaders prepare for their penultimate match of the season against the BuildNat Cape Cobras at Boland Park in Paarl starting on Thursday.

The Central franchise stormed to the top of the table by comfortably beating the Warriors last weekend.

They now head what is a six-way battle for the title in what is one of the most open four-day championship races in domestic cricket history.

Only 20 points separate the Knights from the last-placed bizhub Highveld Lions and Boje admits they have to be professional about the way they finish the season.

“We’ve got our processes in place, so we know what we need to do,” he said. “We’ve reflected on that last game and we know there’s still areas we can improve.

“So we just have to play the game, play the processes and make sure we are even better in this game.”

The Knights coach is also expecting all six teams to go for it in the final two rounds. “It’s an exciting time for the competition and it will be interesting to see what kind of wickets will be prepared. Everyone needs wins, so we can expect some exciting cricket,” Boje added.

Reflecting on last weekend’s 121-run triumph over the Warriors in Bloemfontein, Boje praised his players, saying it had given them a huge boost. “The guys played a very good game over the weekend,” he said. “There were some good individual contributions, but at the end of the day it was just a great team effort.

“Now we’re looking forward to going down to Paarl.”

But the Knights will have to do without Rilee Rossouw and Patrick Kruger, who are both unavailable. Shadley van Schalkwyk and Pite van Biljon are added to the squad.

Opponents the Cobras caused one of the upsets of the season when they stunned defending champions the Multiply Titans in Centurion last week.

Without a win at the half way stage of the competition, new coach Ashwell Prince’s men now have two in three rounds and a good win would throw the title race even more open. “We have our fate in our own hands,” said wicketkeeper Dane Vilas. “In our next game, against the Knights in Paarl, we are clashing with the log leaders. In our final game, we are playing against the team currently holding the number two spot.

“So if we can do well against both, we can move up the order a very long way and winning the title is not beyond us.”

Dane Paterson is available again for the Cobras after missing out on the Titans trip due to his maiden appearance for the Standard Bank Proteas.

Michael Owen Smith