Cape Town - Successive defeats have left the Cape Cobras in the unfamiliar position of last on the Sunfoil Series table and coach Paul Adams is desperate for their batting to fire when they welcome the Highveld Lions to Boland Park in Paarl for round three action on Thursday.
Out of their four innings in the middle, two have yielded sub-150 scores and this has undoubtedly been the Achilles’ heel of the usually assured Cape side.
With Proteas star JP Duminy back to bolster their ranks, Adams is hoping they can turn the corner quickly against a visiting side that has won their first two games to sit second on the table.
"I think we really just need to knuckle down as a team," the coach said. "In both games, it was our first innings batting that let us down. We just have to get back into the old school way of batting and spending time at the crease."
Regarding the return of out-of-form Duminy, Adams added: "It's important what sort of mindset JP will bring to the game. He's on a journey and the Cobras themselves are on a journey. It's important just for me to marry that up."
Tshepo Moreki and Robin Peterson are set to return to the starting XI, alongside Duminy, while Siya Simetu, Lesiba Ngoepe and Keegan Petersen will all drop out. Opener Simon Khomari, who scored 16 and 25 on debut, will keep his place.
The Lions are still without the experienced duo of Thami Tsolekile and Alviro Petersen, who are injured, but leading wicket-taker in the competition, Hardus Viljoen, is back after being released from a Proteas SOS call.
With rookies like Yassar Cook, Nicky van den Bergh and Nono Pongolo shining on debut in the first few rounds, it has left Geoffrey Toyana a happy coach. "It's a fairly young team that we've brought to Cape Town," said Toyana. "We've played well in these two games and it is quite pleasing that we're finding our way. If you look at our side from last year and this year, it's a big difference."
Qaasim Adams has returned to parent franchise, the Unlimited Titans, after he was recalled, with Shaylen Pillay in contention to replace him. Toyana also confirmed that Eddie Leie may return for Pongolo, depending on the pitch in Paarl.