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Cape Town – The South Africa Emerging XI are bracing themselves for a key double clash over the next three days, starting with a showdown against University Sports South Africa (USSA) on Thursday, followed by a meeting with Sri Lanka Emerging as their One-Day Triangular Series in Pretoria takes shape.

Coach Shukri Conrad’s side lost to the Asian side in the competition opener last Saturday, before bouncing back with a strong win over USSA to get their campaign going.

They are now searching for twin wins that will almost assure them of a spot in the final.

“We obviously didn’t start very well against Sri Lanka,” Conrad said. “I think with the way I am wanting this team to play, every now and then you are going to see a performance like that. That’s not to make excuses for our poor start. I think batting first in the winter here is also tough, while it was the first game of the series.

“But in saying all that, we came back well in match two against USSA. I’m wanting our batters to play a certain way, which is aggressively as we showed in the second match, and that will be the way forward. Every now and again we will have a bit of a blow out or two.”

The Sri Lankans currently head the table with nine points from two matches, the extra point being a bonus-point that helped them thump the South Africans first time around. Conrad’s side have five points from their win over USSA, who are pointless at the bottom.

“It’s a big weekend ahead of us,” the coach explained. “We play USSA tomorrow and then Sri Lanka on Saturday again. We want to obviously nail a spot for that final as soon as we can and hopefully we’ll be able to do that this weekend.”

Conrad also praised both teams, saying there were no pushovers in the tournament.

“The USSA side has some really good cricketers,” he added. “Speaking to coach Kruger van Wyk, they should have beaten the Sri Lankans after being in a very good position heading into those last few overs, so it’s not a case of underestimating any of the sides.

“We know that anyone can beat anyone, so we have to make sure we play the type of cricket I’m wanting us to play.”

SA Emerging squad: Tony de Zorzi (Titans), Janneman Malan (Cape Cobras), Raynard van Tonder (Knights), Matthew Breetzke (Warriors), Wandile Makwetu (Knights), Sinethemba Qeshile (Warriors), Sibonelo Makhanya (Dolphins), Marco Jansen (Knights), Tshepang Dithole (Highveld Lions), Tshepo Ndwandwa (SWD), Tladi Bokako (Cape Cobras), Nandre Burger (Cape Cobras), Kyle Simmonds (Cape Cobras), Jason Smith  (Cape Cobras), Dayyaan Galiem (Titans), Thando Ntini (Cape Cobras).