With two rounds to play the permutations are endless but throw rain into the equation and it's fair to say the front runners in the Plunket Shield cricket competition cannot be smug about things.
Sure, it's cushy to be in the position of the Wellington Firebirds perched on the top rung, 12 points adrift of the Central Districts Stags, in trying to claim first-class glory in the final format of the men's domestic competition.
But the prudent know it only takes a draw, never mind a loss or a rain-abandoned affair, for teams to fancy their chances of pulling off a Houdini act.
Having drawn with the Firebirds at the Basin Reserve this week, the William Young-captained CD side host the Canterbury Kings at McLean Park, Napier, in the penultimate round of the red-ball competition from tomorrow.
"I think they have a couple of hard games and so do we but the reality is if we go from here and win two from two then the onus is on them because we'll have the freedom to play our own game and not worry about them," says CD spinner Ajaz Patel after missing the previous round against Wellington because he was called up to represent New Zealand A in the two-day warm-up games against England at Seddon Park, Hamilton, last week.
The 28-year-old, who claimed 13th first-class wickets a fortnight ago, says after the Firebirds play the Northern Districts Knights at the Basin Reserve from tomorrow they will have to face the Auckland Aces at the Eden Park outer oval in the final round from April 2.
"Auckland are still in third position so they'll be fighting for something as well," he says of the Aces who face the Otago Volts in Dunedin this round.
By no means do the Heinrich Malan-coached Stags think that the last-placed Cantabrians will be a walk through McLean Park from tomorrow.
The visitors are coming off an acrimonious affair against the Aces amid assertions from the Aucklanders that the Mainpower Oval wicket was unfit to play on from day one.
The game was abandoned at Rangiora, on the outskirts of Christchurch, amid retort from the Kings that the boys from the Big Smoke were "batting negatively" after they had accumulated 485-6 declared before the umpires agreed with the struggling Aces batsmen that player safety was paramount.
The smarting Cantabrians will arrive here with a point to prove, especially their three batsmen - Ken McLure had carved up 210 runs, wicketkeeper Cameron Fletcher made his debut first-class century (100 not out) and Cole McConchie scored 99 runs.
Needless to say, world-class head groundsman Phil Stoyanoff will provide another wicket that will be a far cry from the Mainpower Oval one.
"It was a good cricketing wicket and Phil's always been on to it. I've played quite a few four dayers here now and they've always produced something up front and then flattened out at some stage and then start taking some turn as well.
"Ideally it'll be much the same so we can capitalise on whatever they are on the day."
Patel says the Kings have some quality players who, if they fire in unison, can beat any team.
"They are missing some of their Black Caps in the test squad but, in saying that, they have some good players so you just have to treat them with some respect in the way you go about your cricket and never undervalue the opposition."
The slow left-arm orthodox bowler, who is leading the most wickets race in the format with 35 scalps, says it's imperative for CD to keep doing what they do best all of this summer.
Patel says it was a little disappointing not to come away with a win but the way the Stags fought back to draw the match was a great snapshot of their character and resolve.
"Obviously Wellington batted quite well on that first day after losing a few early wickets so to kind of come back from that position I think the boys did really well and they showed a lot of character with the bat at the back end with Bevan [Small] and Felix [Murray] on debut," he says of No 9 Small and No 10 Murray who were 20 and 12 not out, respectively.
Complacency isn't going to kick in against Canterbury who have won just one game, drawn two and lost five.
"That can be quite a dangerous combination and so you've got to make sure you still value every game and every session and never really get too ahead of ourselves."
Patel reckons that's something CD have been mindful of this entire summer so tomorrow will be no different.
Black Caps opening batsman George Worker, who also represented New Zealand A last week but withdrew because of injury, is likely to return to the fold with test seamer Doug Bracewell.
CD under-21 debutants Murray drops out but batsman Willem Ludick will remain in the squad of 13.
Patel says the NZ A stint was a great experience despite not taking any wickets.
"In terms of the surface, it wasn't offering as much spin as I would have liked but, in saying that, I felt I bowled quite well in restricting the England batters by keeping them at three under in 20 overs in each game," he says.
No doubt he can endorse there's little margin for error against international-calibre batsmen.
"It was positive in my respect that I was able to tie them down and put some pressure from one end while we attacked from the other."
Patel says he'll cherish any other opportunity to play against other international sides.
"Personally, it's going to be a big winter for me to work on a few things and getting into upskilling my game a bit more and try to push for more coming fields," he says.