Ed Hawkins previews the series decider from Port of Spain on Sunday and expects a close affair on a difficult wicket
"What has served us well in this series is the expectation that the odds will flip flop. And we don’t see why we should change that strategy"
Trade Pakistan to [1.5]
West Indies v Pakistan
Sunday 2 April 17.30
TV: live on Sky Sports Mix
West Indies produced a consistent performance in game three and they are back in the hunt at 2-1. They owe a large debt of gratitude to Evin Lewis, though.
His assured 91 saw them home when it would have been no surprise had they suffered another collapse in the face of a tricky target. As it was, Lewis made it look a breeze with nonchalant hitting. He managed a whopping nine sixes and then boasted "if I get past the first five overs I will score." Good to know.
Lewis was set up for his charge by decent bowling. At 92 for two in the 13th Pakistan looked set for a big total but an unlikely combination of Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams and Carlos Brathwaite pinned the tourists down.
Pakistan will be kicking themselves for letting a series-winning chance slip through their fingers. They had battled back well from four for two to control the match in the first innings and, as we said, were eyeing 160-plus.
But they lost their way and the middle order which had got them out of the soup in the first two games didn't fire - Shoaib Malik suffered a rare failure while Sarfaraz Ahmed batting at No 7 is, frankly, one of the most ludicrous decisions you will ever see. He is their best batsman.
We are not surprised, though. Pakistan routinely make bonkers calls. Here's another: using Wahab Riaz, who had been fired up and potent in game two, as a third change in a small chase. By the time he came on the game was done.
This is a sticky wicket, that's for sure and it would be a surprise if more than 150 was busted. Certainly more than 160 looks very unlikely. The first dig scores so far read: 132-121-105-159. With this being the third match at the venue in four days another stodgy surface looks assured.
The market was impressed by West Indies' performance in game three. So the hosts are in to [1.84] and [2.16]. If you want a definition of 'overreaction', look no further.
West Indies should only be as short to beat themselves and they are not to be trusted at odds-on against any of their Big Boys brethren. We shouldn't forget that Pakistan have won six of the last seven meetings.
What has served us well in this series is the expectation that the odds will flip flop. And we don't see why we should change that strategy.
That is because we have a dodgy wicket and two dodgy batting sides. One minute they can look assured, the next they have lost two or three wickets.
It was Pakistan's turn to produce a maddening display. From two down early on they surrendered jolly status only to hit back to come short again. We will be betting on something similar and would be surprised if Pakistan don't come [1.5].
Lewis' strike rate of 178 and five-over boast make him appealing. Unfortunately, the [3.35] is too short. Samuels is an even shorter [3.25] and it would be fair to reckon he will settle at [4.0] or more.
Imad Wasim was promoted to No 3 last time. But he managed a duck. Pakistan strategy, eh? He is an early priced [6.0] -value if you think he will hold that spot. Of course Sarfaraz is the man who should be batting there. He is [4.6] but that price is terrible considering we've been getting 12/1 on Sportsbook. And if he's batting at No 7 again that's not enough.
Trade Pakistan from [2.16] to [1.5]
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017.
*Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting