Ed Hawkins previews the Caribbean Premier League matches on Wednesday from Queen's Park Oval in the T20 tournament...
"Given Zouks' fight - and Andy Flower's discipline beginning to have impact - it's reasonable to reckon they can trade as jollies with the toss in their favour"
St Lucia Zouks v Trinbago Knight Riders
Wednesday 26 August 15:00
TV: live on Betfair Video
The Zouks are the surprise package of the CPL, recording three wins from four, and two more wins will guarantee a play-off spot. Quite a turnaround for a team which has become the laughing stock of the competition.
Last time out they beat Guyana Amazon Warriors so they have hardly feasted on the weak. The stars have been unlikely - Roston Chase has bossed with the bat and Scott Kuggeleijn has a golden arm. He has 10 wickets already.
Possible XI Charles, Melius, Deyal, Chase, Zadran, Nabi, Glenn, Sammy, Kuggeleijn, Williams, C Holder
Trinbago are 100% so far with three convincing wins over Guyana, Tridents and the Tallawahs. They look to be the best-balanced team in the tournament and it would be a major surprise if they failed to contest the final.
After Sunil Narine dominated early on, Colin Munro, Daren Bravo and Kieron Pollard have found form. Narine's return to a spinner of significant threat is also welcome.
Possible XI Simmons, Narine, Muinro, DM Bravo, Pollard, Seifert, DJ Bravo, Pierre, A Khan, Seales, Fawad
Last year's head-to-heads
Zouks 99-4 (Kan 1-19) v TKR no result
TKR 168-3 (Simmons 63) chased 167-5 (Cornwall 33, Pollard 1-9)
Got to chase
The last 15 first-innings scores at the Queen's Park Oval (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second, most recent first) read: 108-2/151-2/134-2/185-1/167-2/191-1/152-1/180-1/170-1/203-1/223-2/195-1/158-2/152-2/156-2/147-2/118-2. The average is 170, although Guyana's collapse against Tallawahs on Tuesday will not convince many that the pitch is good for batting. More importantly, there's a big toss bias emerging. Chasing is the way to go.
The tests keep coming for Zouks. Against Guyana we suggested that would be the game when they were exposed. But no. So they go again against Trinbago.
There is agreement on the match odds market that the gulf will be too great. Zouks are [2.60] with TKR [1.61]. Given Zouks' fight - and Andy Flower's discipline beginning to have impact - it's reasonable to reckon they can trade as jollies with the toss in their favour.
We tipped Mark Deyal at 20s for top Zouks bat last time. He didn't win but Sportsbook have cut the number three to 9/2. No play.
Fawad Ahmed has had a quiet time so far but Sportsbook's 10/3 that he finishes as TKR top wicket-taker fits the bill on win rate. For the Zouks it is a surprise to see Kuggeleijn as big as 4/1.
Barbados Tridents v Jamaica Tallawahs
Wednesday 26 August 22:30
TV: live on Betfair Video
Tridents, the holders, suffered their third defeat in four on Tuesday against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots to join them at the foot of the table. No-one was surprised.
Tridents have a decent squad but don't know how best to utilise their players. Hayden Walsh, last year's top wicket-taker, only bowled two overs. Rashid Khan, wasted so far with the bat, was promoted to number seven but arguably it's not high enough. Until they play to their strengths, Tridents are at severe risk of missing the play-offs.
Possible XI Fletcher, Hope, Mayers, Holder, Anderson, Nurse, Rashid, Reifer, Santner, Young, Walsh
Out of the mire
The Tallawahs condemned Guyana to another defeat and, importantly, held their nerve in another nerve-jangling chase.
After Guyana defended 118 - the lowest total batting first in CPL to produce a win - the Warriors set about beating their own record after posting only 108. Tallawahs were in trouble at 62 for five. But Andre Russell and Nkrumah Bonner got them home.
Possible XI Walton, Phillips, Blackwood, Ali, Powell, Bonner, Russell, Brathwaite, Lamichhane, Edwards, Mujeeb
Last year's head-to-heads
JT 127 (Phillips 41, Lamichhane 2-17) defended Tridents 122-9 (Charles 31)
JT 145-6 (Walton 51*) chased Tridents 140-9 (Nurse 37)
Tallawahs' weakness is bigger
Tridents are [2.0] with Tallawahs [1.94]. It seems fair that the market can't split the two. Tridents, as discussed, are engaged in some sort of experiment of self-harm while Tallawahs can't play spin.
Still, the latter is a more significant issue. Tridents can solve their problems with clear rational thought. This battle is the epitome of brains v brawn. If Tridents engage theirs, they should win. Chasing will help, too.
Glenn Phillips is 16/5 for top Tallawahs bat. He has a 44% win rate on top bat in the last three years. Sportsbook's 16/5 gives him a 24% chance.
At some stage Rashid is going to bat in the top three in his career consistently. And at some stage you won't believe you could have once backed him at 66/1 for top bat.
Are Zouks the real deal and what's wrong with Warriors? This week on Cricket...Only Bettor
Trade Zouks chasing [2.60] to [1.80]
Back Tridents chasing [2.00] (3pts)
Back Rashid top Tridents bat 66/1 Sportsbook (0.5pts)
Back Phillips top Tallawahs bat 16/5 Sportsbook (2pts)