Ed Hawkins is siding with the outsiders at Warner Park in the CPL and finds two massive top-bat wagers...
"Smith was back at No 3 and although he recorded a duck, there is no way he should be as big"
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots v Barbados Royals
Friday 3 September, 00:00
TV: live on BT Sport
Patriots are four wins from four. Three of them have been in the chase. The Tallawahs were their latest victims, going after 167 with 16 balls to spare. It was impressive.
However, we're always looking for flaws in short favourites and we note they have twice conceded 160 or more in a bowler-dominated tournament. Their economy rate is 7.9 which is middling. There is precious evidence they are the complete outfit. Ravi Bopara's arrival bolsters the middle-order further.
Possible XI: Thomas, E Lewis, Asif Ali, Bopara, Rutherford, Dwayne Bravo, Allen, Drakes, van Meekeren, Cottrell, Fawad
Patriots in form
Royals have one win in four. A superior run rate to Kings keeps them off rock-bottom. Tallawahs beat them last time when Royals failed to defend 151.
Their issue is big players letting them down. Hayden Walsh, Jason Holder and Thisara Perera have been awful with the ball, recording economy rates of 9, 9.4 and 12 respectively. Jake Lintott should be available now to help keep rates down.
It would be a big call for him to replace Walsh as the main spinner but it's worth it.
Possible XI: Charles, Hope, Mayers, Philips, Azam Khan, Holder, Reifer, Bishop, Thomas, Amir, Lintott
Royals worth the risk
Patriots are 1.774/5 with Royals 2.265/4. The latter price is worth a dabble but only if Patriots are asked to bat first. It takes them out of their comfort zone somewhat.
It is true that Patriots beat Royals batting first in their first game of the tournament but it wasn't straightforward. Pace knocked over the Patriots top order before their lack of control with spin (and Thisara Perera) cost them. If they get tweakers Lintott and the excellent Josh Bishop into their work they can managed the pricey Holder. Back-to-lay Royals is the first step to all-green on both sides.
Sherfane Rutherford and Shai Hope were the top scorers for Patriots and Royals respectively in the last head-to-head. Sportsbook go 3/1 and 5/1. Kiwi Glenn Philips has been boosted to 10/3 and although he is the No 1 on win rates in the tournament in the last two years the majority are as an opener. A move down to No 4 has not been well received. Of big prices Fabian Allen at 14s for Patriots and Azam Khan, who is having a breakthrough tournament, is 10s for Royals.
Warner Park statistics
Average first innings score last three years 169 (3755/24)
160+ first innings scores 15/25
Won by chaser 13/25 (one tie)
St Lucia Kings v Guyana Amazon Warriors
Thursday 1 September, 15:00
TV: live on BT Sport
Kings need a win
St Lucia are bottom of the table with one win from three. Although that is hardly a terminal sequence, a net run rate of -2.3 suggests they have issues. They were smashed by Jamaica for 255 in their first match.
Their one success came against Trinbago when they squeezed in the field, defending 157 by five runs. But Trinbago got their revenge days later defending 158. Kings didn't get close to the target.
Understandably there are concerns about their batting. Faf Du Plessis is back but his form has been non-existent while Rahkeem Cornwall and Mark Deyal have struggled. Samit Patel's arrival bolsters their middle-order which has been reliant on Tim David.
Possible XI: Cornwall, Fletcher, Du Plessis, Chase, Deyal, David, Patel, Paul, Joseph, Wahab, WIlliams
Guyana won a Super Over against Trinbago but few would have been impressed by the batting display. Chasing just 139, overseas stars Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik combined to put them in dire trouble. Hafeez struck at 53 for 16 and Shoaib 83 for 14. Unacceptable.
Only late hitting from Nic Pooran, Romario Shepherd and Naveen-ul-Haq got them a tie. Shepherd, who also took three wickets, claimed the man of the match award. Guyana are fast-becoming the big swerve in the tournament.
Possible XI: Hemraj, Hafeez, Smith, King, Malik, Hetmyer, Pooran, Shepherd, Naveen, Tahir, Nedd
Kings can trade favourites
Kings are 2.407/5 with Guyana 1.705/7. Given Guyana's form and appetite for chaos, one would probably need a very strong constitution indeed to get involved with the latter price. It's another candidate for one of the worst bets of the tournament.
Of course Kings have their issues but their effort defending against Trinbago suggests they can be competitive. With Patel adding extra nous with the ball they could ensure the Guyana batting remains in a stupor. They could well force a flip.
Runs may well be in short supply given tournament trends and these two sides hardly explosive. This is a sell on innings runs if we can get 155.5.
Hafeez and Du Plessis have been boosted to 7/2 and 3/1 respectively for top Guyana and Kings bat. But the form isn't strong enough for either to get involved. Odean Smith is the value for Guyana at a huge 70/1. He was back at No 3 and although he recorded a duck, there is no way he should be as big. He's probably not going to win it but he should be 7s. Another possible rick is Shepherd at 40s. he could well bat at No 3 instead of Smith.
David looks underrated at 10/1 for Kings. He has very little to beat and has been in great touch. They may need to start moving him up the order, too.
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Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye column p-l