Ed Hawkins takes a look at the Caribbean Premier League action from Queen's Park Oval on Thursday as the play-off race hots up...
"Patriots could be licking their lips here batting first if they can keep wickets in hand, recognising Zouks' death bowling is weak. Also remember that Zouks have, historically, been terrible at defending."
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots v St Lucia Zouks
Thursday 27 August 15.00
TV: live on Betfair Video
Patriots get a win
The Patriots have some points on the board after downing Tridents last time out. Their masterplan finally came to fruition. Having packed their top order with hitters, one of them came off.
Evin Lewis' 89 is the highest score of the tournament so far and was a welcome return to form for the opener. Now they just need Chris Lynn to show something. His sequence of scores puts his place in jeopardy.
Still, a play-off run looks unlikely because they failed to land spin quality. Job-Russ Jaggesar's emergence is a major surprise at the age of 34 but it's stretching it to reckon he can do all the work on his own.
Possible XI Lynn, Lewis, Kelly, Da Silva, Ramdin, Dunk, Tanvir, Joseph, Emrit, Khan, Jaggesar
Zouks still fighting
The Zouks remain in second position despite defeat by Trinbago. They need only one more win for a play-off, although it would be entirely in keeping with Zouks' reputation if they collapse now.
Against Trinbago they fought hard and they will probably argue that rain cost them. They could have posted a challenging 130-140 without interruption. Rain breaks always favour the chaser and a target of 72 in nine overs with 10 wickets in hand didn't faze Trinbago, even when they were in trouble at 34 for four.
Possible XI Fletcher, Cornwall, Deyal, Chase, Zadran, Nabi, Sammy, Kuggeleijn, Glen, Williams, C Holder
2020 Zouks 172-6 (Fletcher 46, Jaggesar 2-29) defended Patriots 162-8 (Ramdin 46, Kuggeleijn 4-46)
2019 Zouks 165-5 (Fletcher 36) defended Patriots 145-9 (Williams 3-48)
Patriots 143-3 (Lewis 65, Williams 1-27) chased Zouks 138-9
Overall Patriots 5 Zouks 4
Pitch looking sluggish
The last 17 first-innings scores at the Queen's Park Oval (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second, most recent first) read: 148-1/111-2/108-2/151-2/134-2/185-1/167-2/191-1/152-1/180-1/170-1/203-1/223-2/195-1/158-2/152-2/156-2/147-2/118-2. That is an average of 165. But the toss bias is the key here. Look at all those wins for the chaser - 11 from 17. It would be remiss not to factor this into our wagering. Sportsbook go 5/6 that both teams score 150. We'd like to wager 5/6 they don't.
Bet the chaser
Zouks are 5/6 and Patriots 10/11 on Sportsbook. We would expect the exchange to struggle to split the pair when the market matures.
This seems fair enough because we can't split them, either. Well, not until the toss anyway. The chaser really should get up to take the spoils. The forecast is good, by the way.
There are some factors to consider, though. Patriots could be licking their lips here batting first if they can keep wickets in hand, recognising Zouks' death bowling is weak. Also remember that Zouks have, historically, been terrible at defending.
Jaggesar catches the eye at a whopping 7s for top Patriots bowler because of his form in the head-to-head. He is increasingly crucial to Patriots. He's taking a wicket every 18 balls so far, a better strike rate than Sheldon Cottrell, Ish Sodhi and Alzarri Joseph who are all shorter in the betting.
Sohail Tanvir looks big at 4s too and we have had a shared honours win with him already this term for top Patriots bowler.
Scott Kuggeleijn is big at 4s for top Zouks bowler. Only Mujeeb ur Rahman has more wickets in the entire tourney.
Guyana Amazon Warriors v Trinbago Knight Riders
Thursday 27 August 22.30
TV: live on Betfair Video
Guyana Amazon Warriors have lost three times already this season, meaning they have now been beaten in four of their last six matches going back to last year's final defeat against Tridents. It is an extraordinary sequence for a once-dominant franchise.
In Cricket...Only Bettor this week, we discuss whether it's just a blip. But safe to say that the one team they don't want to face after a defeat by Tallawahs is Trinbago. Guyana need to get their campaign back on track with the play-offs now in doubt.
There has been nothing wrong with their bowling but their batting, despite a superb line-up, has flopped three times in a row. Last year's top scorer, Brandon King, is on a poor run and long-standing opening partner Chandrapaul Hemraj has been axed.
Possible XI King, Bramble, Hetmyer, Taylor, Pooran, Rutherford, Paul, Green, Naveen, Tahir, Nedd.
Trinbago continue to prove they are the best team in the tournament. They beat the Zouks last time out, who are not the pushover of old. The rain did assist them, though.
It is difficult to find a weakness with Trinbago at the moment in terms of balance. But they would like some runs for Lendl Simmons, who is on a poor trot. Sunil Narine missed the game against the Zouks but if he returns they could pair him with Colin Munro in the opening slot with Tion Webster at No 3. Tim Seifert could also be promoted to open.
There has been no explanation on Narine's absence but it is possible TKR are managing an old finger injury.
Possible XI Simmons, Narine, Munro, DM Bravo, Pollard, Seifert, DJ Bravo, Pierre, A Khan, Fawad, Seales
2020 Trinbago 147-6 (Narine 50, Naveen 2-20) chased Guyana 144-6 (Hetmyer 63, Narine 2-19)
2019 Guyana 144-3 (Pooran 54*, Pierre 1-25) chased Trinbago 143-5 (Munro 43, Hemraj 3-15)
Guyana 185-6 (Hemraj 66) defended Trinbago 166-5 (Pollard 71, Green 2-18)
Overall TKR 11 GAW 9
Guyana need to be smart
Trinbago are [1.74] with Guyana [2.14]. Pre-toss those prices seem about right.
But we can certainly see this being a close contest despite Warriors' problems. If they can win the toss and bat first, they will expect to put a squeeze on Trinbago with Imran Tahir and Chris Green spinning a web.
So the question is: can Guyana recognise that seven an over will keep them in the game? It's time for Guyana to play sensible cricket and not look to smash the ball to all parts. Slow and steady could win this race.
Dwayne Bravo, fresh after the first man to 500 T20 wickets, is 11/4 for top TKR bowler. But Fawad Ahmed looks like the best value. He is 10/3 and on return rates on the last three tournaments he should be more like 2/1.
Are Zouks the real deal and what's wrong with Warriors? This week on Cricket...Only Bettor
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. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l