Ed Hawkins previews Saturday's double header from Warner Park in the CPL and recommends a top-bat bet...
"Evin Lewis has a good record against Kings, averaging 29 and striking at 161. He has three of the top four high scores in the head-to-heads"
St Lucia Kings v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
Saturday 4 September, 15:00
TV: live on BT Sport
St Lucia Kings appear to be on the road to recovery after that harrowing opening defeat by Jamaica. They are now two from two in fifth position and have a game in hand. They should be confident of making the top four to qualify for the semi-finals.
They have switched their opening partnership, which seems smart. Faf Du Plessis and Andre Fletcher opened the batting against Guyana and although it didn't pay off, it's the right call. Roston Chase was the star of that win, whacking 85.
The Kings bowlers then found the form that had made them a bit of a mean machine. Guyana were rolled for just 98 with Kesrick Williams the pick with two for seven. They do look pace heavy and Rahkeem Cornwall - dropped against Guyana - should come back in at some stage.
Possible XI: Fletcher, Du Plessis, Deyal, Chase, David, Samit Patel, Cottoy, Royal, Joseph, McCoy, Williams.
Patriots are assured of qualification. They have five wins from five and they must be slightly irked that there is no advantage to finishing in top spot this year with a traditional semi-final format.
They have chased four times. The latest win came against Barbados Royals by two wickets. We would love to see them put under pressure defending a target to get a better handle on their bowlers, who once again conceded 160.
Chris Gayle has returned to the XI and he top scored with 42. But they needed a late assault from Sheldon Cottrell after they suffered an incredible collapse. Cottrell's seven-ball 20 downed Royals from skinny favourites.
Possible XI: E Lewis, D Thomas, Gayle, Allen, Rutherford, Bopara, Dwayne Bravo, Drakes, Cottrell, Naseem, van Meekeren
Take on leaders
Patriots are as short as 1.618/13 for a sixth-straight win with Kings priced at 2.6213/8. We'll have some of the latter.
Kings have a good brains trust in Du Plessis and coach Andy Flower and they seem to have their heads screwed on. They should be able to come up with a way of pressuring Patriots. The answer could be spin after Jake Lintott sparked their problems against Royals. Don't be surprised if Usman Qadir or Cornwall gets a game.
We'd prefer if Kings were to chase as Patriots, whose bowling doesn't convince particularly with a lack of spin threat, have not had their skills defending a target tested.
Evin Lewis has a good record against Kings, averaging 29 and striking at 161. He has three of the top four high scores in the head-to-heads. That might be enough to tempt a wager at a price-boosted 3/1 with Sportsbook. Du Plessis is boosted to the same but he has a problem with a match-up against Cottrell. We note Tim David's 5/1 price.
Warner Park statistics
Average first innings score last three years 167 (4365/26)
160+ first innings scores 16/27
Won by chaser 14/27 (one tie)
Guyana Amazon Warriors v Barbados Royals
Saturday 4 September, 19:30
TV: live on BT Sport
Before Guyana's match against St Lucia we called them out as the side who were fast-becoming the team to stink out the entire tournament. That status was confirmed after losing by 51 runs to Kings following another horrible batting display.
Somehow they had come into the game off the back of a Super Over win over Trinbago but their batting was careless and ponderous again and this time it cost them. We've singled out Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik previously but it's worth pointing out the dreadful form of Brandon King and Chandrapaul Hemraj. But they have only Anthony Bramble as a possible batting replacement and his record is average.
Don't be surprised if Odean Smith goes back to No 3 or even opens. Romario Shepherd could also be promoted.
Possible XI: Hafeez, Hemraj, O Smith, Hetmyer, Pooran, Shepherd, Bramble, Malik, Naveen, Motie, Tahir
Royals still have potential
Royals have gone to the bottom of the pile after Patriots did the double over them. It is arguable they should have won both but their bowling depth has cost them each time.
They were squeezing the Patriots expertly when defending a target thanks to the spin of Jake Lintott. But the pressure was released by the sixth bowler. This time Raymon Reifer.
Nyeem Young's three wickets and spinner Josh Bishop sitting on the sidelines suggest a solution is at hand. It's now or never for getting the balance right.
Possible XI: Charles, Hope, Smit Patel, Philips, Azam Khan, Holder, Young, Nurse, Bishop, Lintott, Thomas
Royals the bet
Guyana are 1.834/5 with Royals 2.1211/10. We are very happy to take the latter price here and now, secure in the knowledge that Royals - or rather Guyana's malaise - gives us a chance for an all-green book. We're inclined to let it run, though, as Royals have potential for improvement while Guyana seem to have checked out.
We backed Odean Smith at 70s to top versus Kings and he came ever so close. He's now into 11s but we'd need him to bat at No 3 for that to be value. Shepherd is 25/1 but that's also a hefty cut from 40s. For Royals, Holder is 11/1. It's a chunky price about a guy who could do a hitting job at No 5 or No 6.
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