Jamaica Tallawahs v St Lucia Kings
Friday 27 August 15.00
TV: live on BT Sport
Jamaica need fast start
Jamaica have been adversely impacted by late withdrawals, too. Shakib-al-Hasan, who balanced the XI with his all-round abilities is out. Haider Ali, the Pakistan blaster whose form has dipped alarmingly, comes in.
They are big on batting power, which will be just as well in the early tournament stages because they could lack control, Qais Ahmed and Veeeraswamy Permaul aside, with the ball.
When the Warner Park surfaces gets slower and lower, they could struggle for runs with their big hitters akin to walking through treacle with flippers on. That's what happened last season on wearing surfaces. As ever, much depends on Andre Russell's fitness.
Possible XI Walton, Haider Ali, Mohammed, Brooks, Russell, Powell, Brathwaite, Edwards, Pretorius, Qais, Permaul
Waiting on Faf
St Lucia Kings have fitness concerns over Faf Du Plessis, Obed McCoy and Keemo Paul. But coach Andy Flower says they should all be fit for this one.
Du Plessis is the big one. He has not played since a concussion in the PSL, missing the entirety of The Hundred. He is said to still be suffering symptoms. If he was unable to make it through the competition it would be a significant blow to Kings and Du Plessis.
Kings were runners-up last year and they have been consistently tight with the ball. That is in large part to the nous of coach Andy Flower. They should be a tricky opponent.
Possible XI Du Plessis, Deyal, Cornwall, Fletcher, Chase, David, Paul, A Joseph, McCoy, K Williams, Usman Qadir
Kings could go well with bat
Tallawahs are 1.875/6 with Kings 2.0811/10. That is a good price about Kings and it may well hold even if the toss goes against them because of the market's love for Jamaica's batting power.
We do expect runs in this one. Four of the last six between these two have seen 160 or more busted in the first innings. Sportsbook go 4/6 that both score 160 or more and 7/5 both bust 170 or more. The runs par line for Kings batting first might offer the best value with even money available for over 167.5.
Russell has a 23% win rate for top bat in the last two years. That gives us a one per-cent edge at 7/2 with Sportsbook. For Kings, Andre Fletcher gives up a small edge at 10/3 but it is possible he should be jolly instead of Du Plessis at 3/1 given fitness worries. The standout follow on the tops is probably Kesrick Williams returning 38% of the time on top bowler. He is rated at 10/3 to take most Kings wickets.
Warner Park data
Average first innings score last three years 177
160+ first innings scores 10/13
Won by chaser 8/13
Barbados Royals v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
Friday 27 August 10.00
TV: live on BT Sport
Bowling concerns for Royals
The Royals have plenty of work to do if they are to improve on last year's fifth-placed finish. Considering they have lost the best spinner in the world, Rashid Khan, it seems a very tough ask.
Bowling, then, could be an issue. Even with Rashid they were ranked fourth on bowling economy. The capture of Jake Lintott (available after Blast duty with Somerset) is good work considering his performance in The Hundred but Mohammad Amir less so. Amir was dropped by Spirit for being too pricey. The form of fellow pacer Oshane Thomas is a worry, too.
Chris Morris, who was a key death bowler, is a late withdrawal and they could struggle to keep things tight at the end of the innings. With the bat, Glenn Philips is an excellent late signing but there is pressure on Johnson Charles and Shai Hope either side to get off to a good start.
Possible XI Charles, Philipps, Hope, Mayers, Greaves, Holder, T Perera, Nurse, Thomas, Walsh Jnr, Amir
Patriots have suffered disastrous recruitment. Late withdrawals have robbed them of Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, Wanindu Hasaranga and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. With them they looked genuine title contenders. No longer.
Ravi Bopara, after the Blast finals day, Asif Ali and Fawad Ahmed could keep them competitive as replacements but after finishing bottom last year (and bottom of batting and bowling ranks) the prognosis is gloomy.
Their strength will be the probable opening partnership of Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle and the all-round abilities of Dwayne Bravo and Fabian Allen. Bravo should add plenty of game-winning experience after leaving Trinbago. Allen is due a big tournament for his ability.
Possible XI Lewis, Gayle, Asif, Da Silva, Rutherford, Allen, Bravo, Emrit, Cottrell, Jaggesar, Ahmed
Go big on runs
Royals are 2.0811/10 with Patriots 1.8810/11. The latter is not much fun given the toss bias and talent drain so for your own health at least don't get involved until after the toss.
Royals could be a fancy but we have to be aware they could be pricey in the field, particularly in the last three or four overs. A solid in-play strategy is, if they are bowling first, to go high on innings runs adding 40 or 50 for the last four and big numbers. Patriots at around 5.04/1 for 200 or more is an interest.
Philips, the Kiwi, is expected top open for Barbados. Sportsbook have price-boosted him to 13/5. He has a win rate of 45% in the last two years. Patriots opener Evin Lewis has been boosted to the same. He has a 25% win rate. Gayle has one win in his last ten so we swerve at 5/2. With the ball, Barbados' Hayden Walsh Jnr returns 52.6% of the time so 3/1 appeals. Likewise Sheldon Cottrell (42.3%) at 5/2 for Patriots.
Ed has more tips and insight on the CPL in the latest episode of Cricket...Only Bettor