Ed Hawkins previews the qualifier in the Caribbean Premier League from Providence on Sunday evening...
"There should be no surprise that we're going to side with the visitors. Guyana are good but the Tridents are capable of bridging that gap, largely because they can attack fire with fire"
Guyana Amazon Warriors v Barbados Tridents
Sunday 6 October 20.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Guyana keep on rolling
The Amazon Warriors are ten from ten. They can afford to lose this qualifier and still make the final. Not that they will be thinking that way. Confidence is a precious commodity and Guyana will keep the hammer down.
Last time out against Trinbago Knight Riders they once again showed that they have surpassed the holders. They chased 144 with eight balls to spare. But it was arguably one of their more impressive wins because it was inspired by two players who had hitherto been unheralded.
Chandrapaul Hemraj got the ball rolling by taking three wickets to leave Trinbago reeling at 41 for three. Hemraj has been solid in the opening berth and his bowling no more than occasional.
With the bat, Nic Pooran finally came to the party. His 54 from 35 was a fearless rescue act because Guyana were in a spot of bother at 59 for three.
Tridents wait on Hope
The Tridents are keeping fingers crossed that Shai Hope can return from injury to bolster their batting unit. He hasn't played a match yet.
They might not need him. The Tridents power axis is at Nos 3 and 4 - where Hope might slot in - thanks to Shakib-al-Hasan and JP Duminy going strong. The fact that Alex Hales is averaging 13 at a disappointing strike rate of 118 has not been important.
There's a possibility Hales could be dropped. Duminy, Shakib, Harry Gurney and Hayden Walsh as the overseas slots make far more sense, particularly with Johnson Charles finding form in the opening position.
Gurney and Walsh, the American spinner who has been a sensation, have revolutionised the Tridents bowling. Previously they looked weak with only Sandeep Lamichhane a threat. Lamichhane is unavailable.
Providence hosts two games in one day with the Patriots taking on the Knight Riders earlier. Bear in mind the surface is likely to be slower and lower, then. Here are the first-innings scores in the last three tournaments at Providence (most recent first-innings scores first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second): 143-2/154-1/180-1/153-2/155-1/157-1/191-2/122-2/154-2/173-2/185-1/141-1/146-2.
Cheeky wager on Tridents
Guyana are [1.58] with the Tridents [2.56]. We're pretty sweet on both teams. Guyana are our outright pick and the Tridents have got their house in order impressively.
So there should be no surprise that we're going to side with the visitors. Guyana are good but the Tridents are capable of bridging that gap, largely because they can attack fire with fire. In other words, spin with spin.
Walsh is a real danger and he should pose problems the like of which the Guyana batsmen are yet to see in this tournament. Shakib will also be crucial. There's also a sense on a tiring wicket, this is a bit of a lottery. Expect a low-scoring thriller.
Shoaib too big
Sportsbook go 8/1 about Shoaib Malik top scoring for Guyana. It's way too big for a No 4, particularly one which has held Guyana's batting together at times. For the match against Trinbago, Shoaib was 9s and we demurred because we felt it was a palpable error. But we're happy to have half a stake now big odds have been repeated. On a slow wicket he might have to drop anchor.
For Tridents, Duminy looks chunky at 7/2. Hope gets jolly status but considering we're not sure where he will bat or what his form is, he's easily swerved. Hales 7/2 and another to swerve.
Walsh has an incredible 17 wickets in six matches, taking him top of the wicket lists in the tournament. He's played four fewer matches than most. He boasts a strike rate of a wicket every 8.3 balls. He is the right favourite, then, for Tridents top bowler at 11/4 with Sportsbook. Gurney is 3/1. That's chunky but with a strike rate of 12.3, it's probably not close enough to his team-mate to warrant a bet, particularly as spin should dominate.
Back Tridents [2.56] (1pt)
Back Shoaib Malik top Guyana bat 8/1 Sportsbook (0.5pts)