Ed Hawkins looks at Guyana's Caribbean Premier League record run and wonders whether it can continue in Providence on Saturday...
"Guyana's spinners going hard up front - and Qais Ahmed looks likely to join Green and Tahir - with a possible rescue act to follow not being quite enough, batting first or second"
Guyana Amazon Warriors v Trinbago Knight Riders
Saturday 5 October, 01:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Guyana record makers
Guyana Amazon Warriors made it nine wins in a row after beating Jamaica Tallawahs in the early hours of Friday. Some sort of record? For the Caribbean Premier League, yes but they have some way to top a franchise record.
Between March 2006 and October 2010 the Stallions in Pakistan won 25 straight. You can wager that there were some bruised wallets with many reckoning 'they can't keep winning'. Pakistan's unique structure means such a record will, surely, never be broken and of more relevance is the No 2 teams on the list - Otago (2014) and Karnataka (ongoing) with 14. Surrey (2003-04) are next on 13.
Of course, Guyana can afford to lose two games and still win the title. Early on against Jamaica they looked like getting one defeat out of the way. They were in peril at eight for four. Shoaib Malik produced a brilliant innings, with help from Sherfane Rutherford, to post 156.
Jamaica, hopeless Jamaica, were then bowled out for 79. A win from such a position should give Guyana even more confidence.
Trinbago lose again
By contrast, Trinbago are in the doldrums. Their form has fallen off a cliff and it's now four defeats in a row. Had this sequence started a game earlier they would have been in danger of missing out on qualification altogether.
Another loss here will have that bastion of mediocrity - the St Lucia Zouks franchise - only two points behind.
What's gone wrong? Their bowling unit. It has been leaking runs at an extraordinary rate - nine an over. To put that in context only the Tallawahs, who finished bottom with two wins, are worse (9.5).
Profligacy in the field has given the batsmen the willies. It's two flops out of three - managing to post only 134 against Tridents and being bowled out for 129 against the same team.
Muddled thinking with the batting order has exposed the panic. With Sunil Narine injured, instead of pairing Colin Munro and Lendl Simmons they promoted Jimmy Neesham. Bonkers. Just unleash Munro and Simmons. That they won't shows their nerves.
More than 150 a must for visitors
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): 154-1/180-1/153-2/155-1/157-1/191-2/122-2/154-2/173-2/185-1/141-1/146-2. It's a slow and tricky surface and Trinbago are going to have to adjust quickly whether batting first or second. More than 150 could be beyond them.
Hosts are value
Guyana are [1.88] with Trinbago [2.10]. Some may reckon the hosts should be shorter, particularly considering they duffed up Trinbago only four days ago. It's tough to disagree.
In that game, spin was crucial. Chris Green and Imran Tahir had tied down the Trinbago top order in a chase of 186. Only a late assault from Kieron Pollard, who got hold of Tahir, made it look closer than it was. The winning margin was 19 runs.
We would expect something similar. Guyana's spinners going hard up front - and Qais Ahmed looks likely to join Green and Tahir - with a possible rescue act to follow not being quite enough, batting first or second.
Neesham a nibble
Shoiab is 6/1 with Sportsbook for top Guyana bat. It's a rick, pure and simple. In fact, we can't tip up because palpable error could be called. It's probable that Shoaib and Nic Pooran's price (9/2) have been transposed.
For Trinbago, we had a big winner on Pollard in the previous meeting. We are considering going back to Munro, though, at 3s. It's worth wondering whether Neesham will hold on to that opener slot - if he does 5s is good. There's nothing wrong with a nibble at those odds.
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