Ed Hawkins says only great sides should be as short as the visitors are in Basseterre on Tuesday night...
"They’re hardly world beaters and we know their limitations but it just so happens that their problems are hardly that different from the skinny favourites here"
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots v Jamaica Tallawahs
Tuesday 10 September 23:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Buck up Patriots
Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. And the Patriots looked a little wretched so far with two defeats from two. They were beaten by 11 runs by Trinbago Knight Riders in their opener and then suffered an eight-wicket walloping against Guyana Amazon Warriors. A bat-banging Jamaica side is not the best option for a remedy.
On the face of it, the margin of defeat against Trinbago doesn't seem too bad. They are the champs, after all. However, they twice threw away winning positions - once with the ball, once with the bat. That's hard to forget, particularly as they were looking solid in the chase.
The balance of their XI doesn't look too bad but they are hugely reliant on a fast start from Evin Lewis and then Rayad Emrit, Sheldon Cottrell and Alzarri Joseph dovetailing. They desperately need an international-class spinner to give them more control in the field.
The Tallawahs perfectly assumed the characteristic of an overseas Chris Gayle-franchise in their opener against Trinbago. They were threatening muscle with the bat but only hustle and bustle with the ball and no smarts.
Conceding a whopping 191 put them way behind and not even an Andre Russell special could save them. Russell hit 44 from 24 including four sixes and it still wasn't even close - they went down by 22 runs.
There is very little variation or nuance with the ball. Jamaica need a classy spin option. Chris Lamont and Steve Jacobs were their spin options and it might be that opposition batsmen feel they can take them on.
At least there were a couple of bright spots with the bat. Gayle seemed in the mood, which is not always a given. And George Worker struck the ball ferociously alongside Russell.
Chasing the play
The first-innings scores at Basseterre in the last two editions of the tournament (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 168-2/206-2/199-1/168-2/162-2/208-1/168-2. That's a chunky toss bias from a small sample. And there are some big runs up front. This has not been a happy hunting ground for Jamaica. In 2017 they conceded the 208. It was Gayle, then in Patriots colours, who did the damage. They also lost by seven wickets last year after posting 206. Rain reduced the target to 118 in 11 overs. Gayle again.
Tallawahs terrible value
Jamaica are [1.63]. That's worth repeating. Jamaica are [1.63]. If you think that's a price worth taking you need to stop betting. Right. Now. There is no justification for such short odds, the sort normally associated with the great T20 sides, like a Chennai Super Kings or Perth Scorchers.
The Patriots, therefore, have to be a bet at [2.52]. They're hardly world beaters and we know their limitations but it just so happens that their problems are hardly that different from the skinny favourites here. For an extra comfort blanket, keep the toss on side with maybe a small cut to [2.30].
Phillips and Thomas chunky
Chris Gayle will be well supported for top Jamaica bat honours with Sportsbook at 21/10 but those with good memories will be keener on his opening partner, Glenn Phillips, at 4s. Phillips copped 36% of the time last season and he can strike it as well as anyone. For St Kitts, Evin Lewis is 5/2 jolly and he has one win so far this term. Devon Thomas took honours last time after we had identified him as value. The 5s is still big.
Keep faith with Emrit
Patriots Cottrell and Emrit have terrific hit rates on the top bowler markets in the last two years. Cottrell is 3/1 jolly and Emrit 7/2 (Sportsbook). Although we rate Cottrell and respect his jolly status, the gulf between the two is nowhere near as big so it's with the latter we side with.
Back Patriots batting second [2.30] or better (1pt)
Back Rayad Emrit top patriots bowler 7/2 Sportsbook (0.5pts)