Ed Hawkins previews the Caribbean Premier League eliminator from Providence on Sunday afternoon...
"There will be a view that Trinbago have an edge because they are used to the wicket, having played at Providence 24 hours before"
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots v Trinbago Knight Riders
Sunday 6 October 16.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Patriots a little rusty
St Kitts & Nevis Patriots haven't played for a week. Whether that will prove to be an advantage remains to be seen but we suspect that downtime could have taken the edge off a bit.
Last time out they booked their play-off spot with a victory over Barbados Tridents. It was by the tightest of margins - one run. Since then the Tridents have leapfrogged above them to pinch second spot, making the Patriots' chance of a first final harder.
The Patriots are loaded up front with batting talent. Devon Thomas, Evin Lewis and Laurie Evans are dangerous. The middle-to lower-order is not so hot. Carlos Brathwaite is hit or miss and they have they ability to start well and lose their way.
With the ball, they like spin class. Fabian Allen is going at almost ten an over. Pace pair Sheldon Cottrell and Rayad Emrit have taken wickets (11 apiece).
Tridents losing their way
Trinbago Knight Riders are looking anything but the three-time winners and holders. Their aura has gone up in smoke with four consecutive defeats.
We have been saying consistently that the problem has been their economy rate in the field. We repeat: only bottom team Jamaica are more profligate. Against Guyana Amazon Warriors early on Saturday, they were beaten trying to defend 144 with eight balls to spare.
They are badly missing Sunil Narine, who remains a doubt for this contest with a finger injury. Not only do they miss his control with the ball but he balances their top order. In his absence, Trinbago have completely lost the plot.
They have tried three different opening partners for Lendl Simmons in their last three matches - Mark Deyal, Jimmy Neesham and Javon Scantlebury-Searles. Colin Munro, player of the series and an opener, was demoted to No 4 against Warriors. If Narine is not fit, they need to pair Simmons and Munro up top and let them do their job.
Runs line harder to rule
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. This is what we wrote about their match against Guyana: '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.' We can't say the same because the Patriots bowling isn't as hot and there's a possibility of high scoring.
Trinbago too short
If the match odds market repeats Sportsbook's views on this match, it's going to be hard not to get involved with the Patriots. Trinbago are 8/13 with Patriots 5/4. We can see no justification for Trinbago being so short.
There will be a view that Trinbago have an edge because they are used to the wicket, having played at Providence 24 hours before. But Patriots started the rot for Trinbago when they won a Super Over after chasing 216.
With the loser going home, Trinbago could well risk Narine. He could be the key man. With spin in short supply from both teams - and the wicket tacky - he could return and be the hero.
Patriots a maximum bet
Opener Thomas looks value at 7/2 with Sportsbook for top-bat honours for Patriots. Until you realise his form has dropped off a cliff since back-to-back top-bats. He has passed 19 once in seven innings. Shame. Lewis gets an 11/4 quote as jolly with Evans also 7/2.
Simmons is 9/4 favourite for Trinbago. It's short but at least we know where he'll bat. He has five possible opening partners. Munro is 11/4. No matter, Sportsbook have priced Kieron Pollard at a massive 9s. He's half that on three-year form. Get on.
With Trinbago a little unsure with the bat, we will have a nibble on the sixes market. Patriots are outsiders at 8/5. It's a choice affair with both teams striking it as high and handsome as each other.
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