St Lucia Kings v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
Live on Betfair, BT Sport
Kings eye crown
The Kings produced a sensational batting performance to take down Trinbago Knight Riders and gain revenge for last year's final defeat. And all without Faf Du Plessis, who must remain a huge doubt, with a groin injury.
Batting first, they amassed 205 for four. Mark Deyal, this time at No 3, whacked 78 from 44. It set up the perfect platform for David Wiese and Tim David to cut loose at the death. They hit 34 and 38 respectively with David needing only 17 balls.
They were under pressure in the field and Trinbago looked like getting up when Kieron Pollard was going well. Bit Wiese returned with the ball to settle nerves. His five wickets won him the match gong.
Probable XI Fletcher, Cornwall, Deyal, Chase, David, Wiese, Alleyne, Paul, Wahab, Joseph, Royal
Patriots are one game from away from transforming from a bottom-place finisher to champions. After winning the group section they have reached their second final.
They did it thanks to succeeding in another chase. They are by far most comfortable going after a target. And it was a stiff one. They lost control in the death against Guyana so they would have been frustrated at the break to concede 178.
But Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle were paired as openers and it never looked in doubt. Gayle rolled back the years while Lewis finished unbeaten on 77 to put clear water between him and everyone else on the runs list.
Possible XI Gayle, E Lewis, Da Silva, Bravo, Rutherford, Allen, Drakes, Cottrell, Shah, Jaggesar, Fawad.
Nine of the last 14 at Warner Park have seen sides bust 160 or more. That's more like it for a ground which had the record, and reputation, for big runs. Teams seem to have got used to the worn surfaces and found a way to combat. We also note that nine matches in the study period have been won by the side chasing.
We could be in for more heavy run scoring. But we're not relying on the pitch for that. Both teams have a habit of losing their way at the death. Kings have the worst run rate in the death overs in the field. They face the second-fastest batting team in the death overs. Let's hope that Patriots bat first.
It would be wise to expect a minimum of 11.5 an over in the last three so prepare for big innings runs prices in-play. Backing 180, 190 or 200 or more is the probable strategy.
The Patriots are 1.715/7 with Kings 2.305/4. Despite the concern about how Kings could suffer at the death - although there's an argument Wiese has strengthened them in that regard - the gulf in odds seems hard to justify.
It's particularly odd when you consider Kings thrashed Patriots in the group stage - twice. They amassed 224 for a 100-run win and then bowled them out for 118 for a six-wicket win.
At the pre-toss stage these are wrong prices. However, if we're being canny we recognise that Patriots are not a side you want to take on in a chase. Under pressure defending, however is a different story.
With the run rates expected to go through the roof if Patriots bat first, we could well be back where we started at terms of odds at the break. But there's nowt wrong with Kings at such a price.
Dwayne Bravo looks chunky at 7/1 with Sportsbook considering he was promoted to No 3 for Patriots against Guyana. Lewis has been boosted to 13/5 and Gayle is 11/4.
Du Plessis' probable absence means we're getting better value on everyone else as he's priced up. David stands out at 15/2 to further enhance his reputation.