Ed Hawkins previews a poor quality Caribbean Premier League contest early on Saturday and looks to the outright for a selection...
"These are two poor teams and, frankly, we have no clue as to which will be capable of displaying a modicum of discipline and ability"
St Lucia Zouks v Barbados Tridents
Saturday 21 September, 01:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Zouks in a state
The Zouks have one win from four. It's the sort of record one would expect for a franchise who have significant ownership issues off the field and, no doubt as a consequence, made some average decisions at the draft. There has been more upheaval since.
They have suffered a player drain. Lasith Malinga, Anrich Nortje and Isuru Udana never made the start. Thisara Perera and Niroshan Dickwella will not make the finish. That left them with only four overseas players - Fawad Ahmed, Najibullah Zadran, Colin de Grandhomme and Hardus Viljoen - so they have moved quickly to add Colin Ingram, the Glamorgan skipper and batter, to their list.
They still look short in key areas, though. Kesrick Williams and Ahmed are the only bowler who will worry the opposition. Likewise Andre Fletcher and Rahkeem Cornwall with the bat. Middle-order ballast has been an issue.
The Tridents have also been in the market for players to bolster their squad. Nottinghamshire Outlaws skipper Dan Christian will replace Asif Ali, who has been called for Pakistan duty, as soon as the Vitality Blast Finals Day is done and dusted.
Alex Hales, of course, will be absent for this clash having flown back to join Christian and his county team-mates for the assault on the Blast title. If you think this leaves them short in batting power, you'd be right. The onus is on Shai Hope, JP Duminy and Lebiko Boucher to go big.
They are weak with the ball, too, apart from Sandeep Lamichhane. The Nepal spinner is their most economical and their most potent bowler. Jason Holder is doig okay but there's little in the way of support for these two. There is only one other overseas bowler to pick - Josh lalor. Lalor hasn't quite found his rhythm yet.
Runs not in short supply
This is the first match to be played at the Darren Sammy Staium this term with the Zouks on the road. The first-innings scores in the last two tournaments (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 173-2/152-2/196-1/196-1/132-2/204-2/140-2/69-2/226-1/212-2. With six scores of more than 170 and five of them more than 190, it's fair to say the track is good. The only inconsistency has been the Zouks' performances. They are more than capable of an absiolute stinker.
Chaser could be done for
At [1.90] and [1.96] respectively, the Zouks and Tridents are tricky to split. That's understandable because they are difficult to trust.
Given the nature of the wicket it could well pay to bat first and go big, allowing scoreboard pressure and suspect batting line-ups to do the rest. Not a whole lot of skill is going to be required defending one would have thought.
As you can tell, we're not falling over ourselves to have a bet here. These are two poor teams and, frankly, we have no clue as to which will be capable of displaying a modicum of discipline and ability.
Time to get with Warriors
Keep an eye on Sportsbook for top Tridents bowler prices. Sportsbook go 5/2 about Lamichhane for honours. He has very little to beat and providing Holder does not underuse him, he should be bang in the mix for honours.
Fletcher is ordianrily a pick but at 10/3 we've lost faith in him for top Zouks bat honours. Williams is not too shabby at the same odds for top Tridents bowler.
With a dearth of value on the specials, though, and a few days off for Guyana Amazon Warriors, it is worth pointing out that they still hold value on the outright market at 17/10.
A knockout berth is almost guaranteed with six wins being enough the last two years (they are five out of five so far). Likewise a top-two finish with only two more wins enough.
Given the strength of their spin bowling - Chris Green, Imran Tahir, Qais Ahmed - it is hard not to see them squeezing the life out of competitors. Those 12 overs of tweak are going to tricky to get away. We suspect that come the final, we will have a 17/10 chance on our hands against the Trinbago Knight Riders.
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