Ed Hawkins unearths a top bat bet for Wednesday night's Caribbean Premier League clash...
"In the previous meeting, won by 13 runs by Guyana, spin was the difference between the sides. Shadab Khan plugged an end. Since then Guyana have upgraded Shadab for Tahir"
St Lucia Zouks v Guyana Amazon Warriors
Wednesday 24 September 23:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
St Lucia Zouks are up to fourth after beating St Kitts & Nevis Patriots early on Wednesday. They have won two from seven, including one washout. It is not the sort of record which should mean they are play-off contenders but in a small tournament, in terms of team numbers and quality, those are the facts.
It's also probably true that the Zouks are more balanced now than they were at the start of the competition. They have made some solid signings to get over the player drain they suffered with their Sri Lanka contingent unavailable.
Colin Ingram has added batting nous, Colin de Grandhomme the same with bat and ball and Hardus Viljoen decent pace. Viljoen forms an excellent partnership with Kesrick Williams. Fawad Ahmed's canny spin means they have an opportunity to squeeze teams.
We're not impressed with their middle-to-lower order. Although Darren Sammy and Chris Barnwell swung the blade efficiently against the Patriots, they have the propensity to fall away.
Guyana have won six in a row. Are they good enough to make it seven? The balance of their squad suggests so. The Warriors seem to have every base covered for the perfect franchise outfit. They have the fast starters, middle-order class, lower-order hitters, spinners galore and good death bowlers.
Last time out they thumped the Barbados Tridents by 12 runs under Duckworth-Lewis. It was a romp, in truth. They had restricted the Tridents to 138 and then lost only two wickets with Brandon King, who has been solid, making a half-century. His partnership with Chandrapaul Hemraj in the opening berth has been a boost for Guyana.
More than eight an over required
The first-innings scores in the last 12 at the Darren Sammy Stadium (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 165-1/172-1/173-2/152-2/196-1/196-1/132-2/204-2/140-2/69-2/226-1/212-2. More than 160 would seem a must for Zouks. The weather forecast is good with no rain expected.
Match odds market about right
Guyana are [1.63] with the Zouks [2.56]. Ordinarily we'd look to get with such chunky outsiders. What makes us nervous is whether the Zouks, notoriously unreliable, have the ability to put together back-to-back performances.
They are also likely to come under significant pressure from the Guyana spin attack. If they team up Imran Tahir, Chris Green and Qais Ahmed (who missed out against Tridents), that's 12 overs of spin. Using the trio's economy rates this term as a guide, they're going to have to be scoring at ten an over off the other eight to bust 160. If Ahemd does not play and Shoaib Malik, the captain, bowl his full quota the rate required will be higher.
In the previous meeting, won by 13 runs by Guyana, spin was the difference between the sides. Shadab Khan plugged an end. Since then Guyana have upgraded Shadab for Tahir. The odds look about fair.
Pooran a rich man
Nic Pooran has been a bit of a forgotten man in this Guyana campaign. He has only 99 runs and hasn't batted in two of the matches. But he's always been on our radar and we've been waiting for a big price drift so to have a gamble on him for top bat. Sportsbook have obliged. They go as big as 7/1. The edge is there on career form with his hit rate meaning he should be at least a point shorter. If he can get in early enough, a strike rate of 160-plus this term means we could be quids in quickly.
For top bowler bets, there's nothing wrong with a slice on Williams at 3s (again with Sportsbook) for top Zouks bowler and the 11/4 about Tahir copping for Guayna also catches the eye. Romrio Shephered is a major threat for the latter, though, considering his strike rate is the best of all Guyana bowlers. The 9/2 is too big.
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