Ed Hawkins is a Patriot - for the night - as the Zouks try to kick start their Caribbean Premier League campaign on Tuesday...
"The Zouks have one of the worst reputations of any franchises in the T20 format. They are unreliable, disorganised and can throw in some truly awful performances"
St Lucia Zouks v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
Tuesday 23 September 23.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
We are going to have a good look at the St Lucia Zouks this week. By the end of it, they'll have played four times. We might be sick of the sight of them.
The Zouks have one of the worst reputations of any franchises in the T20 format. They are unreliable, disorganised and can throw in some truly awful performances. Forget their one win in six record for a moment, they have made the top four only once in six editions.
In two matches they have been woeful - bowled out for 101 against the Barbados Tridents and labouring to 138 for nine against the Patriots.
They are hopeful a squad revamp will pay dividends. Colin Ingram has arrived in place of Thisara Perera. Colin de Grandhomme seems to be getting the squad by the scruff of the neck and if they're going to improve it will probably be down to him.
Visitors need fast start
The Patriots are a confusing outfit. A one-eyed look at the table shows them in third spot with eight points. Another couple of wins and the knockouts are theirs. But they have played eight games and are an even money team in that period.
They blow hot and cold. Scorching against the Tallawahs chasing down a record score. Sizzling against Trinbago Knight Riders when winning a Super Over and inflicting a first defeat on the holders. A worse starter than a Morris Minor in December against Guyana. Unable to feel their fingers against the Tridents.
It makes sense when you look at their players. All or nothing merchants like Carlos Brathwaite, Evin Lewis and Sheldon Cottrell. Devon Thomas, Laurie Evans and, splutter, Mohammad Hafeez have a sense of reliability about them, though.
Pitch has runs
The first-innings scores in the last 11 at the Darren Sammy Stadium (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 172-1/173-2/152-2/196-1/196-1/132-2/204-2/140-2/69-2/226-1/212-2. After the washout against Trinbago it's worth checking the weather. It's pretty good. Rain is forecast pre-match but it should be well clear by the time the toss comes with sun drying up any moisture.
Waiting for a Patriots price
It's early days for the match odds market but the money is struggling to put clear water between these two. The Zouks are [1.97] and the Patriots [1.87]. If a flow comes to push the Patriots past that [1.90] mark we'll be all over it.
As we've always said with the Patriots, they need to hit the ground running, particularly with the bat. A good front runner, not so much fun when they are under the pump.
In the earlier meeting, they had the game won with by the sixth over with the ball. The Zouks were reduced to 39 for four. Akeem Jordan did the damage. Emboldened, the Patriots then knocked off a chase of 139 with 31 balls to spare.
Devon beautiful at this time of year
Openers Lewis and Thomas are having a decent tussle for top Patriots bat honours. They have two apiece. Lewis is expected to go off as jolly, though, at around the 11/4 mark. If Thomas comes into view at around 4, we should really bet him.
For the Zouks, De Grandhomme's promotion could have been missed. He's a spot of value at 6/1 or bigger. Best to avoid Cornwall, despite his beefy hitting, because of that shunt down the order to No 5 last time.
On the top bowler markets, Zouks Rayad Emrit and Cottrell have confused us all tournament. They have tremendous hit rates in the last two years but only the former is 'known' to the layers. Emrit at 7/2 or bigger is a wager.
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
Back Patriots in-running [1.90]