Ed Hawkins previews game three in the Vincy T10 Premier League from Arnos Vale on Friday...
"The Explorers are one to watch for the rest of the tournament. They could go round the park but that explosive batting line-up should be capable of chasing something monstrous"
Dark View Explorers v Fort Charlotte Strikers
Friday 22 May 17.30
TV: live on Dream11.com
Explorers hitting heavy
Game three in the Vincy gives punters their first opportunity to see Lindon James, the archetypal wicketkeeper-blaster. James has an extraordinary hitting record and will relish the chance to boost his profile as the tournament catches the imagination in a cricket-starved period.
In last year's St Vincent and Grenadine T20 competition, the left-handed James 363 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 186. In this year's one-day league he has three fifties and two centuries in seven innings at 87. In his T20 career he has a strike rate of 150. This suggests he should be capable of a strike rate in the high 180s or even 190 - a big match-winning indicator for the format.
The Explorers, who are rated as the tournament rags at 6/1 by Betfair Sportsboook, appear to be all about batting power. With James certain to open, he could be joined by Cody Horne or Kensley Joseph. Both have excellent hitting rates. Deron Greaves is also another potential partner. In short, Explorers have a strong top four.
Strikers opted for Keron Cottoy for their marquee player. The middle-order batsman will bring Caribbean Premier League experience having been part of Patriots and Zouks squads in the past.
His record is good. He has a strike rate of 133 and his part-time spin, tight at an economy rate of under eight, could be crucial in this format where, surely, the standard will not be as demanding.
This looks a well-balanced squad with Rasheed Fredericks, the slow left-arm spinner, boasting hugely impressive numbers in all formats in domestic cricket, and the talented Gidron Pope, who at the age of 23 has already been picked up by the Tallawahs and Zouks in the CPL. Pope could well open the batting.
Toss bias alert
There have been six T20 internationals played at Arnos Vale between June 2013 and September 2014. The first-innings scores (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) read: 111-tie/101-2/92-2(first three all women's matches WI v NZ)/135-1/152-2/81-2.
Previously in T10 leagues there has been a significant toss bias. The chaser has a win rate of close to 67% with teams struggling to decipher a good score as the format beds in. As for run rates batting first, ten an over is a minimum.
This will be the third match played at Arnos Vale today and we expect the same strip to be used. Despite that, it would be a surprise if there was significant change in the wicket. After all, it's only a potential 40 overs.
Confusion over a good score
Early prices have the Strikers as [1.88] favourites on the exchange with the Explorers [2.02]. On squad balance that would seem fair at this stage.
But the toss is the biggest factor in T10 and we would expect the team which is chasing to shorten up to [1.80] pretty quickly. The Explorers are one to watch for the rest of the tournament. They could go round the park but that explosive batting line-up should be capable of chasing something monstrous.
There is a small chance of rain at some stage, a forecast which surely guarantees that the toss-winning captain will bat second.
Faith in Pope
The Explorers top-bat market is a competitive heat, the Strikers less so. Pope should have little to beat and the pressure is on for consistent scoring. As an under-19s West Indies star, Pope hasn't kicked on as many hoped. He was part of the same youth group as Shimron hetmyer and Alzarri Joseph. A see-ball, hit-ball player, anything in the region of 13/8 about top from Sportsbook could be a wager.
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