Ed Hawkins previews game five on Saturday in the Vincy T10 Premier League from Arnos Vale, St Vincent...
"We expect the pair to come closer together before the off but even if the Breakers came into [1.80] we’d be looking to lay them with the chase against them"
Fort Charlotte Strikers v Salt Pond Breakers
Saturday 23 May 15.30
TV: live on YouTube (search FCS v SPB)
More hustle, less muscle
The Strikers' emblem is two cannon looking mean and menacing. Yet they were firing blanks on the opening day. In a powderpuff performance they were beaten by eight wickets by the Dark View Explorers who chased with nine balls to spare.
To make matters worse, marquee signing Keron Cottoy appeared to injure himself in the field so didn't bowl a ball of his allotted two overs. In a tournament of such fine margins it is crucial to keep your top-pick player fit.
Gidron Pope and Renrick Williams briefly threatened to power the Strikers to something more challenging than 75 but here were two power players perfectly highlighting the tricky nature of the pitch. They needed to use every ounce of bulk (in Pope's case considerable) to get any joy.
Indeed, Pope, a former under-19 prospect and once spoken of as an heir to Chris Gayle's crown, looked disappointing. He only seemed to have one shot, an ugly hoik to leg. He still top scored, though.
Probable XI Pope, Scott, R Williams, Stowe, Cottoy, Lavia, Walters, Redericks, S Williams, Ray, Jordan
Smarter batting needed
Salt Pond Breakers could be an odd mix this tournament. They seem to possess smarts in the field in abundance. But they could be searching for a while in their kit bags for any batting brains.
Sunil Ambris is the best example. As the marquee player and current West Indies international, Ambris presumably read the pitch from ball one and ensured his team used an army of spinners against Grenadive Divers. The move paid off as the Divers were bowled out for just 68. Five overs of tweak cost 30, including two from Ambris himself.
But when it came to the chase, Ambris was out stumped in the fourth over. Shouldn't he have been manipulating the field for ones and twos to make it a serene chase? On an outfield which looks as though it needs two cuts, boundaries could be tough to come by.
Spinners hold the key
A reminder 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.
As we said in our preview for game one on Saturday, this surface looks deathly slow. It should be spin all the way and the team that recognises that, and wins the majority of tosses, should build up a head of steam.
The challenge in T10 is to work out a good score. We need more evidence that this pitch is slow but, at the moment, nine an over should be competitive. Even more so as the pitch wears with three games a day across two, possibly three, strips.
Rangers too skinny for support
The match odds market was impressed by the Breakers in game one. So much so that Ambris's men are as short as [1.60] on an early show with the Strikers out at [2.40].
We expect the pair to come closer together before the off but even if the Breakers came into [1.80] we'd be looking to lay them with the chase against them. They bowled well but there were caveats galore in their success against the Divers, notably why on earth Kesrick Williams's team chose to bat first.
In the chase the Breakers were far from convincing and we'd like to see more smarts with the willow before we get involved at such prohibitive pricing.
Cricket...Only Bettor introduces you to the Vincy Premier League
Lay Breakers at 1.80 or shorter batting first in-play