Grenadine Divers v Salt Pond Breakers: Ambris could have bitter beginning

Sunil Ambris
Ambris is not a T20 player so could struggle
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Ed Hawkins casts his eye over game one in the Vincy T10 Premier League on Friday and says beware the side batting first...

"As Australia international Shane Watson said of the hit and giggle, why bat first when you can go hell for leather with ten wickets in hand from ball one in a chase"

Grenadine Divers v Salt Pond Breakers
Friday 22 May 13.30
TV: live on

The real McCoy?

The Divers have pinned their hopes on Obed McCoy as their marquee player, second draft pick Asif Hooper and Romano Pierre, an all-rounder with a solid reputation.

McCoy, a left-arm quick, has made two ODI and two T20 international appearances. Last season he excelled for the St Lucia Zouks, taking nine wickets in five matches. Had he played more, the Zouks probably wouldn't have finished second bottom.

Spinner Hooper is miserly. He has a domestic T20 economy rate of just 4.86 and dominated the one-day league on the island, topping the wickets list and his partnership with fellow twirler Richie Richards could be key. Pierre, Shem Browne and Tijourn Pope are their main batting hopes.

Ambris might not be suited

The Salt Pond Breakers were initially installed as tournament favourites by Betfair Sportsbook, but as discussed in our outright preview they have slipped in the betting.

They appear to be heavily reliant on Sunil Ambris for runs. The West Indies opener is a class act but he has not played T20 internationals, instead representing the islands in Test and ODI. Ambris was not required by the Zouks, either, in the Caribbean Premier League.

Left-arm quick Delorn Johnson appears more suited to the format, though. Vastly experienced, the 31-year-old has a wicket every 13.4 balls in domestic T20 with an economy rate of under eight.

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.

Confusion over a good score

The learning curve for T10 is steep. This is only the fourth year of the format's official existence so care is our watchword when it comes to wagering on the match odds.

However, we can be pretty confident that despite it being 'early days', the toss bias should not be sniffed at. Prior to the Abdu Dhabi T10 last year, the win rate for the chaser in all tournaments was a massive 70% and although that has dipped slightly we expect Vincy protagonists to struggle with the idea of what a good score is.

As Australia international Shane Watson said of the hit and giggle, why bat first when you can go hell for leather with ten wickets in hand from ball one in a chase. Indeed, 90% of captains who win the toss in T10 bat second.

Back side batting second [1.90] or better (0.5pts)">Pre-toss, then, there seems little justification for the Breakers being [1.87] favourites. It will be interesting to see if Grenadine settle at the [2.10] mark but we would be surprised if odds don't flip on the toss.

Hector to hector Divers

Ambris is likely to go off favourite for top Breakers bat with Sportsbook but he looks a poor wager if so. He has a strike rate of just 84 in T20. It has hard not to come to the conclusion that this won't be his format. Two to rival could be Rickford Walker, who was striking at 94 in this year's one-day league on the island and Donwell Hector who has a career T20 strike rate of 137. Make sure you also check Hooper's price for top Divers bowler, too as we expect McCoy to take up a chunk of the book. Hooper is an attacking spinner who has a superb record domestically.


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