Ed Hawkins previews game two from the T10 Vincy Premier League at Arnos Vale, St Vincent on Friday...
"In a new tournament and played under new rules (remember: no saliva on the ball) we would still expect the Vincy players to require time to adapt and formulate strategies"
La Soufriere Hikers v Botanic Gardens Rangers
Friday 22 May 15.30
TV: live on Dream11.com
Hikers may lack star quality
La Soufriere is an active volcano on St Vincent. It last erupted in 1979 and blows its top pretty much every century (although it had also gone off in 1971). What this means as an omen for the Hikers we're not entirely sure but after a solid draft they will be disappointed to be dormant.
Desron Maloney is their marquee player and one could be forgiven for not getting too excited about this late bloomer. He is 29 but only started playing representative cricket for the Windward Islands last year. The right-hander has no Caribbean Premier League experience and only made his first-class debut this year.
Instead, Deane Browne could be the one to watch with the bat. He has a strike rate of 154 in T20 cricket on the island and has been rapid in limited-overs matches, too. He will have to pick the odd wicket here and there, too. Bowling all-rounder Jeremy Haywood could be the glue that holds this crew together.
Williams leads Rangers
Botanic Gardens Rangers might just be the greatest cricket franchise name ever. And their squad selection did not stint on other opportunities for memorable names - Romel Currency, Romario Bibby and Joey Welcome are not likely to be forgotten.
The Rangers grabbed Kesrick Williams as a marquee pick and Williams is a favourite of this corner of betting.betfair. Williams, bizarrely, was involved in a spat with Kevin Pietersen who, before the Indian Premier League auction, said he was not "good enough" and the only thing special about him was "his celebration". KP referenced his 'notebook' sign when taking a wicket, harking back to when Williams and Virat Kohli had exchanges.
If Williams is getting under the skin of the likes of Kohli and Pietersen, he must be doing something right. He was a solid performer on the top bowler market in T20 for the Windies.
At 7/2 second favourites on the outright, the Rangers look a well-balanced out fit and should have too much for the opposition.
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.
As we have said in our outright preview and previews for other matches, it is really important to bear in mind a potential toss bias in this format. Previously in T10 leagues 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.
Rangers too skinny for support
At [1.77], the exchange is keen on the Rangers and that's not surprising considering the apparent differing quality of the two squads.
Still, betting before the toss has to be ruled out considering the bias already discussed. In a new tournament and played under new rules (remember: no saliva on the ball) we would still expect the Vincy players to require time to adapt and formulate strategies. We don't see why they would be exempt from every other T10 franchise previously struggling to know what a good score is.
Betting at odds as short as [1.77], then, would be unwise. Indeed, it's skinny enough to consider a lay if Rangers were to get as skinny batting first in-play.
Kes could fly
Williams is likely to prove a popular play for top bowler for the Rangers. His form in the moist recent editions in the Bangladesh premier League and Caribbean League suggest he will be the rightful favourite - three times he took three wickets in an innings in each edition. Converting a strike rate of 15.2 to around the ten or 11 required (each bowler gets no more than two overs) to be an impact player at this level and format really shouldn't be beyond him. We would expect Sportsbook to make him around 5/2 jolly.
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Lay Rangers @ [1.77] or shorter batting first in-play