Ed Hawkins is not impressed with the Hikers at short odds on Monday in the Vincy T10 Premier League at Arnos Vale...
"The Strikers have disappointed and there are concerns about bowling and batting strategy but can any team be a [2.4] chance in this format, particularly with the historic toss bias for the chaser?"
La Soufriere Hikers v Fort Charlotte Strikers
Monday 25 May 15.30
TV: live on YouTube (search LSH v FCS)
Hikers lose footing
The Hikers stumbled on their bid to reach the peak that is the play-offs in the Vincy Premier League against Salt Pond Breakers. They need to regain their footing and press on after what was a thrashing in this format.
Around the park their bowlers went as Sunil Ambris and Kadir Nedd took them to task and after looking so solid with two wins out of two, they will wonder - as most of us do - how they came to concede 132.
There were some eyewatering figures with Dean Browne's two overs costing 28 and Kenson Dalzell going for 26. And they were never in the hunt after marquee player Desron Maloney was run out after just four balls.
Probable XI S Browne (wkt), Maloney, Douglas, D Browne, Bentick, Haywood, Harry, Williams, Hackshaw, Dalzell, Lewis
Strikers in a muddle
The Strikers have lost all three matches. The latest defeat came by the hand of Grenadine Divers, who romped home by 22 runs after tucking in to a bowling line-up which has underperformed.
With Keron Cottoy, Rasheed Fredericks and Sealron Williams, Strikers should be tighter in the field. But at least Cottoy produced a strong performance with the ball. His two overs cost only 15 and having been critical of his contribution previously we have to be fair and doff the cap. The rest? Not so much. A total of 114 was always going to prove challenging.
That's because the Strikers batsmen don't seem to know whether to stick or twist. Against Salt Pond they were undone by an all-out pace attack. Against the Divers it was spin. Asif Hooper's two overs cost only four runs. When a team needs almost 11.4 an over that is unheard of.
Probable XI Pope, Scott, R Williams, Stowe, Cottoy, Lavia, Walters, Fredericks, S Williams, Ray, Jordan
Batters to the fore
Day three was the first day of the tournament that bowlers in all three matches were put to the sword. That gives the scores a topsy-turvy look. The first-innings scores (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) at the Vale so far read: 132-1/114-1/104-1/66-2/88-1/109-1/75-2/70-2/68-2.
Could be a blip. But we'll have to wait and see. The rationale mind will reckon that a wicket that is getting plenty of wear and tear with three matches a day will, at some point, get slower and lower. Until we can be sure it's hard to play the innings runs but there's plenty of time on our side with games coming thick and fast.
Before this competition there had 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.
Do you want to bet the Hikers at as short as [1.64] after their hammering on Sunday? Nope, didn't think so.
Sure, the Strikers have disappointed and there are concerns about bowling and batting strategy but can any team be a [2.4] chance in this format, particularly with the historic toss bias for the chaser?
We're inclined to think not. Taking such skinny prices so early on in a tournament, you may as well write mug on your forehead in marker pen. There's some room in that Strikers price if the flip goes their way and they chase, particularly with Gidron Pope looking more fluent up front.
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Back Strikers chasing @ 2.4 or better in-play