Ed Hawkins previews what could be a run through of the final in the Vincy Premier League on Wednesday...
"Hikers were never in the hunt with the game over by the seventh over with key man Maloney the second wicket to fall. In the end they went down by 25 runs"
La Soufriere Hikers v Salt Pond Breakers
Wednesday 27 May 17:30
TV: live on YouTube (search LSH v SPB)
Ambris running the show
With five wins from five the Salt Pond Breakers are assured of a semi-final spot. There is no doubt they are the best team in the competition.
The challenge, then, is to guard against complaceny and ensure they don't lose momentum. Runaway leaders in the past in T20, for example, have played fast and loose with such concepts by shuffling batting orders, resting players and the like. Rarely does it pay off.
Last time out Dark View Explorers were swotted away by seven wickets. Not content with scoring the bulk of their runs, Sunil Ambris now opening the bowling. His two overs for eight runs against the Explorers set the tone.
Probable XI Ambris, Nedd, Hector, Walker, Johnson, Sween, Thompson, Stapleton, Layne, Harry, Strough
Williams to the rescue
Hikers are four wins from five. They have also proved to be a cut above their rivals and while Botanic Gardens Rangers, Dark View Explorers and Grenadine Divers battle it out to try to avoid a semi-final against the Breakers, this lot probably won't care who they face.
On Tuesday against the Divers they were either guilty of a carefree approach or showed tremendous nerve. Having posted 98, thanks to late hitting from Desron Maloney (what was he doing down at No 6?) they looked beat with Alex Samuel cutting lose.
Somehow they defended 16 from the final two. Easily, in fact, conceding just eight. The death bowling of Othneil Lewis has proved to be quite something.
Probable XI S Browne (wkt), Maloney, Douglas, D Browne, Bentick, Haywood, Harry, Williams, Hackshaw, Dalzell, Lewis
The first-innings scores (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) at the Vale so far read: 101-1/73-2/98-1/86-1/84-1/104-1/132-1/114-1/104-1/66-2/88-1/109-1/75-2/70-2/68-2.
As discussed ion Cricket...Only Bettor (see below), the toss bias is a puzzle in the Vincy Premier League. As the side batting first dominates (at odds with the 67% bias for the chaser in previous T10 competitions) one possible reason is the dominance of the Breakers and Hikers. They're too good they're skewing the trend.
More likely is that the wear and tear on a pitch which is being used three times a day is proving the downfall for teams under the pressure of a chase.
In T10's short history scores of 100 are enough 60% of the time. But bust 110 and a team wins 80% of the time. More than 80 in this tournament has been enough in the Vincy 100% of the time.
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.
Six up Breakers
This should be a dress-rehearsal for the final. Not that there is a huge chunk of evidence that it will be competitive.
When these sides met on Sunday, Breakers dished out one of the most one-sided beatings so far. They amassed the highest score of the tournament (132) - and without losing a wicket. Ambris made 75 and Kadir Need a blistering 55 from 20.
Hikers were never in the hunt with the game over by the seventh over with key man Maloney the second wicket to fall. In the end they went down by 25 runs.
Not surprisingly, the market expects another Breakers win. They are [1.68]. We expect them to get it. We don't expect to get the price we want - around [1.80] - in-play to give us an interest.
Cricket...Only Bettor: The trends and key stats for the Vincy Premier League
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Back Breakers @ [1.80] in-play