Ed Hawkins, fresh from big winners in game one, finds two more value top bets for the action on Thursday night from Providence...
"The best advice is to hope for a reasonably strong Stars start when the ball is hard and hope that Guyana price comes up again"
Guyana Amazon Warriors v St Lucia Stars
Thursday September 5, 23:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket and Mix
Spin it to win it
Guyana have lost four finals in six years. In an attempt to end that dispiriting sequence they have loaded up on bowlers. This is probably the best all-round attack in the competition.
Imran Tahir, Chris Green and Shadab Khan are an embarrassment of riches in the spin department while Ben Laughlin, canny with pace and variation in his excellent career with Adelaide Strikers, will be the fast-bowler leader.
With slow left-arm Veeraswamy Permaul, Afghan Qais Ahmed and Pakistan's Shoaib Malik also available for spin, it is, though, worth wondering whether they are unbalanced. Skipper Green is a certain starter, likewise Laughlin, so that leaves a conundrum for the final two overseas spots.
Tahir was top wicket-taker last season so surely he plays? Shadab, then, could be the man to miss out because they are likely to need Shoaib's experience in the middle-order. The batting could be flaky.
Nic Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer are big hitters and Guyana's challenge stands or falls on how these two adapt to the notoriously sticky Providence wicket. Brandon King will need a big season after switching from Jamaica.
Stars in a state
The Zouks are already in a state of chaos before a ball has been bowled. Lasith Malinga will not be taking part and his pace partner, Beuran Hendricks, is out of the tournament, too while Cameron Delport's stint is unlikely to materialise. And don't forget they've lost Kieron Pollard to Trinbago.
There has been a shuffling of the pack, then. Hardus Viljoen, Colin de Grandhomme, Fawad Ahmed, Najibullah Zadran and Thisara Perera are the five overseas players battling for four spots. Zadran will have to miss out it seems when De Grandhomme arrives from New Zealand's tour of Sri Lanka.
Of the domestic talent, Andre Fletcher and Kesrick Williams are reliability personified with bat and ball respectively. Then it's down to Darren Sammy showing astute leadership because he does noth-ing else - 39 runs in eight matches last term and he didn't bowl.
Huge toss bias
Providence is a notorious venue for slow, tacky wickets which make runscoring difficult. Justified? Well, there wer decent scores last season (most recent first-innings scores first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second): 191-2/122-2/154-2/173-2/185-1/141-1/146-2. Those make for an average of 158 which was more than 20 runs bigger than the previous average. There is a massive toss bias, though, of approaching 67% for the team batting second.
Guyana could turn the screw
Guyana are [1.79] with St Lucia [2.24]. That's a good price about the home team if they were batting second. But at this stage they're not and if the flip goes their way they'll be considerably shorter.
The best advice is to hope for a reasonably strong Stars start when the ball is hard and hope that price comes up again. Over the course of the 20 overs we would expect Guyana to get a grip with their spinners and we're not sure Stars have the smart to counter that.
Two more terrific tops
We made a terrific start with our tops bets for the tournament in game one when Kieron Pollard took top-bat honours for Trinbago at 7/1 and Sheldon Cottrell shared a dead heat at 5/2 for top bowler. Who to follow this time? Luckily we have two more corkers.
If Pollard had the biggest odds swing in our favour, then Fletcher has the best two-year data hit rate in the tournament at 42% for top bet. Sportsbook's 16/5 is therefore a bet that he Stars. Williams faces competition for top Stars bowler from Fawad but the 10/3 has big appeal when he wins as often as a 5/4 chance.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l