Barbados Tridents v Guyana Amazon Warriors
Saturday 21 September, 23:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Tridents in the mixer
The Tridents are in the mix for a play-off spot after beating the St Lucia Zouks early on Saturday. They barely broke sweat and having played only four matches, and recorded two wins, they will feel ideally placed for qualification particularly with the Zouks and Jamaica Tallawahs enduring miserable campaigns.
There were contributions from four of their front five with the bat – JP Duminy the odd one out with a low strike rate of 100 – and that's a great sign that they are not reliant on firestarters in the opening berth or one lone hitter.
We can't get too carried away with their bowling effort, though. Not that it's their fault. They bowled out the Zouks for 101. This sounds and looks impressive until you remember that the Zouks are hopeless.
Sandeep Lamichhane, one of our favourite players, and Jason Hodler are dovetailing well. With a decent team ethic they could yet spring a surprise or two.
Visitors need to work on bowling
Guyana boast five wins from five and they are our outright tip for glory and finally ending their record of forever the bridesmaid, never the bride. Of course, it would be typical if they let slip a poor performance to push their outright price out a bit just after we've backed them.
Enough about insecurities and foibles, though. Man for man they are the best team in the tournament and have every base covered from fast openers, middle-order class, late hitters and, crucially, the best bowling attack in the tournament.
It is bowlers who win franchise tournaments and we would be surprised if Imran Tahir, Qais Ahmed, Chris Green and Roamrio Shepherd do not combine for glory.
Last time out against the Tallawahs they produced a strong display, winning by 81 runs. Shoaib Malik was the star with runs, a miserly over, catches, a run out and shrewd captaincy.
Won by the chaser
This is the first match to be played at the Kensington Oval this term. The first-innings scores in the last two tournaments (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 128-2/136-1/195-1/158-1/135-2/165-2/151-2/128-2/147-2.
What is curious about that set of numbers is that all of the 2017 matches were won by the chaser. And all but one of the 2018 matches were won by the team batting first. Guyana have won on their last two visits, bowling out the Tridents for just 59 last season.
No room for Tridents wager
The Tridents are [2.50] with Guyana [1.52}. That is what the prices should be given the form and balance of the two teams.
It's a shame that 2017 toss bias didn't hold because we would have made a case for the Tridents with the toss in their favour. If the ball can hold up a bit off the surface, then Lamichhane is a big threat with scoreboard pressure. Of course, it is tacky then Tridents are in a spot of bother themselves with that Guyana spin attack to the fore. They are to be taken on in a chase if [1.7] Guyana comes.
Lamichhane is expected to go off at around 11/4 with Sportsbook for top Tridents wicket-taker. It would be interesting to see the Warriors given a taste if their own medicince on a spinning wicket. Of course, it could backfire in the short term but long term Tridents will reckon they have a good combination of bowler and pitch to send them shooting up the league. It would be surprising if they don't give Lamichhane what he needs.
Keep an eye on Pooran
We've struggled to find an edge on the Tridents top batter market all season. And the same goes for Guyana. For the latter we're waiting for the right sort of price about Nic Pooran, who has been put in the shade somewhat by Brandon King, Chadrapaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetymer and Shoaib. It's a terrific batting line-up. Shoaib top scored last time but we'll be play Pooran if 6s comes with Sportsbook.