Warriors looking good
Guyana are looking every inch the team that has made it to four finals in the Caribbean Premier League. On Saturday they despatched St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and they barely broke into a sweat.
True, the toss was in their favour on their home ground, but this was a significant victory. Guyana's problem in failing to ever lift the title has been their lack of batting might. They may have solved that issue.
For a start, their new-look opening pair of Brandon King and Chandrapaul Hemraj got them off to a rocketing start. This will give them a huge confidence boost going forward. And then Shimron Hetmyer proved once again that the home wicket is unlikely to nullify his hitting talent with 70 from 47. Nic Pooran didn't even get in.
Earlier, Shadab Khan and Chris Green had combined with spin to keep St Kitts in check. As we've said before, we're not sure how Imran Tahir will get into the XI.
Waiting on Hales?
This is Barbados Tridents' first outing in 2019 and it is about as tough an assignment as a team could get. One suspects they would prefer to go to Trinbago first up because at least the pitch there allows batters some free-thinking and rhythm.
The Tridents are depleted, too. Well, they should be. There is likely to be no Alex Hales who probably remains with the Nottinghamshire Outlaws after the opener's onslaught fired them to Finals Day. Barbados would have been hoping that AB De Villiers and Eoin Morgan would have had enough firepower to deliver their star batter earlier.
Instead they've got Hope. Shai Hope. And there's not much else which will worry bowling units. Johnson Charles has muscle and nuance but after that it appears they're reliant on hitters like Asif Ali, Jason Holder and Imad Wasim.
They've got more chance with the ball. Holder will lead a dangerous unit with Sandeep Lamichhane their greatest threat. Wahab Riaz will need to be at his quickest.
Don't forget bias
Here are the first-innings scores in the last two years (most recent first-innings scores first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second): 153-2/155-1/157-1/191-2/122-2/154-2/173-2/185-1/141-1/146-2. Overall the toss bias is still the most significant factor at 67%
Hosts look like value
Guyana are [1.75] with Barbados [2.26]. We're surprised Guyana are not in the [1.60] region for this one given their two strong shows so far and expected rustiness from Barbados. It's almost worth risking them pre-toss. Tridents, don't forget, managed only two wins last season.
However, it wouldn't be very bright to take on the toss bias so, as ever, the best advice is to wait and if we can get Guyana at similar odds batting second in-running, then we'll be happy.
Lamichhane a play
The audacity of Hope? Not quite. Shai is the favourite for top Barbados batter but his 20% return last year and a career return of 15% means Sportsbook's 11/4 is not for us. The same goes for probable opening partner Charles (4/1) who has three wins in 18 on two-year form.
For a top-bowler bet, look no further than Lamichhane for the Tridents. His biggest challenger is Wahab but if the Nepalese wizard is available at 3/1 or bigger – and he should be comfortably – then we have a bet on our hands with a 30% win rate.
Guyana have a big advantage over the Tridents insofar as they are two games in and know the pitch well. A surprise, then, that they are rated as big outsiders on the most sixes market with Sportsbook at 13/8. In Hetmyer and Pooran they have two of the biggest hitters around. Hetmyer hit 24 last season, second on the overall list. Pooran was not far behind with 18 when he was playing for Tridents.