Guyana Amazon Warriors take on Trinbago Knights Riders on Friday with the winner going through to the final of the Caribbean Premier League, where they will play St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
On the face of it, it appears to be a mismatch. Trinbago topped the table in the group section while Guyana scraped through to the play-offs, having won as many as they lost. Trinbago are no better than -137 (Ladbrokes, Coral) with Guyana +130 with Unibet and Bet365.
But it’s not a mismatch to us. This column tipped Guyana at the start of the tournament and we are delighted to see them in with a shout of lifting the trophy.
Although the respective positions in the group stages suggest it should be a formality, momentum has slipped away from Trinbago. They have lost their last two matches with their batting misfiring horribly. They could manage only 111 in response to the Patriots’ 149 and 120 replying to a poor Barbados total of 136.
Brendon McCullum, their firestarter, missed the defeat by Patriots with injury and he could be a doubt for this one, too. With 335 runs and a strike rate of 166 he leaves a major hole.
Guyana have found their mojo. They have won five on the spin in an incredible turnaround. Amazingly, it coincided with the loss of Martin Guptill, the skipper, who returned home for personal reasons. Guptill was a very big tick for betting Guyana in the first place.
His replacement was fellow Kiwi Luke Ronchi and he has been sensational, despatching fears over the boundary and beyond that Guyana were a batsman light. He has plundered 149 runs in three innings. In Chadwick Walton Guyana also have the highest runscorer in the tournament.
Walton is +300 with Paddy Power to top score for Guyana with Ronchi +350 with some of our green listed bookmakers.
Yet it is with the ball they really impress. Wily Sohail Tanvir is the top wicket-taker in the tournament with Rayad Emrit at No 4. In fifth position is Rashid Khan and he could well be the best player on the park on Friday.
Rashid, the Afghani, took a hat-trick against Jamaica to knock them out and book this semi-final. He has an incredible economy rate of 5.8 with his brilliant brand of spin.
Unsurprisingly the wicket at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad suits him. On a tacky, slow surface he could tie Trinbago in knots, especially with their confidence low.
Betway offer +1100 that he is named man of the match and that looks a cracking price considering what he did to Jamaica.