With the T20 Blast coming close to the end of the Group Stages, DEC’s Ross Lawson dusts off the abacus to see who can still qualify for the last eight, and what each county needs to do in their bid for the Promised Land of the quarter-finals.
The race to Final’s Day at Edgbaston on August 29 is well and truly on, with as many as 17 teams still mathematically bidding to reach the knockout stages, with some more in favour with the odds than others. But who will follow last year’s victors Birmingham in just over a month’s time?
The top four in each group will progress to the quarter-finals, with teams ranked by points. Should that fail to separate them, then net run rate will be factored in to the equation, with the drawing of lots required if NRR fails to eradicate the difference.
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Birmingham have already qualified for the last eight, while Derbyshire are no longer able to get beyond Round One.
Worcestershire have as many as one and a half feet in the quarter-finals, but their passage won’t be confirmed until they win one of their last two games against Derbyshire and Lancashire. Should they lose both of those, then they would miss out if Northants won two of their last three games, Lancashire won both of their last two games and Nottinghamshire completed the same feat. Lancashire and Nottinghamshire would also need a swing in the net run-rate. An unlikely scenario, but possible nonetheless.
Northants have the advantage of having one extra game to play, allowing them some breathing space in their last three games. Two wins would confirm the Steelbacks’ progression, but one win would be enough should one of Lancashire and Nottinghamshire fail to win both of their remaining fixtures. Defeat in all of their last three games could still see Northants through to the last eight, although that would require two of the following three criteria to be met:
- – Durham losing their other match (after beating Northants)
- – Lancashire losing both their remaining matches
- – Nottinghamshire losing both their remaining matches
Lancashire and Nottinghamshire possess identical records, with six wins and six victories apiece, but it seems only one of them will finish in the top four of the North Group. If both Lancashire and Nottinghamshire win their last two games, then net run rate will determine the progressor unless Northants lose two of their last three games – in which case, both sides would prevail. Two wins for Lancashire would almost certainly confirm their place in the last eight, with the Lightning boasting a superior NRR to the Outlaws.
Should Lancashire and Nottinghamshire both win and lose a game each, Durham would also be in contention with two wins – our good friend NRR would determine the outcome again -, while the Jets would prevail if they were to win both of their two games and Lancashire and Nottinghamshire were to lose all of their remaining fixtures. Durham can afford to lose a game, but would need a swing in their NRR coupled with defeats to Lancashire and Nottinghamshire as outlined previously.
Despite being just one place off the bottom, Yorkshire can still mathematically progress, but face a heck of a job to do so. The Vikings would need to win their last two games by hefty margins, and then hope that at least two of the following conditions are met.
- – Northants lose their other game (after losing to Yorkshire) and suffer a swing in their NRR.
- – Lancashire lose both their remaining games
- – Nottinghamshire lose both their remaining games
- – Durham lose both their remaining games
As Durham play Nottinghamshire on July 17, both of those sides cannot subsequently lose both of their games, while Northamptonshire also play Durham. It is still possible for Yorkshire, but only just.
Leicestershire sit above Yorkshire in the North Group, but have just one game remaining to stake their claim. A win is a must, while Lancashire and Nottinghamshire must also lose all of their games and Durham must lose their other fixture (having already beaten Nottinghamshire) for the Foxes to have a sniff. As always, they would also need NRR to go their way.
Birmingham have secured a home quarter-final already, while two wins for Worcestershire, or one win and a defeat for Northants, would give the Rapids home berth also.
Friday July 17: Northamptonshire v Yorkshire (Wantage Road), Birmingham v Lancashire (Edgbaston), Derbyshire v Worcestershire (3aaa County Ground), Durham v Nottinghamshire (Emirates Durham ICG)
Wednesday July 22: Birmingham v Northamptonshire (Edgbaston)
Friday July 24: Northamptonshire v Durham (Wantage Road), Yorkshire v Birmingham (Headingley), Leicestershire v Nottinghamshire (Grace Road), Worcestershire v Lancashire (New Road)
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Kent have already secured a place in the last eight.
It could hardly be tighter in the South Group. Four teams are locked together on 12 points, with just six points separating seven teams in the table. Sussex look the best set to join Kent in the knockout stages, with just one victory required to guarantee progression with two games left to play. A solitary defeat for two of Essex, Glamorgan, Surrey and Hampshire would also put the Sharks through to the next stage.
Gloucestershire, despite currently sitting in third place, are probably in the most precarious position of the four teams on 12 points having played a game more than their rivals. Gloucestershire do boast a stronger net run rate, however, and will almost surely need to beat Glamorgan to give themselves a chance at progression. A win would give them a strong platform, forcing Essex, Hampshire and Glamorgan to win at least one game to usurp them, although if both Essex and Hampshire were to win their two games and overtake Gloucestershire’s NRR, the West Country county would be out, but that seems an unlikely scenario.
A defeat for Gloucestershire would open the door to their elimination if just two of Essex, Hampshire, Glamorgan and Surrey – Surrey would need to win two games – were to prevail.
The fortunes of Essex, Glamorgan and Hampshire will become a fraction clearer after Friday’s, with all three counties playing, each currently locked on 12 points from six matches. Essex possess a better NRR, and in Middlesex and Kent, play two sides with very little to play for in the business end of the group stages. Hampshire will also be confident of their position, with two wins all but guaranteeing a place in the last eight, but with Glamorgan on their tails, not to mention Gloucestershire, the Royals can’t take anything for granted.
Surrey are also not to be discounted. The London county may have two points less than the main competitors, but have a game in hand too. Therefore, Surrey will likely need to win all three of their games, although they could still make it if two of Essex, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Hampshire slip up, with a reversal of NRR needed too.
On to Somerset now, who for starters need to win their remaining games, and hope that each of Essex, Hampshire and the loser of the Glamorgan-Gloucestershire clash loses their other games. A tall conclusion to say the least.
But that is nothing compared to Middlesex‘s task. Miraculously, their chances are not completely out of the water, but would need the following to happen to reach the last eight:
- – Kent beat Glamorgan OR Glamorgan beat Kent if Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire
- – Surrey beat Somerset
- – Middlesex beat Essex
- – Sussex beat Hampshire
- – Somerset beat Hampshire
- – Middlesex beat Surrey
- – Gloucestershire beat Glamorgan OR Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire if they beat Kent previously
- – Sussex beat Surrey
- – Middlesex beat Somerset
Not a lot then.
Kent have already secured a home quarter-final at Canterbury, with Sussex set to join them should they win one of their last two games.
Friday July 17: Kent v Glamorgan (Tunbridge Wells), Surrey v Somerset (Kia Oval), Essex v Middlesex (Chelmsford), Sussex v Hampshire (Hove)
Thursday July 23: Hampshire v Somerset (Ageas Bowl), Middlesex v Surrey (Lord’s)
Friday July 24: Essex v Kent (Chelmsford), Glamorgan v Gloucestershire (Sophia Gardens), Surrey v Sussex (Kia Oval), Somerset v Middlesex (Taunton)