The Friday night bonanza is coming to an end. With just one round of fixtures left, the 2015 Natwest T20 Blast Group Stage is coming to its climax after more than two months of slogging, sledging and a bit more slogging. But fear not, the knockout stages are imminent!
But who will be there when the “business end” of the tournament gets underway? DEC’s Ross Lawson has the permutations guide ahead of a bumper Friday night of action, looking not only at who can still make it, but who’s set for the advantage of a home quarter-final.
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Birmingham and Worcestershire have already qualified, while Durham, Leicestershire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire have fallen at the first hurdle.
It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that three teams fighting for two places just doesn’t add up. Northants currently occupy the box seat, one point better off than their rivals, with a win from their game at home to already-eliminated Durham sealing their spot in the last eight. Should the Steelbacks slip up, then David Ripley’s side will require victory from one of Leicestershire or Worcestershire in their games against Nottinghamshire and Lancashire respectively.
Lancashire currently occupy fourth spot in the North Division, with a win away at Worcestershire almost certainly giving them a place in the next stage. That is unless Nottinghamshire also win and also gain a swing in their Net Run Rate. A defeat for Northants coupled with a Lancashire win would see the Lightning progress regardless of events with the Outlaws. Lancashire can also progress with a defeat, but would need Leicestershire to help them out by beating Nottinghamshire at Grace Road.
Nottinghamshire are the team most in danger of missing out as, despite sharing the same amount of points as Lancashire, the Outlaws harness an inferior NRR. A win at Leicestershire would therefore not be enough, as they would require one of Northants or Lancashire to lose or for the latter’s NRR to take a significant dip. A defeat at Grace Road would almost certainly see James Taylor and co. eliminated, unless Lancashire also loss and, again, suffered damage to their Net Run Rate.
Seems simple, right? With rain around on Friday evening, that could throw a whole new spanner in to the works. A point could be enough for Northants, but if both Nottinghamshire and Lancashire win then the trio would battle it out on NRR, with all locked on 16 points. Lancashire would go out if their game was a no-result and both Northants and Nottinghamshire were to win, while the same can be said if Nottinghamshire were washed out and Lancashire were to win.
Birmingham and Worcestershire have both secured home advantage for the knockout stages. The former can also claim the North Group top-spot with a win at Yorkshire, but a defeat could allow rivals Worcestershire to take that honour when they host Lancashire.
- – Northants v Durham
- – Yorkshire v Birmingham
- – Leicestershire v Nottinghamshire
- – Worcestershire v Lancashire
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Kent have already qualified for the last eight, while Middlesex and Somerset can no longer qualify.
The South Group is a lot more open, with six teams fighting it out for three spaces in the quarter-finals. Hampshire are in the strongest place on 16 points, despite having played all of their games, and require just one of Sussex, Essex and Glamorgan to fail to win to make it through. Even then, only a mammoth swing in Net Run Rate would see Hampshire out.
A win for Sussex from their trip to Surrey will also confirm the Sharks’ progression, while a defeat would only see them eliminated if Essex and Glamorgan were both to win their games against Kent and Gloucestershire respectively.
Should Essex win their last game, then qualification would be confirmed if just one of Sussex or Glamorgan were to win. Wins for all three sides, however, would mean Net Run Rate would become a factor – an area Essex hold an advantage over Glamorgan in. Defeat for Essex would knock them out regardless of results elsewhere. That’s because a Glamorgan victory would put them to 16 points, while a Gloucestershire victory – in their game against Glamorgan – would see the Bristol side qualify due to their already superior NRR over Essex.
Glamorgan must win. It’s as simple as that. But even that might be enough if both Sussex and Essex were to win and the latter could hold on to their NRR advantage. A more realistic aim, therefore, is to try and topple Hampshire’s NRR if all three teams (Glamorgan, Sussex and Essex) were to win.
A tough, but possible, task for Gloucestershire sees them needing to beat Glamorgan in their last group game while hoping that Essex lose to Kent. Should that happen, then the quarter-final place would be theirs.
Surrey are not to be discounted either, but they would need a minor miracle. They would firstly need to beat Sussex, then have Gloucestershire beat Glamorgan and Kent beat Essex, and then hope that they can gain a better NRR than Gloucestershire, Glamorgan and Essex.
Again, this discounts the thought of rain, and the forecast for the South of the country is pretty dreadful. Throwing Ties/No Results into the South Group poses too many possible scenarios, but the current top four of Kent, Hampshire, Sussex and Essex would prevail if no play is possible anywhere.
Kent have already secured a game at Canterbury, and have topped the South Group in the process. Sussex will join them with home advantage if they beat Surrey. If Sussex were to lose, then Essex would gain that accolade if they beat Kent. If Glamorgan were to win and Essex were to lose, they would then go into a NRR battle with Hampshire for the second spot.
- – Surrey v Sussex
- – Essex v Kent
- – Glamorgan v Gloucestershire
- – Somerset v Middlesex