We have reached the business end of the Royal London One Day Cup group stages and, with just one round of fixtures left to be played, there are no second chances.
Only six can reach the knockout stages for the opportunity to win the trophy at Lords on June 30th.
Such is complexity of the scenarios and potential qualifiers across both groups, you may be scratching your head about how your county can progress.
Do not worry, as we at Deep Extra Cover have the lowdown on every possibility, starting with the South Group, where the final round of matches are on Wednesday.
Seven sides still have something to play for in what is sure to be a day of cricket full of twists and turns.
It is important to say that if teams finish on the same number of points it comes down to number of wins first and then run rate second. That’s something certainly important to remember as it is very possible that this scenario could play out.
1st: Hampshire – 11 points
The equation for the current South Group leaders is rather simple, victory over Somerset secures them a home semi-final and puts them just one further win away from a first Lord’s final since 2012. Anything other than that, leaves their fate in the hands of Kent. Even an abandonment at the Ageas Bowl, would see them drop down to second on matches won if Kent were to beat Essex.
If Kent against Essex were to be abandoned, Hampshire would still need to pick up at least one point from their last game to stay top of the table as Kent have a better run rate. Of course, what all Hampshire fans will be hoping for is that Kent lose, as it would secure Hampshire’s place in the semi-final whatever their result is on Wednesday.
2nd: Kent – 10 points
After losing their first two games Kent have since been the form side in this competition winning five on the spin to secure their place in the knockout rounds. Though their route through the rest of the tournament all depends on the result of their trip to Chelmsford.
A win over Essex and they cannot finish lower than second, it may even see them to the top of the group if Hampshire do not beat Somerset. Defeat to the Eagles means that Essex could well climb above them in the table, dependent on run rate. Both sides have a very similar run rate, so unless Essex’s victory was by an extremely small margin Kent would still drop to third. Third would be enough to qualify but leaving them needing to win two away games in the knockout stages to reach Lord’s.
3rd: Essex – 8 points
Out of all the teams left in the competition Essex probably have the most to lose, they could finish as high as second and host a home play-off but to counter that, defeat to Kent and, if results go against them, they may finish as low as sixth.
No matter what the four sides below them do, by beating Kent, Essex are through. Moreover they will probably move to second in the South Group as they only have to overturn a very slender run rate advantage that Kent have.
If the weather were to intervene and their game were to be abandoned, a Somerset win would see Essex out of the competition while Surrey could also move above them in the table but only if they are able to hammer Glamorgan.
Defeat at Chelmsford would allow any of the four teams below them to leapfrog them into the final play-off spot.
4th: Somerset – 7 points
If Somerset are to reach the knockout stages in the One-Day Cup for the third consecutive year they have to beat Hampshire in the day’s televised clash. If Essex cannot beat Kent, then they will qualify as long as Surrey do not beat Glamorgan by a big enough margin to overturn the run rate advantage that Somerset already have. It does seem unlikely to happen though, as Somerset have the best run rate in the group, while Surrey the worst.
No other result will see Somerset through. Even if their match against Hampshire were to be abandoned and Essex were to lose, they would still be eliminated as the Eagles would have won more games than them.
5th: Surrey – 7 points
The bridesmaid but never the bride. Surrey have suffered three consecutive defeats in Lord’s finals. If they are to return to the Home of Cricket again this year, it is likely they will need a pretty big win over Glamorgan to improve their awful run rate.
In reality they will need to better Somerset’s result against Hampshire and hope that Essex lose to Kent. There is a scenario where they could finish on nine points with Somerset and qualify but as discussed above they need to comfortably beat Glamorgan.
6th: Gloucestershire – 7 points
Gloucestershire’s campaign has been the most disrupted of any team, with three of their matches being abandoned. One of which against Somerset, when just four more overs needed to bowled for a result in a match they had dominated and were almost certain to win. In their four completed fixtures, two wins and two defeats leave them needing all four results to go their way on Wednesday.
They first must beat Middlesex, and hope Kent defeat Essex and that Somerset and Surrey both fail to win their matches against Hampshire and Glamorgan respectively. That would leave them on nine points and in third place. The West Country side cannot finish on the same number of points as any other team and qualify, as they would have won less games.
7th: Middlesex – 6 points
Three wins in a row left Middlesex in a great position at the halfway point of the South Group, but three consecutive losses mean they are rank outsiders for qualification. Firstly they must win and hope Essex lose. Though not only do they need the Eagles to be defeated they also need to overturn a run rate of over 0.4 in the process.
Even that might not be enough, as like their opponents on Wednesday, a win for Surrey or Somerset would also eliminate them.
8th: Sussex – 6 points
Being the only side to have played all of their games and languishing eighth in the table, Sussex will not be progressing in this year’s competition. Two wins from their first three matches represented a good start to the tournament, but they are winless since and whilst two abandonments haven’t helped their prospects they can have no complaints.
9th: Glamorgan – 2 points
Unfortunately for Glamorgan, their place at the bottom of the South Group is already secured. A solitary win against Sussex is all they have to show for what has been a pretty dreadful campaign. They will be hoping for a better showing in the T20 when it starts in July.
South Group Final Round Fixtures
Gloucestershire v Middlesex (Brightside Ground, 2pm)
Hampshire v Somerset (Ageas Bowl, 2pm)
Essex v Kent (The Cloudfm County Ground, 2pm)
Surrey v Glamorgan (Kia Oval, 2pm)