Australian players in the counties July 3, 2008

Law and Di Venuto through to quarters

Cricinfo staff


Lancashire's Stuart Law is still in the hunt for Twenty20 glory © Getty Images
 

There were broad smiles back in January when Victoria and Western Australia qualified for the Twenty20 Champions' League as the thoughts of the $5million-cashpot beckoned. Now, although a pair of Australian players, Stuart Law and Michael Di Venuto, are theoretically one step closer to shooting for the target after reaching the English quarter-finals following this week - they still have no idea whether the counties will be allowed in.

Theirs is not to question, however, theirs is just to do. They did - and Di Venuto will now fly the flag with Durham who have a home tie against Yorkshire after topping the North group. Law's Lancashire will take on Middlesex meaning at least one Australian will feature on finals day. Dirk Nannes, who is in the Middlesex squad, is already through to the Champions' League with Victoria.

Law led well, while his batting contributions were mixed. Against Nottinghamshire, he made 6, one of Darren Pattinson's two wickets when Lancashire came out the better at Old Trafford. He then needed only to support Lou Vincent's magnificent hundred, with 19 not out in a nine-wicket stroll against Derbyshire also at Old Trafford.

Di Venuto made 17 against Yorkshire in Durham's eventual D-L win at Chester-le-Street. His duck, and that of his opening partner Phil Mustard didn't end up costing Durham who snuck a 16-run win D-L win against Derbyshire at Derby.

Nannes didn't play in Middlesex's past few games, including their final match against Surrey at The Oval, while Matthew Nicholson bowed out after taking part in only one match of his side's gutless campaign.

Ian Harvey and Sean Ervine missed out as Hampshire were pipped at the post. In their final game, Harvey made 17 and Ervine 15 as they slumped to 105 all out in reply to Essex's 159 in Chelmsford. Ervine's 28 was part of a tie with Essex at the Rose Bowl. Earlier, Harvey took a wicket and made 34 to beat a sorry Surrey at the Rose Bowl while Ervine managed 4.

Justin Langer's Somerset bowed out after a washout at Northampton ruined their last remaining hopes of qualification. They had to beat Northamptonshire to stand any chance, but when Langer fell to the first ball of the match, their hopes took an early setback. Neither was his 22-ball 44 enough for Somerset when they earlier lost to Warwickshire with two balls remaining at Edgbaston.

Of the other state-qualified players, Adam Voges made 10 in the Lancashire match but struck an impressive 59 against Leicestershire, keeping his wicket as all round him were losing theirs, until falling with his side agonisingly close at Grace Road. In his last game, which could be his last until the Champions' League, he top scored with 39 in a nine-wicket loss against Yorkshire at Trent Bridge.

Marcus North timed an unbeaten 25 to hunt down the target of 131 against Glamorgan at Bristol, but his Western Australia team-mate Steve Magoffin captured him for 1 as Gloucestershire sank to 93 at Bristol.

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