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State of Play
It’s the final week of matches coming up so high time to take at look at the standings. Starting up north, Yorkshire lead the way, two points clear of Nottinghamshire who are separated from Durham by a point and from Lancashire by a further point. Durham only have two games remaining, Yorkshire and Lancashire thee and Notts four, so they’re in a very strong position. Derbyshire and Leicestershire are out of contention.
Down South, unbeaten Sussex are pretty much through with 12 points already on the board. One more win from their last three matches will confirm their progress and leave Hampshire having to win all their remaining three games to overhaul them into top spot. One more win for Hants should see them through too. Both Essex and Kent are facing knockout cricket with three games to play.
In the other group (a much better title than its actual name) things are rather tighter. Somerset and Warwickshire lead the way with 10 points apiece but Worcestershire one point back and Gloucestershire four points back both have two games in hand and could get involved in the shake up. One of the two best third-place counties should come from this group.
T20 is said to be a more complex version of baseball so here’s a table borrowed from the MLB wildcard standings to show who’s winning the race to qualify as one of the two counties from outside the top two in each group.
Of course teams can leave and enter this table according to their standings in their groups as the week progresses. As things stand, Worcestershire and Durham would also qualify.
FLt20 Wildcard Table
Team -- Pld -- Pts -- Net Run-rate 1. Worcs ---- 6 --- 9 --- +1.063 2. Durham -- 8 --- 8 --- -0.284 3. Lancs ---- 7 --- 7 --- +0.198 4. Gloucs --- 6 --- 6 --- -0.184 5. Essex ---- 7 --- 6 --- -0.350 6. Derbys --- 8 --- 5 --- -0.474 7. Kent ----- 7 --- 5 --- -0.975 8. Glam ---- 6 --- 4 --- -1.147
Clash of the Day
Not the most glamorous of ties perhaps but a crucial match nevertheless down at Bristol where Gloucestershire, more so, and Glamorgan, still just about, are in the qualification shake up. Glamorgan will probably need to win their remaining four games to be in with a sniff but if they can turn over their rivals from over the Severn they could gain some confidence and momentum. Many people have said what a dangerous T20 side Glamorgan look on paper and it’s about time they started delivering.
Gloucestershire have been very quiet on the T20 front since reaching the 2007 final but their young squad now has a couple of years experience and their hammering of Somerset at Taunton on Friday shows they can play the shortest format of the game. They will probably need two wins from the final four matches and will target tonight’s match and Wednesday’s final home match against Worcestershire – a major qualification rival – as the fixtures to put them on course for a quarter-final.
(Not the) shortest format of the game
Loughborough University decided to take the shortest format of the game to new, exciting, dramatic levels designed to revolutionise the sport last week by playing a game of T20 but instead of stopping after 40 overs and three hours, they carried on, for another 147 hours. How about that for a new form of the game: non-stop cricket?
The 150-hour marathon broke the world record for the longest continual cricket match. The game began last Sunday and each innings lasted four hours with only a five-minute drinks break allowed each hour. Most of the players took a week’s holiday to play and the only opportunity to sleep was when their team was batting. But one batsman decided to forego shut eye to make the highest score of his career – 302 not out, made between 2am and 6am. I always like to face bowlers who are ready for bed, too.
They still have enough quality to stay up in the Championship and a good run in the FLt20 could be the impetus they need to get them back into some form – the opposite of Northamptonshire last season. Last night they dispatched the reigning champions Leicestershire with a good performance from Ben Stokes who is many people’s hope to become the missing link in the middle order for England in Test cricket. He picked up a couple of wickets and then went four, six to win the match.
Player of the Day
Moeen Ali has so much talent with the bat. He is a graceful player of fluent strokes and coupled with his offspin, where he gives the ball some air, he has been widely tipped for England honours but this season he only has a modest return from the first half of matches. However, in T20 Moeen has done okay and is starting to find some form – 157 runs at 31.40. Yesterday he played his best innings: two sixes, six fours, taking just 23-balls to reach 47, giving Worcestershire a flying start then Moeen’s 2 for 14 helped them defend the total with ease. Hopefully more of the same from a very capable cricketer.
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