July 8, 2012

Friends Life t20, Sunday July 8 2012

State of Play

State of Play

Here we go then, the final round of group matches in this season’s Friends Life t20. 11 counties are still alive, which of course means three are going to miss out on the quarter-finals. Deep breath...

Definitely through are Sussex who remained unbeaten with a washout at West End on Friday, they were on their way to victory again though, with 203 for 5 before the rain came. Also in the south group, Hampshire are definitely through; if they beat Essex today, or if the game is tied or abandoned, they will qualify in second place. If they lose, Essex could pip them to second place if the net run-rates of both teams swing in Essex’s favour. In that instance, Hampshire would go through as one of the best third-place teams.

In the North group, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire are through. Yorkshire will win the group if they beat Derbyshire at Headingley. If they lose and Notts beat Leicestershire at Trent Bridge, Notts will win the group by virtue of a better net run-rate. Yorkshire would still get a home quarter-final providing Hampshire (who have to beat Essex) do not improve their net run-rate to better the White Rose.

Durham have to win at home to Lancashire and hope Hampshire beat Essex to be guaranteed a best third-place spot. They could also beat one of the sides from the Midlands/West group to a best-third place but they would need to improve their net run-rate significantly.

Lancashire can also qualify on net run-rate if they win and Essex lose.

Things are much more complicated in the Midlands/West group where five teams can still qualify. Whoever wins between Worcestershire and Somerset at New Road will go through to the quarter-finals. If Warwickshire beat Glamorgan they are also through. It would then come down to net run-rate to decide who wins the group.

If Warwickshire lose, they need also need Gloucestershire to lose at Northants. They would then qualify in second place if their net run-rate can better the loser at New Road. If it does not, they need Durham to lose to qualify as a best third-place. If Durham win, Warwickshire need their net run-rate to better Durham or they need Essex to lose.

Still with me...

Gloucestershire will go through if they win at Wantage Road. They will qualify in second place if Warwickshire lose or as one of the best third-placed teams if Warwickshire win. They cannot qualify if they lose at Northants.

The loser between Worcestershire and Somerset will go out if both Gloucestershire and Warwickshire win. If both of those teams lose, they will go through in second place (barring a net run-rate disaster). If just one of them loses they can still go through as a best third-place if Essex or Durham lose.

If Essex and Durham win it comes down to net run-rate. If Gloucestershire lose, the loser of Worcestershire and Somerset needs their net run-rate to better Durham. If Warwickshire lose they need their net run-rate to better both Warwickshire and Durham. Again, if both Gloucestershire and Warwickshire lose, the loser of Worcestershire and Somerset will qualify in second place barring a net run-rate disaster.

Gloucestershire could also still win the group and a host of other possibilities remain if ties or abandonments come into the equation. What price a drop of rain adding to what is set to be a real drama-filled afternoon?

Three groups are better than two

Even though this year’s Flt20 group phase has been quite a damp squib it has definitely been better than the longer, 16 match format. The travelling has been reduced for teams and supporters. There has been, only just, a little more breathing space in the fixtures. It has been an easier tournament to keep up with, less difficult to get bored with and, as the previous 600 words have shown, produced more drama on the final afternoon.

Clash of the Day

New Road is set to host a crucial tie between Worcestershire and Somerset. It a potential shoot-out for promotion. On paper, one would always back the Cidermen but defeats to Gloucestershire and Worcestershire at Taunton have rocked Somerset’s campaign. They could well be heading out of the tournament if they lose. And a defeat is not off the menu because Worcestershire have produced some fine cricket themselves in this competition, notably the highest score of 213 for 2 against Gloucestershire at New Road.

It is a big day for Worcestershire and their unfancied squad. Along with Yorkshire, they have the second-worst record in Twenty20, having only been to two quarter-finals and losing them both. Yorkshire are through to the next round already, can Worcestershire upset the odds and qualify too?

Trending: Andy Murray

Something always gets in the way of the cricket doesn’t it! European Championships, over, World Cup, not this season, Olympics, not yet, just when you thought the coast was clear for cricket to take centre stage, a British man reaches the final of Wimbledon for the first time in 74 years. Can you Adam and Eve it!

But we will all have one eye on the tennis today. For the final day of the Flt20 groups stage, as much as “We Love It”, you don’t have to go back to 1966 to find a bigger day in British sport in this country. Come on Andy.

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo