Birmingham’s one-run victory against Northamptonshire on Wednesday made them the Kings in the North. Their consistent performances confirmed that they will surely be in the top 2, thus ensuring a home quarter-final. However, Worcestershire’s Net Run Rate is superior to Birmingham’s, which presents the following scenarios – Birmingham will slip to second place if they lose to 8th placed Yorkshire, which is unlikely as Birmingham have won their last five T20 matches against a young Yorkshire team and Worcestershire beat Lancashire. whereas, a No Result game will guarantee Birmingham a numero uno position. This will also be Brendon McCullum’s final match for Birmingham before international duty makes him unavailable.
Worcestershire are now sure of a top-two finish and also a home quarter-final when Northamptonshire fell short by a solitary run against table toppers Birmingham on Wednesday. Worcestershire can still finish at the top of the pack if Birmingham are beaten by Yorkshire and Worcestershire beat Lancashire on the basis of a superior net run rate as both teams will end up with the same points. A No Result will prevent Worcestershire finishing first despite what happens to Birmingham. New Zealand player Colin Munro has left to join Black Cap’s preparation for their tour to South Africa so Worcestershire will be forced to make a few changes.
If Northamptonshire win against Durham they will finish at the third position. However, if they lose to Durham and both Lancashire and Nottinghamshire manage to win against their opponents, they will end up fifth. If Northamptonshire win and only one of either Lancashire and Nottinghamshire win, they will finish fourth at the table. If both Lancashire and Nottinghamshire win, a No Result for Northamptonshire will mean that the Net Run Rate will decide the fate of Northamptonshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.
Even if Lancashire beat Worcestershire, they will still not be guaranteed a place in the top four because if both Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire win by a big margin to move their Net Run Rate above Lancashire’s, Lancashire will move to fifth. However, if Lancashire win and one or both of Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire lose, Lancashire will move to the 4th spot. If all three, Northamptonshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire win, Lancashire will finish in the top four if they can keep their Net Run Rate above Nottinghamshire’s. A No Result against Worcestershire will guarantee them a fourth position if Nottinghamshire lose but if Nottinghamshire win, Lancashire will need Northamptonshire to lose for them to finish fourth.
If Nottinghamshire win against Leicestershire for what will be the fourth win in a row and one or both of Lancashire and Northamptonshire lose, Nottinghamshire will finish fourth. If Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and Northamptonshire win, then Nottinghamshire will have to pull up their Net Run Rate above Lancashire’s to end up fourth. If Nottinghamshire’s match is a No Result, then they qualify if Lancashire lose or if Northamptonshire lose and their Net Run Rate is lesser than Nottinghamshire’s .
Durham (6th), will play Northamptonshire and Leicestershire (7th) will play against Nottinghamshire, and will be missing Grant Elliot, the Irish duo of the O’Brien brothers and Rob Taylor who are on international duty whereas Nottinghamshire have named a full-strength squad .
Yorkshire (8th), playing Birmingham, are vying for places six to eight, while Derbyshire(9th), who have played their last match will finish last.
On next slide- South Group
Kent are guaranteed to finish as table toppers regardless of the result against Essex. Nevertheless, they have named a full-strength squad for the match.
Hampshire’s win against Somerset on Thursday in a nail biting match has kept their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive. Hampshire are sure to qualify if just one of Sussex, Essex or Glamorgan fail to win. If all three of them win then two of Hampshire, Essex and Glamorgan will proceed further on Net Run Rate.
Sussex will finish with a top-four finish if they win their match against Surrey. If either one of Essex or Glamorgan lose, they will qualify. If both Essex and Glamorgan win, then Sussex will either have to win their last encounter to qualify or get a No Result and sneak through on a superior Net Run Rate.
If Essex win against table toppers Kent, they will be through to the quarters by having a higher Net Run Rate than Hampshire, but if they lose they will be crossed by Glamorgan or Gloucestershire on points or Net Run Rate, depending on who wins that encounter, and move out of the top four. A No Result will be enough for them if Glamorgan lose or if Sussex lose and their Net Run Rate happens to drop below Essex’s.
If either Essex or Sussex lose, a win for Glamorgan will guarantee them a position in the top four. However, if all three of them win then Sussex will qualify and Glamorgan, Essex and Hampshire will be separated on the basis of net run rate to determine the top four. If Glamorgan lose, they will be out due to a lower Net Run Rate than Gloucestershire who would be level on points with them. A No Result would take Glamorgan through if Essex lose to Kent.
Gloucestershire still have a chance to qualify if they win their next against Glamorgan and Essex lose and will do so by possessing a superior Net Run Rate to Essex which will only be increased by a win for them and a loss for Essex. A No Result will eliminate Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger is the top run-scorer of the season and needs just 25 more runs to surpass the highest tally ever in a season of 653 runs, set by Jason Roy just last season.
Surrey’s shocking defeat against the bottom placed Middlesex took their fate out of their own hands and only a miracle would help them qualify. They are similarly placed to Gloucestershire, only with a less Net Run Rate and higher placed opponents. Surrey can qualify only if they win against Sussex and Essex lose against Kent, and Surrey manage to maintain a higher Net Run Rate than Essex, or if they win against Sussex and Gloucestershire win their match against Glamorgan but Surrey end up with a higher Net Run Rate than Gloucestershire . A No Result will eliminate Surrey.
Somerset (8th) play Middlesex (9th) with neither team making it the top four. Both teams have picked up young squads. Surprisingly, Somerset’s T20 captain Alfonso Thomas has been dropped after a poor season.