5/30/2018 0 Comments
By Mark Kidger (@MarkfromMadrid)
The rather bizarre scheduling of the Royal London One Day Cup continues unabated. Games are being played almost every day but, strangely, the one day with no ODC games at all was the Bank Holiday Monday. There must be some logic behind this, but as yet no one seems to have found it. We have now had two days with three and four games each, meaning that fourteen of the eighteen teams have a game, although the weather is playing an important part, with the majority of the matches were affected by rain. The ODC has a somewhat hybrid rain rule, with ten overs required to make a game in the Group Phases and 20 overs thereafter.
With the completion of today’s games, every team in the North Group bar Yorkshire will have just three games left (Yorkshire have two) while, in the South Group, three of the sides will have completed six of their eight matches. It is a good moment to take stock given that there is so much equality in mid-table in both groups. In fact, the South table has six of the nine teams tied on six points.
So, first, what are the criteria for ordering teams in the case of equal points. Section 16.11.4 of the Playing Conditions gives the criteria as:
1. Most wins in Group Matches.
2. Net Run Rate in Group Matches.
3. Most points in matches between the teams that are level.
4. Drawing lots.
In practice, it is incredibly unlikely that there will ever be a tie on NRR.
Let’s start at The Oval. Surrey hosted Sussex, but the game was called-off early as the playing surface turned into a boating lake.
Where it leaves the sides: One point each left Surrey 8th on 5 points and the worst NRR in the group although, with three games left, they are just 1 point behind Somerset in 2nd. Sussex are 6th, on 6 points, with two games left. Surrey are likely to need to win their last three games to qualify and, on the way, boost their NRR. Sussex need to win their last 2.
Much more exciting was the game at New Road, where Worcestershire hosted Leicestershire: not exactly two sides that you would have picked pre-season for high-octane excitement, but that did not stop the patrons seeing 756 runs in the day. Leicestershire made a fast start, and all the top six scored runs, with the lowest contribution Delport’s 20. Horton, Raine, Cosgrove and Ackerman all reached 70, with 75 runs coming from the last 38 balls of the innings as Leicestershire reached 376-4. In reply, Moeen Ali, playing his second ODC game after returning from the IPL where his returns were modest, fell for a 3-ball duck. But Callum Ferguson and Joe Clarke (Rikki Clarke’s little brother) added 140 in 20 overs and Worcestershire, remarkably, cruised to their target with nearly three overs to spare. Callum Ferguson scored 192, ably supported by fifties from Clarke, Mitchell and D’Oliviera. Ferguson fell with Worcestershire seven short of their target of 377 to win and got over the line in style, winning by six wickets.
Where it leaves the sides: Worcestershire top the North Group with four wins and 8 points and a positive NRR. Wins in two of their last three games will see them qualify, while even one win may be enough. Leicestershire are bottom of the group with one win, two points and negative NRR and would need a remarkable combination of results to qualify, even if they win their last three games by wide margins.
The deluge that ended any hopes of a game at The Oval took a little longer to arrive at Canterbury but duly did so, leaving Messrs Duckworth and Lewis in charge. After their high-powered start to the ODC campaign, Somerset are now slowing and have lost three of their last four games. A poor start saw them 17-2 and 65-5 in an innings reduced to 42 overs, staggering along drunkenly at 4-an-over. Renshaw and Gregory combined in a century stand, but there was little after that and 221 was never likely to challenge Kent, even after Daniel Bell-Drummond fell third ball. With rain approaching, Kuhn and Denly made sure that the scoring was brisk and, with play halted after 16 overs, were way ahead of their target of 61, on 88-1 and would have, most likely, cruised to a victory even without the rain.
Where it leaves the sides: Kent are 5th in the South Group with three wins and three games to go but a negative NRR. With just 1 point between second and 8th, that NRR may mean that they need to win all three games to progress. Somerset are 2nd by virtue of the best NRR in the group putting them top of the clatch of sides on 6 points but, with three defeats, will need to win their last two games and hope that results fall for them. Their fate may rest on Kent and Gloucestershire not winning their game in hand.
At Derby, where the 2nd in the North Group played Yorkshire in 3rd, the weather, played spoilsport. A win for Derbyshire would leave them almost guaranteed a Quarter-Final place, while defeat for the visitors would leave Yorkshire’s chances hanging by a thread. The umpires tried to start at 2:30 pm and held the Toss, but the rain returned. A new attempt was made at 3:15 pm in a game reduced to 24 overs, with Derbyshire sailing out of the blocks like Usain Bolt when he’s in a hurry, but the innings lost momentum as Yorkshire reeled them in and a final total of 189-6 was bitterly disappointing. When Yorkshire fell to 71-3, there was a window for Derbyshire to get back into the match, but Kohler-Cadmore and Ballance, who sound like a comedy duo, were short on laughs as they upped the scoring-rate, with Kohler-Cadmore offering several catches to spectators in the back of the Grandstand. However, just when it looked as Yorkshire would win with overs to spare, Olivier and Rampaul – not a bad pair to be able to call on when you need desperately a breakthrough – induced a collapse with three wickets falling for three runs in eleven balls, making Derbyshire firm favourites again. When Rampaul dismissed Kohler-Cadmore with the first ball of the penultimate over to complete a 5-wicket haul, it seemed that the match was over, but Matt Fisher came in at #10 and smashed 24 from 8 balls to win the game with a ball to spare. This was an extraordinary finish to a match that swung one way and another.
Where it leaves the sides: Derbyshire are third, with a game in hand over Yorkshire, who have moved into second. Yorkshire have the best NRR in the North Group and with two wins should qualify comfortably. However, just 2 points between 2nd and 6th mean that number of wins and NRR may be needed to separate sides.
In the clash of the bottom sides in the South Group, with both teams looking unlikely to progress, Essex hosted the only one of the 18 sides without even a point from an abandoned game. After a poor start and the fall of three quick wickets. Glamorgan tried to set up a platform, with Jamie Porter taking the top four in his 4-29, Ravi Bopara and Matt Coles strangled the Glamorgan middle order. Despite the efforts of Chris Cooke, without whom Glamorgan would not even have got close to 200, a total of 200ao never looked likely to be enough. Essex reached 50 in the eighth over and 100 in the sixteenth, as Varun Chopra and Adam Wheater took the Glamorgan attack apart to make sure that they were well ahead in Duckworth-Lewis should the rain return. The truth was that they could have stopped, mid-innings for a pie and chips and a pint and still won at a canter. An opening stand of 189 left the game done and dusted before Tom Westley came in and blasted a four and a six from his first four balls, effectively denying Chopra the chance of a century. The game ended with over 18 overs to spare and Chopra 98*.
Where it leaves the sides: Glamorgan were out, mathematically, even before this game, while Essex have jumped up into 3rd and given themselves a chance of sneaking into the Quarter Final if they can win their last two games, especially as this huge win has boosted their NRR. However, with two of the six sides tied on six points having a game in hand, even a wash-out would give those two sides an advantage over Essex.
At Merchant Taylors’ School, early drizzle led to a delayed start and a reduction to 45 overs. Middlesex, who have been Jekyll and Hyde in the competition this year, looked set for a good total as Eskinazi and Holden set about repairing a slow start. Reece Topley (who is coming back from yet another of the injuries that has plagued his career) and, more surprisingly, James Vince, halted the Middlesex momentum. Seven batsmen got starts, but no one could make a significant score and Middlesex fell short of 200 when 250 looked like the minimum necessary to make a game of it. Middlesex needed to bowl out Hampshire to win and, despite a couple of wickets for Steve Finn, it never seemed likely to happen, with the batsmen staying comfortably ahead of the RRR. Even the fall of three quick wickets to leave Hampshire 140-5 was little more than an inconvenience as Adams and McManus brought the visitors home with more than six overs to spare.
Where it leaves the sides: A third defeat and a NRR inferior to Somerset have left Middlesex’s chances hanging on winning their last two matches and relying on other results to go their way. Middlesex are fourth still, but that position is precarious given their poor NRR and the fact that they are level with two sides who have a game in hand. Hampshire now have daylight at the top of the South Group table and should progress with one win from their last three games.
The televised game was at Edgbaston, with both sides embedded in mid-table and needing the win. Again, rain intervened, with play scheduled to start at 4:45 pm, after a delay of nearly 3 hours, an intention scuppered by more rain. A new start was scheduled for 6:05 with the same result. Then a start was scheduled at 7 pm. Again, rain intervened, this time, terminally.
Where it leaves the sides: The point for a wash-out is more use to Warwickshire than to Northants. Two wins from the last three games should see Warwickshire into the knock-out phase, while Northants need three wins and to boost their NRR, although two wins and a wash-out may be sufficient.
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