The Royal London One-Day Cup has reached crunch time, and what a competition it has been so far.

Both groups finished in thrilling fashion earlier this week, with qualification for the knockouts going right down to the wire.

Look at Yorkshire, for example, they went into last night’s final North Group clash with Northamptonshire knowing they could finish anywhere in the top three qualifying places or be knocked out altogether.

In the end, Hampshire and Worcestershire qualified directly through to home semi-finals the week after next, while Yorkshire, Essex, Nottinghamshire and Kent will all play eliminator matches for the right to face them.

But how have all sides secured knockout cricket?


Craig White’s men finished top of the South with five wins from their eight matches.

They had already qualified for the knockouts prior to their final group game against Somerset at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday, a thriller which they lost defending a target of 357.

But results elsewhere ensured they secured top spot.

It has been a collective effort from Yorkshire’s potential semi-final opponents, with only captain James Vince (333) topping 300 runs, while leg-spinner Mason Crane leads the way with 14 wickets.

Hampshire are expected to have South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn available for the semi-final, as well as the pink ball Championship match against Yorkshire at the Ageas Bowl between June 20-23.


The North Group winners and other semi-finalists await the winners of Nottinghamshire v Kent.

The Rapids won six of eight group games to finish top, including a one-wicket win over Warwickshire at Edgbaston last night.

They needed five to win with a wicket left and qualified as a result. But, had they lost, they would have been out and the Bears would have qualified.

They beat Yorkshire at Headingley by racking up 350 and have been boosted by the form of Australian batsman Callum Ferguson, who has scored 364 runs from just four matches, including scores of 192 and 159 not out, having replaced Travis Head.

They chased down an English List A record 377 to beat Leicestershire.


Yorkshire’s eliminator opponents at Chelmsford next Thursday finished second in the South, winning five and losing three.

Anthony McGrath’s men topped 300 three times, including in their final group game against Kent on Wednesday (337).

Opening batsman Varun Chopra is the third leading run-scorer in the competition with 491, including one hundred and three fifties.

Evergreen all-rounder Ravi Bopara has also been in sparkling form, scoring 393 runs and taking eleven wickets with his medium pacers – the latter being the joint best in the squad alongside New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner.

Essex face an interesting decision next Thursday.

Do they draft in Alastair Cook, who has been made available by the England management, for his first match of the campaign?


The Vikings qualified for next week’s semi-final eliminator match, an effective quarter-final, by winning their last four North Group matches, including Northants at Emerald Headingley last night.

Yorkshire have all the momentum, but they will have to cope with a host of international call ups hitting their team for Essex.

They are expected to be without Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Joe Root and Che Pujara due to England’s ODI series with Australia and India’s Test against Afghanistan.

That could change if England opt to release any players not selected to play in certain ODIs, but we will not know that until much closer to Thursday.

But, in Tom Kohler-Cadmore, they have one of the form batsmen in the competition with 451 runs, while opening partner Adam Lyth is not far behind with 401, including two centuries.


The reigning champions qualified by the skin of their teeth, and in second place in the North.

They started the final round of North Group fixtures outside the top three and faced a must win game with fellow hopefuls Derbyshire.

But they won that, chasing 111, by eight wickets with 38.1 overs to spare to boost their net run-rate enough to secure second place and a home eliminator match against Kent.

They posted a mammoth 409-7 in beating Leicestershire at Grace Road, while their clash with Yorkshire was washed out.

Captain Steven Mullaney and England seamer Jake Ball have been their standouts with 316 runs and 14 wickets respectively.


Kent’s record of five wins and three defeats was identical to second-placed Essex in the South, but they finished third via an inferior net run-rate.

Matthew Walker’s side suffered a final day defeat at Essex on Wednesday, but they had already qualified for the knockouts.

Former England one-day opener Joe Denly is in superb form at present and has scored 428 runs with two centuries.

Sam Billings is their captain, but his availability for the Trent Bridge clash depends on England commitments.

All-rounder Alex Blake has hit 17 sixes, the joint most in the competition alongside Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone.

New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry has been an inspired overseas signing. Blazing a trail in the Championship, he has also taken 14 wickets in the RL50 alongside team-mate Darren Stevens.

Arguably the dark horses for the title.

An image of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Adil Rashid, with the Yorkshire logo and Northern Diamonds logo in the middle

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