The knockout stages have already begun for Derbyshire as they head for the Riverside to take on Durham tonight.
The knockout stages have already begun for Derbyshire as they head for the Riverside to take on Durham in the Twenty20 Cup tonight.
The victory over Nottinghamshire on Friday kept them alive but, quite simply, if they lose to Durham, it is all over anyway. In a tight group, even a shot at qualifying for the quarter-finals as one of the two best third-placed side from the three groups would be beyond them.
It would still be possible for Derbyshire to finish third by beating Durham, even if they lose their final game at home to Leicestershire on Thursday, but four points from five matches may not be enough for a quarter-final place.
If clubs finish level on points in their group, a mini-league of results involving those involved in the tie will decide who finishes highest and if that still fails to separate them, it comes down to overall run-rate.
At this stage, it is complicated picture but Derbyshire do not want to get involved in any of the permutations.
"If we win both our remaining games, we will be through," said director of cricket David Houghton.
"That's all we have to think about. It would be good to beat Durham and bring it back to our place with the opportunity to play for a place in the quarter-finals."
Beating Durham, however, will not be straightforward. Steve Harmison and Paul Collingwood's early release from England duties because of their failure to reach the NatWest Series final means they will be available to strengthen the home side, even though Shoaib Akhtar has now returned to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.
Also, Derbyshire do not have a great record at the Riverside and have already found out to their cost, in the totesport League this season, how erratic that wicket can still be.
Houghton, however, is unconcerned: "The pattern of our season is that we have been beating the sides with all the top guns," he said.
"As I have said before, if we play well, we will win. I would still like us to be more consistent but I'm pleased because I think we get better every time we go out there.
T20, Twenty20 and Twenty20 Cup are registered trade marks of the England and Wales Cricket Board Limited (the “ECB”).
Products and services on this website are not offered in connection with, or with the endorsement of the ECB