Southern Vipers’ glove-butler Carla Rudd has told CRICKETher that, after their defeat to Western Storm, they are determined to bounce back and top the group table, giving them a semi-final “bye” straight to the final at Chelmsford next weekend.
With only 3 teams qualifying for Finals Day, the second and third-placed teams will play a semi-final in the morning to determine who will face the top-placed side in that afternoon’s final.
There has been some debate about the advantages and disadvantages of finishing top. There is obviously one less hurdle to leap towards the title on the day, but the team that comes out of the semi-final will have had an opportunity to get the pace of the pitch, and will also have the confidence boost of being “on a roll” after their semi-final win.
But for Rudd and the Vipers the bye to the final is key – something they will effectively* play-off for against the Lightning on Sunday at the Ageas Bowl.
“We are looking to bounce back and win on Sunday,” said Rudd. “There’s been a bit of debate [about the advantages and disadvantages of finishing top] but we want to be top and win, definitely.”
* Theoretically, Western Storm could still top the table too, but without the intervention of the weather (fingers crossed) it would require them to record a HUGE victory against the Diamonds.
I think the combination of the short format and the short 5 match league mean there is no bonus from the rest gained from the ‘bye’. The main benefit is not having to risk being knocked out in the semi. If and when we get a 50-over version and the T20 league is home and away, sheer amount of cricket may mean that the ‘bye’ is more useful in itself. Other options the organisers could try is some sort of trophy or ‘shield’ just for finishing top of the group stage. Need more prize money for that though!