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Bears and Eagles in pole position

Yorkshire Bank

James Foster

James Foster aims to lead Essex to a semi-final place by beating Yorkshire in the final round of CB40 group games

Five teams still harbour hopes of progressing to the semi-finals as the Clydesdale Bank 40 enters the final day of group matches on Saturday.

Somerset's place in the last four was assured when they beat Surrey in a rain-affected match at Taunton last Sunday, while Yorkshire rubber-stamped their status as Group B winners by seeing off Northamptonshire at Wantage Road in midweek.

Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire enter Saturday’s clash at Edgbaston knowing a win for either side would secure them a place in the semi-finals as Group C winners.

The Bears currently hold a one-point advantage over their rivals, but the Outlaws would leapfrog them with victory.

Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire can all still take the fourth and final place, which will go to the best runner-up from the three groups.

With Essex currently on 17 points in Group B, they will guarantee their place if they beat Yorkshire at Headingley Carnegie on Saturday in their final group game.

Even if they lose, the Eagles could make the last four if other results go their way, but first-team coach Paul Grayson is keen for his side to determine their own fate.

“We are in control of our own destiny and I’m happy with that,” he admitted.

“If we win we make it through to the semi-finals, but we have a tough hurdle to overcome because Yorkshire have been playing some terrific cricket in all forms of the game this year.

“They beat us by 10 wickets in the corresponding match at Chelmsford earlier in the year and also beat us in the County Championship at Scarborough, so we have a score to settle with them.

“I’m delighted with our one-day form at the moment. We beat Middlesex on Thursday with an excellent all-round performance to record our third win in a row and, although we will be without Ravi Bopara from now on, we have plenty of depth to our squad.

“Obviously we’ll miss him, but I’m delighted that he’s got his chance to play again in the England one-day squad.

“He deserves it - he’s a top-class player and has earned his opportunity to be back in the England set-up.”

Essex squad: James Foster (captain & wicketkeeper), Alastair Cook, Mark Pettini, Matt Walker, Ryan ten Doeschate, Grant Flower, David Masters, Chris Wright, Danish Kaneria, Tim Phillips, Adam Wheater, Tony Palladino, Maurice Chambers, Michael Comber.

Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen plays his second match for Surrey. Plenty is at stake as semi-final chasing Sussex need to win at Hove

Sussex head into their Group A match with Surrey at Hove knowing only victory will give them a chance of qualifying as the best second-placed team.

Kevin Pietersen plays the second match of his loan stint with Surrey. He will come up against England Test colleague Matt Prior, although Sussex are missing England one-day pair Michael Yardy and Luke Wright.

If Sussex fail to qualify for the last four, the match will represent James Kirtley's last for the county after a glittering career stretching back to 1995.

Sussex squad: Ragheb Aga, Joe Gatting, Murray Goodwin (captain), Andrew Hodd (wicketkeeper), Ed Joyce, James Kirtley, Chris Liddle, Chris Nash, Monty Panesar, Matt Prior, Ollie Rayner, Yasir Arafat.

Gloucestershire meet Northamptonshire at Wantage Road in Group B. Both Gloucestershire and the Sharks will need other results to go their way in the light of Essex overcoming Middlesex last night.

With Hampshire unable to make the knockout stages from Group C, Dominic Cork and Sean Ervine are rested for the Royals’ trip to Grace Road to play Leicestershire.

Neil McKenzie is asked to captain the side in his final match of the season for the club before he returns to South Africa to take part in the Champions League Twenty20.

Youngsters Benny Howell and Hamza Riazuddin also feature in the squad.

The Foxes are expected to put out a young side, and the club has reduced ticket prices to £5 for adults and free for children.

Acting chief executive Mike Siddall said: “We wanted to reward our supporters by making this special offer.

“With no Leicester City game this weekend and Leicester Tigers playing away on Sunday we are hoping for a good crowd for this season’s final one-day game against a Hampshire side that recently lifted the FP t20 trophy.”

Hampshire squad: Neil McKenzie (captain), Jimmy Adams, Liam Dawson, Benny Howell, James Vince, Michael Carberry, Michael Bates (wicketkeeper), Danny Briggs, James Tomlinson, Chris Wood, Phil Hughes, Hamza Riazuddin, David Balcombe.