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ROYAL LONDON ONE-DAY CUP: All you need to know

The second tournament in the domestic cricket season begins this week as the 2018 Royal London One-Day Cup kicks off with five fixtures. Will Nottinghamshire be able to defend the crown they claimed in 2017?

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The second tournament in the domestic cricket season begins tomorrow as the 2018 Royal London One-Day Cup kicks off with five fixtures.

Will Nottinghamshire be able to defend the crown they claimed in 2017?

What is the competition?

The Royal London One-Day Cup is English domestic cricket’s List A, 50 overs a side, one-day tournament.

When does it take place?

The Royal London One-Day Cup runs in its own designated block on the county calendar from May 17, all the way through to the final at Lord’s on June 30.

The final, was moved from its traditional end-of-season slot in September last season as the county calendar was revamped to group the fixture lists of each different domestic tournament together.

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Who is involved?

All 18 first-class counties are involved in the Royal London One-Day Cup with the sides split into two groups of nine based on a geographical north-south divide.

Each side plays eight matches, one against every other team in its group, with every county receiving four home fixtures. The top team in each group automatically qualifies for the semi-finals while the second and third placed teams face off against their corresponding number in the opposite group in quarter-finals.

The winners both play one of the group winners in the semi-finals before the final at Lord’s.

What’s the format?

The Royal London One-Day Cup follows the standard 50 overs per side format where no bowler can bowl more than 10 overs. In each innings, the first 10 overs constitute powerplay one where only two fielders are permitted outside of the 30-yard circle, and two fielders must be in catching positions (within 15 yards of the centre of the pitch).

The second powerplay, which must be taken by the batsmen before the 37th over, comprises of four overs where there must be a maximum of three fielders outside of the 30-yard circle. Outside of these powerplays a maximum of four fielders are allowed outside of the 30 yard circle.

For any no balls bowled, two runs are awarded to the batting team, along with an extra ball. For front-foot no balls, the next delivery would be a free hit.

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How can I follow it?

The 2018 Royal London One-Day Cup can be followed on TV via Sky Sports Cricket (Sky 404) who will be showing selected fixtures including the opener as defending champions Nottinghamshire face Lancashire at Old Trafford live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.30pm BST tomorrow.

Other confirmed fixtures as of now include:

Durham vs Yorkshire - Friday May 18 on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.55pm BST

Hampshire vs Surrey – Monday May 21 on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.55pm BST

Glamorgan vs Middlesex – Wednesday May 23 on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.55pm BST

Kent vs Somerset – Tuesday May 29 on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.55pm BST

Warwickshire vs Northamptonshire – Wednesday May 30 on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.55pm BST

The BBC will be covering every game via both national and local radio with the opening round of fixtures covered via the below means:

Middlesex v Essex, 11am BST (BBC Radio London 94.9 FM and BBC Essex 95.3 FM, 103.5 FM)

Northamptonshire v Leicestershire, 11am BST (BBC Radio Northampton 104.2 FM, 103.6 FM and BBC Radio Leicester 104.9 FM)

Sussex v Kent, 11am BST (BBC Sussex 95.3 FM, 104.5 FM, 104.8 FM and BBC Radio Kent 96.7 FM, 104.2 FM)

Warwickshire v Derbyshire, 11am BST (BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, 94.8 FM, 103.7 FM and BBC WM 95.6 and BBC Radio Derby 95.3 FM, 96 FM, 104.5 FM)

Lancashire v Nottinghamshire, 2pm BST (BBC Radio Lancashire 95.5 FM, 103.9 FM, 104.5 FM, 855 MW, 1557 MW and BBC Radio Manchester 95.1 FM and BBC Radio Nottingham 95.1 FM, 95.5 FM, 103.8 FM, 1584 MW)

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Who is the favourite?

Nottinghamshire, as the defending champions, are one of the favourites to look out for, boasting an impressive array of limited-overs talented including England star Alex Hales and the recently acquired likes of New Zealand’s Ross Taylor and Sussex veteran Chris Nash.

Surrey, last year’s beaten finalists, will be tough to beat too as their impressive young core of Ollie Pope, the Curran brothers and Ben Foakes will be joined by Indian superstar Virat Kohli and former South African fast bowler Morne Morkel.

Outside of 2017’s two finalists, Hampshire could be an outsider to follow with Sam Northeast and Hashim Amla joining James Vince to bolster the batting while Dale Steyn’s arrival, injury-permitting, could give them a spark in the bowling department.

Who has form in the competition?

Nottinghamshire won the 2017 Royal London One-Day Cup after a record-breaking unbeaten innings of 187 from 167 balls by Alex Hales, the highest one-day score ever made at Lord’s, condemning Surrey to a third consecutive Royal London One-Day Cup final defeat.

This, after Surrey had earlier posted 297-9 with Mark Stoneman hitting an unbeaten 144 of his own.

In editions previous of the Royal London One-Day Cup, Warwickshire sealed the title in 2016, Gloucestershire were the victors in 2015 while Durham lifted the trophy in 2014.

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