Photo Credit: Brisbane Heat Media
The KFC Big Bash League is nearing its pointy end, which means all clubs, players and fans are entering each game with an eye on their chances of featuring in finals.
This season sees a revamped finals format enter the competition, with the top five teams to play in elimination and qualifying games. With nine games still to play, each result could have huge ramifications on the final five makeup.
Heading into Thursday’s crucial match against the Sydney Sixers at the Gabba, the Brisbane Heat are sitting in a precarious position. Currently in sixth place on the ladder, the club will be hoping for a win to climb back into the top five.
Such is the closeness of the competition, the Heat – currently on 10 points with five wins and six losses to their name – could finish as high as second or as low eighth.
Here’s what needs to happen to see the Heat playing finals in BBL|09.
WIN! In season’s past, a win rate of 50 per cent and a positive net-run-rate (NRR) has been enough for teams to make finals, meaning the Heat will likely need to win two of their final three to guarantee a finals berth, while three wins can mathematically see the club jump into second spot.
That would also mean the Sixers not winning another game, the Strikers winning no more than one from their final three and the Scorchers winning one of their final two due to their superior NRR.
The carrot to finish in the top two is massive under the revised finals format. Where in previous seasons the finals were made up of two elimination semi-finals, this year will see the first and second placed teams play off in a match dubbed The Qualifier, with the winner going straight through to a Grand Final on home soil, and the loser getting a second chance the following week in The Challenger.
While a second-placed finish might seem unlikely, three wins could see the Heat finish third and claim a home final (The Knockout) where they would play the winner of the fourth versus fifth teams (The Eliminator). To do this the Strikers could only win one of their final three and the Scorchers could only win one final game.
As the Scorchers and Strikers play each other, the Heat would be unlikely to finish any higher than fourth if they only win two of their final three, unless there is a major shift in their NRR.
While two wins could see the Heat finish fourth and host fifth in The Eliminator, one win would see the club likely finish outside of the top five, unless the Sydney Thunder lose both of their remaining two games.
A little bit confused? Well, we are too. Let’s break it down to a game-by-game scenario on what needs to happen for the Heat to finish as high on the ladder as possible.
FINAL 9 BBL|09 GAMES AND THE DESIRED HEAT OUTCOME
January 22 – Adelaide Strikers vs Melbourne Stars. Stars to win.
January 23 – Brisbane Heat vs Sydney Sixers. Heat to win.
January 24 – Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Thunder. Hurricanes to win.
January 24 – Perth Scorchers vs Adelaide Strikers. Hard to say, but maybe Scorchers to win then lose their final game.
January 25 – Sydney Sixers vs Melbourne Renegades. Renegades to win.
January 25 – Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat. Heat to win.
January 26 – Sydney Thunder vs Perth Scorchers. Thunder to win.
January 26 – Adelaide Strikers vs Hobart Hurricanes. Hurricanes to win.
January 27 – Melbourne Renegades vs Brisbane Heat. Heat to win.
Seems like a lot still to play out, right? Let’s revisit the Heat’s finals chances heading into the weekend to see what needs to happen for the boys in teal to feature in the knockout stages.