The finals for BBL|12 have been set with the five remaining teams locked in after two thrillers that ended the regular season on Wednesday night.
The sixth-placed Sydney Thunder beat the Melbourne Stars at the MCG to make the finals — despite almost letting it slip during the chase — after a dramatic result earlier in the day.
Brisbane Heat appeared to be cruising to a win over the Hobart Hurricanes that would’ve knocked out the latter, until a late capitulation changed everything.
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Needing 19 runs from 24 balls with six wickets in hand, the Heat somehow lost by two runs to see the Hurricanes climb up to fifth.
A Thunder win, however, saw the Hurricanes knocked out of the finals again, as the Western Sydney outfit climbed into fourth behind the Melbourne Renegades.
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The Heat lost a home final, but still had a remarkable run to the finals despite Wednesday’s implosion. Having only won two of their first nine matches, they won four in a row to make the post-season.
Conversely, the Adelaide Strikers started the season with three straight wins, and then only claimed two more in their next 11 matches, including five-consecutive losses to close out the regular season.
Elsewhere, it was tightly run with only two points separating the third-placed Thunder and the Hurricanes in sixth.
The outliers this season were the Scorchers and Sixers — who are head-and-shoulders favourites to win the title — while the Melbourne Stars were rooted to the bottom on six points.
Starting on Friday with The Eliminator, the finals series will consist of five matches, culminating in the final on February 4.
The final will be hosted by either the Perth Scorchers or Sydney Sixers, who will fight for the honour in The Qualifer on Saturday.
The three other teams to reach the final get no second chances and will be fighting to stay alive.
BBL|12 FINALS FIXTURES
Friday January 27, The Eliminator: Sydney Thunder vs Brisbane Heat
Saturday January 28, The Qualifier: Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Sixers
Sunday January 29, The Knockout: Melbourne Renegades vs winner of the Eliminator
Thursday February 2, The Challenger: Loser of The Qualifier vs winner of The Knockout
Saturday February 4, The Final: Winner of The Qualifier vs winner of The Challenger