The final day of the Big Bash season will decide the finalists with the Melbourne Stars still able to sneak into the finals.
A crushing loss to Brisbane saw the Heat push into the top four while the Stars could only look on in shock.
The Hurricanes, Sixers and Renegades have already book their places and short of a thumping win for the Stars, will stay in that order, while a Stars win will boost them into a semi final against the Hobart Hurricanes.
The match starts at 2.45pm.
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Dunk holes out in fast start
The Melbourne Stars have gotten off to a fast start in their bid to book a BBL08 semi-final spot.
At one end, Marcus Stoinis was hitting out, but at the other end, Ben Dunk was struggling to get the ball away.
With his first shot in anger, Dunk hit it straight down Lloyd Pope’s throat on the boundary.
It stalled the momentum with Sean Abbott bowling a wicket maiden.
Sixers win bat flip
The Melbourne Stars will be hoping this isn’t an omen — the Sydney Sixers have won the bat flip and sent the Stars in.
The Stars need a win to secure fourth place and a spot in the BBL finals.
— Sydney Sixers (@SixersBBL) February 10, 2019
More than just a 🐐 watching session today.
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) February 10, 2019
Hobart fears finals hunting raid
Having crashed Perth Scorchers’ launch party at Optus Stadium last year, Hobart are acutely aware their BBL minor premiership counts for little in their upcoming semi-final.
The table-topping Hurricanes finished their regular season with a four-wicket loss to Sydney Thunder at Manuka Oval on Saturday night.
The club’s fourth loss of a dominant BBL campaign, led by the league’s two leading run-scorers D’Arcy Short and Matthew Wade, had zero effect on their ladder position.
Bookmakers suggest Hobart remain the team to beat in the playoffs, which start with the Hurricanes hosting either Brisbane Heat or Melbourne Stars in a knockout fixture.
However, the BBL’s short history is littered with examples of minor premiers folding in the last four.
Perth did exactly that in 2018, winning eight of 10 games during the regular season then suffering a 71-run loss in the first BBL game at the city’s new stadium.
The Scorchers were stunned that night by Hobart, whose 5-5 record for that season was quickly forgotten amid a flurry of Wade and Ben McDermott boundaries and an imposing total of 4-210.
“There’s an element of luck in the way the semis are set up,” Hurricanes veteran George Bailey said in Canberra.
“It actually doesn’t matter if you’ve had a good tournament or a poor tournament. If you’ve been the leading run-scorer or haven’t scored a run in your last 10 games.
“You just start from scratch.
“We take a lot of confidence out of the way we’ve played over a sustained period. It’s very much just playing hopefully your best game of the year (at the right time).”
Calls for a rejigged BBL finals system, which might reward the top-ranked team with either a double chance or direct entry to the final, have been ignored by Cricket Australia.
Bailey was unhappy with his own knock of 53 off 35 balls in Canberra, feeling he should have done more to get McDermott (44 not out) on strike.
But he gave Wade, who scored 45 against Sydney to make it 590 runs for the season, another ringing endorsement regarding his push for a national recall.
“He’s putting his hand up isn’t he? He’s ticking the boxes,” Bailey said. “He’s doing everything that I reckon they’d be wanting.”
Pat Cummins, who dismissed Wade in Canberra, suggested the former Test keeper is “at the top of his game”.
“Like anyone, if he keeps scoring runs he’s going to knock down that door eventually,” Cummins said.