The Big Bash League finals picture is slightly clearer but once again, the regular season looks to go right down to the final game of the season to decide the final placings.
The Melbourne Renegades secured the end of their four-year finals drought, cruising to a six-wicket win with 10 balls remaining against the Adelaide Strikers.
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In another tight season, the Strikers could have made the finals with a win, assuming other results went their way but it will be an off-season of what-ifs after the side lost its last five games since a win over the Renegades on January 10th.
But the Renegades, who have not only missed every finals since they won in 2018-19 but claimed each and every wooden spoon during that time, finally broke through to secure their place in the finals.
Aussie T20 captain Aaron Finch smashed a 54-ball 63 not out, making no mistake of the run chase.
Set 7/142 to win after Alex Carey stood alone with his 47-ball 65, the Renegades paced the innings perfectly, despite losing 3/16 in the chase.
Although Finch was the star with the bat, the side also has 40-year-old legspinner Fawad Ahmed to thank, having taken 3/17 off his four overs with an incredible 18 dots to restrict the Strikers to a manageable score.
But while the Perth Scorchers will host the Sydney Sixers in The Qualifier on Saturday night, the final three positions on the ladder will still have to be decided.
The Renegades are through but could finish in third or fourth, while the Brisbane Heat, Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes will battle it out for the final two positions.
The fourth placed Heat play the seventh-placed Hurricanes at 1.40pm AEDT, before the Thunder play the wooden-spoon winning Melbourne Stars at 7.15pm AEDT.
The equation is simple for the Hurricanes, they need to win and hope the Thunder lose.
Otherwise, a win from the Heat will secure third, while a Heat loss and a Thunder win could push them into fourth if Brisbane lose. A Thunder win will be unlikely to push the Thunder’s net run rate (-0.813) ahead of the Renegades (-0.027).
If the Thunder wanted to get rid of this deficit, it would need an enormous win at this point of the season.
Speaking to Fox Cricket after the match having hit his fourth fifty of the season, Finch said he thought it was the most important he’d hit this summer.
“There have been a couple that have been hit in run chases so that’s been really nice,” Finch said. “To get the guys over the line, especially in a finals type game, do-or-die really, was nice.
“It’s always a rollercoaster and I think we had the chance to a couple of days ago to cement our spot and we couldn’t do that, so it’s really nice that we’ve been able to do that.”