BBL12 finals race heating up in last week of the regular season

The KFC BBL|12 regular season has twelve games left, and thanks to a few teams improving after sluggish starts, the competition for the final five slots is heating up.

The Brisbane Heat’s influx of several Australian players has propelled them back into the race, and their stunning victory over the Stars last night, which eliminated the Melbourne team in the process, has moved them one point behind the Adelaide Strikers in fourth position.

But the other team that has rushed back into the playoffs picture is the fifth-placed Hurricanes, with Matthew Wade’s team passing the Thunder into the top five following their victory over the Sydney team at Blundstone Arena last Sunday.

At the SCG on the same day, the Scorchers and Sixers squared off in a top-of-the-table match. The host team narrowly prevailed by six runs to pull within one point of the ladder’s leaders.

However, the Scorchers have eight victories from their 11 games and, barring three disastrous losses in their remaining games, are guaranteed to play in the finals once more.

The match between the Hurricanes and Heat on the final day of the season has a good probability of determining the final standings, therefore it is unclear who else will join them.

For the Scorchers, who appear to be permanently wedded to the top of the BBL12 ladder and appeared poised for another podium finish in the competition’s 12th season, it’s business as usual. The Sixers’ final-over loss to them on Sunday was a rare blemish and only their third of the year, as their home-grown skill once again kept them in excellent standing throughout the competition. Given Mitch Marsh’s absence for the entire season, Josh Inglis and newly promoted No. 3 Aaron Hardie have taken it upon themselves to perform well at the plate. Faf du Plessis delivered the pyrotechnics in the early part of the season. With 20 wickets, Andrew Tye leads the list of wicket-takers, followed by Jason Behrendorff (16)

a judicious pace attack Richardson, who is battling a hamstring ailment, is anticipated to return for their finals campaign, but Englishman David Payne and Australian Test squad member Lance Morris have offered enough cover throughout his recovery. It won’t be easy playing games against three teams competing for a position in the finals to end the season, but the Scorchers are ready as they pursue a fifth championship.

The Sixers are still in the running for first place after a critical six-run victory against the Scorchers, and with three games remaining against teams who are below them in the standings, they will be confident in giving themselves the best chance to win a fourth championship. Only Sean Abbott’s 19 wickets stand out among some of the other top competitors so far in the league, demonstrating the experienced Sixers’ teamwork. Four of their seven victories have came by fewer than seven runs or in the final over when chasing, with veterans Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, and Dan Christian all stepping up when it mattered most. With 36 off, Steve Smith appeared menacing in his return to the BBL.In his new position as the opener for a little period before finals, he will be a frightening proposition for opposing sides after scoring 27 against the Scorchers.

The Renegades have enjoyed a pleasant return to form after spending the previous three seasons firmly in last place, but if they want to reach the finals for the first time since their BBL|08 championship season, they still need to win at least one game. With the potential to secure their own spot on the ladder and make the chances of their fellow competitors even tougher, the added incentive to motivate an away win, Thursday’s match against the Thunder will be vital in determining that fate. Then, after playing the Scorchers in Perth, they’ll play the Strikers in their last match at Marvel Stadium, where they haven’t lost yet this year. Their season began with three straight

After spending the previous three seasons firmly entrenched at the bottom of the standings, the Renegades have enjoyed a welcome return to form. However, if they are to reach the finals for the first time since their BBL|08 title season, they still need to win at least one game. The outcome of their game against the Thunder on Thursday will be decisive, and the opportunity to secure their own position on the standings and make the chances of their fellow rivals even more difficult will serve as additional motivation. Before playing their final match against the Strikers at Marvel Stadium, where they have only lost once this season, they will first play the Scorchers in Perth. They had three consecutive wins to begin their campaign.

and despite being soundly defeated by the table-toppers the Scorchers and Sixers (twice), two victories in the Melbourne derby have kept them in the top five during BBL|12. The batting order for the ‘Gades has been stabilised by wicketkeeper Sam Harper’s three half-centuries in his last three innings, and Will Sutherland’s all-around development has been crucial in their ascent up the ladder as they carry Melbourne’s title chances on their shoulders.

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