The current BBL finals system doesn’t work

Dean Robinson Roar Rookie

By Dean Robinson, Dean Robinson is a Roar Rookie

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    Melbourne Stars' Luke Wright and Hobart Hurricanes' Ben Dunk before the Hurricanes' win in the 2014 BBL semi-final at the MCG. (AAP Image/David Crosling)

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    Whether you love it or hate it, the Big Bash League gets a lot of things right. However it’s got two prominent issues, both of which can easily be solved.

    The tournament is (slightly) too long
    This year’s edition of the Big Bash League has been slightly longer than previous years, largely due to the gap week slotted in prior to the finals to accommodate the international T20 schedule.

    The toll of this extension was shown when only 12,000-odd turned up for the first ‘Big’ semi-final at the MCG – you would assume they were expecting a lot more than that.

    Timing was the likely culprit, school holidays are over and it’s a Tuesday night.

    With that in mind it’s not unreasonable to think the second semi-final might suffer a similar problem.

    The easiest solution would be to shorten the season so it’s wrapped up before the school holidays end and perhaps don’t play the semi-finals mid-week.

    Dropping the ‘extra’ round, so teams only play each other once, makes the most sense when looking to shorten the season.

    The addition of the eighth round is clearly for financial reasons – extra Sixers/Thunder and Renegades/Stars derby matches – so any realistic chances of it being dropped are slim.

    Condensing the schedule is probably the most likely alternative, and it could definitely work.

    Throw in a couple more double headers, reduce the number of gap days and you could possibly shave at a week of the run time.

    The flawed finals system
    The current finals system simply doesn’t work and, as has been on full display the two past seasons, it’s incredible unfair and cruel to the top-placed side.

    On Tuesday night, the Melbourne Stars were outplayed by a fourth-placed Hurricanes side that is, in all fairness, much better than many give them credit for.

    The Hurricanes made the finals after only winning three games in the regular season, and now a BBL final and T20 Champions League riches lie ahead.

    If they take out the final it will be just their fifth win of the season, three less than the Stars who strung together eight wins on the trot prior to the semi-final loss. Crazy.

    Fellow semi-finalists the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers already have six and five wins respectively ahead of their semi-final clash.

    That means if Perth make the final, and lose, the Hurricanes will be crowned the Champions despite having actually won less games overall than all three of their semi-final peers. Utter madness.

    It was the same last year when the Melbourne Renegades were knocked out after going through the regular season with seven wins and just the single loss.

    They were beaten by eventual champions the Brisbane Heat, who had only snuck into the finals based on net run rate.

    After taking out the semi and the final, the Heat finished the season with six wins – still one less than the Renegades.

    But none of this should even be an issue, because the ‘unfairness’ I see in the current finals system can be easily resolved while also keeping the desired three-match/four-team setup.

    First place after the regular season goes straight to the final – and the Champions League.

    Third plays fourth in a qualifying final, with the winner of this match playing second in the preliminary final for a spot in the decider (and the second Champions League spot).

    With this system the ‘minor premier’ gets rewarded for being the best/most consistent team with an automatic spot in the final and in the lucrative Champions League.

    More importantly, it forces third and fourth to earn their spot in the final by having to win more matches.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • Roar Rookie

      February 5th 2014 @ 7:52am
      Squidward said | February 5th 2014 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      I was just saying to the old man last night the como prob deserves a more NBA esque best of 3 final or finals series to rule out freak upsets

    • Roar Guru

      February 5th 2014 @ 8:14am
      JGK said | February 5th 2014 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      It’s a flawed competition anyway given the sporadic involvement of the Australian and international players.

      Any competition where Eddie Maguire’s team loses in Heart breaking circumstances must have something going right for it.

      For me the strange thing was the extremely long break between the end of the regular rounds and the semis.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 5th 2014 @ 8:50am
        Dean Robinson said | February 5th 2014 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        Agreed. When the fixture was originally announced the gap was going to be even larger. Presumably the overlap with the Winter Olympics contributed to bringing “big finals week” forward a few days.

    • February 5th 2014 @ 9:03am
      Garry Edwards said | February 5th 2014 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      Worked well for me last night the high rollers got rolled, time too suck it up boys.

      • February 5th 2014 @ 9:55am
        Don Corleone said | February 5th 2014 @ 9:55am | ! Report


        That’s right, the unbeaten #1 team playing the #4 team with home ground advantage…no excuses.

        The BBL finals should have been played last week and the T20I series this week.

    • February 5th 2014 @ 9:19am
      Pope Paul VII said | February 5th 2014 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      Or the Melbourne Stars are chokers.

    • February 5th 2014 @ 9:22am
      john360180 said | February 5th 2014 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Needs to be a more even distribution of talent and salary cap policed.
      Hurricanes won on merit last night was not a freak result.
      Excellent bowling from their old guys (Dough & Ben) and young guys (Boyce & Laughlin), excellent fielding, good batting (Pain, Bailey and losing only 3 wickets) and excellent captaincy Bailey.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 5th 2014 @ 10:14am
        Dean Robinson said | February 5th 2014 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        Aside from the Thunder I don’t think the distribution of talent has actually been too bad for the last couple of years.

        Definitely no argument that the Hurricanes were the better side last night, just seems unbalanced that a team with 3 wins ends up with the same chance at securing a spot in the final as a team that won 7 or 8. If a spot in the Champions League, and the potential money attached to it, wasn’t also at stake I probably wouldn’t feel as strongly – which is odd in itself because I still think the T20 Champions League is almost completely pointless.

    • February 5th 2014 @ 9:41am
      Dan Ced said | February 5th 2014 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      Stars laid their own bed when they played Wade at 3, despite his absolute lack of any form, in any form of the game.

      Seriously.. Wade at 3, and pinch hitter Maxwell at 4? If Hodge and Hussey were in earlier the Stars probably still would’ve won.

      Good knock by Paine though, in the face of controversy.. and Bailey did the right thing as captain. He certainly has a knack for the short game. If he doesn’t attract megabucks in the IPL then nobody should.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 5th 2014 @ 10:15am
        Dean Robinson said | February 5th 2014 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        Yeah, I’m not really sure why they persist with Wade at 3, especially after losing an early wicket.

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