There are five matches left in the BBL home and away season. How will the semi-finals shape up? These are the permutations for each of the teams still in contention.
Hobart Hurricanes - Currently 1st
The Hurricanes are guaranteed a finals berth and can lock up the all-important top spot, and a home semi-final, with a win in either of their last two games. They host Melbourne Renegades on Thursday before travelling to face the Sydney Thunder on Saturday. They could still host a semi-final even if they lose both matches provided their net run-rate does not get eclipsed by both the Renegades and the Sydney Sixers. Tim Paine is available but is expected to take a rest following the Test series.
Sydney Sixers - Currently 2nd
The Sixers are also guaranteed a semi-final start. They can still mathematically finish top but the Hurricanes would need to lose both games badly and the Sixers would need to beat Melbourne Stars by a sufficient margin to overcome the 0.218 net run-rate deficit. They will get a home semi-final regardless if the Hurricanes beat the Renegades. If the Renegades win, the Sixers will need to beat the Stars to host a semi-final at the SCG. They also receive the added bonus of regaining Nathan Lyon from Test duty.
Melbourne Renegades - Currently 3rd
The Renegades are guaranteed a semi-final spot but to host one at Marvel Stadium they would need a favour from their cross-town rivals. The Renegades would first need to beat the Hurricanes on Thursday in Hobart. Then they would need the Stars to beat the Sixers in the final game on Sunday in order to host a semi-final. Marcus Harris returns from the Test to give them even more options at the top of the order.
Melbourne Stars - Currently 4th
The Stars have their destiny in their own hands despite the defeat to Perth Scorchers. A win over either Brisbane Heat or the Sixers will guarantee a semi-final. Two losses and they will open the door for the Thunder or the Heat to steal fourth spot.
Sydney Thunder - Currently 5th
In all likelihood the Thunder need the Stars to lose both of their last two games to have any chance. They would also need to beat the Hurricanes in their final match in Canberra. It is not out of the realms of possibility. There is a scenario where both occurrences could take place and the Thunder could still miss the finals but that would rely on the Heat overcoming the net run-rate differential, if they beat the Stars by a significantly bigger margin than the Thunder can manage against the Hurricanes. The contentious no result between the two sides after the power failure at the Gabba earlier in the season would become a very sore point were that unlikely outcome to occur. There is also a scenario where a no result between the Heat and the Stars, followed by the Stars losing to the Sixers, could let the Thunder in. The Thunder's chances are aided significantly by the return of Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins. The in-form Kurtis Patterson is also available.
Brisbane Heat - Currently 6th
The Heat need a win over the Stars first and foremost. If they lose their season is over. Then they sit back for 48 hours and hope for two results to go their way. If the Hurricanes beat the Thunder they remain alive. They then need to Sixers to beat the Stars in order to finish fourth. Joe Burns comes back into the Heat squad after scoring his fourth Test century.
Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers will be playing for pride on Saturday. The defending champions will relinquish their crown but they regain skipper Travis Head for the clash while Colin Ingram returns to South Africa with finals out of the equation. The Scorchers will miss the semi-finals for the first time in the history of the competition. Jhye Richardson won't be available as his workloads are managed following Test duty.