The regular season is over for the Big Bash League and the new-look five-team finals series is about to get underway with the grand final on February 8 at the MCG or the SCG. Here is a rundown of the five teams that have made it, their form, and the players who could drive them forward.

Melbourne Stars

Qualifying position 1st
Season form guide WWLWWWWWWWWLLL (10 wins, 4 losses)
Route to the grand final
If they win the Qualifier against the Sydney Sixers, they get there straight, and will host the February 8 final at the MCG. If they lose, they will get a second chance in the Challenger on February 6.
Overseas player situation
A bit has been going on. In a major boost, Haris Rauf will return after the T20I series against Bangladesh. But they have lost legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane to Nepal duty. Dilbar Hussain, who was expensive on debut, will remain for the finals.
Stars of the league stage
Marcus Stoinis is the tournament's leading run-scorer with 607 while Glenn Maxwell has been impressive all-round and with his captaincy. Rauf has been the standout with the ball, which is why his return is so crucial, and left-arm wristspinner Clint Hinchliffe had an impressive finish to the regular season, while Adam Zampa remains very consistent.
Areas of concern
Did they peak too early? It's fair to say the Stars do not have a good record when it comes to trying to seal the title. They rely heavily on the runs from Stoinis and Maxwell, so Peter Handscomb's return has been timely. Nic Maddinson and Ben Dunk have had poor seasons with the bat, but Maddinson's bowling may keep him in the side.

Sydney Sixers

Qualifying position 2nd
Season form guide WLLWWWWWLNRLWWW (9 wins, 4 losses, 1 no result)
Route to the grand final
As with the Stars, if they win the Qualifier, they will host the final at the SCG. Otherwise, there is the second chance in the Challenger.
Overseas player situation
They have lost Tom Curran - their leading wicket-taker - to England ODI duty and did not seek a replacement, who would have had to play in the regular season to be eligible for the finals. James Vince is around, after being overlooked for England's series in South Africa.
Stars of the league stage
It has been a squad effort to reach this far in second place having stumbled mid-tournament. Josh Philippe has regained form at the perfect time - crossing 400 runs for the season - and in a mark of how it has been about others chipping in, there have only been three other half-centuries beyond his four.
Areas of concern
Filling Curran's shoes will be a challenge although there remains an outside chance that Sean Abbott could be fit again after his side injury.

Adelaide Strikers

Qualifying position 3rd
Season form guide NRWWWLLLWLWWWWL (8 wins, 5 losses, 1 no result)
Route to the grand final
They have a home match in the Knockout final on February 1 against the winner of the Eliminator (Hobart Hurricanes or Sydney Thunder). Win that and they will play the loser of the Qualifier in the Challenger final on February 6 with a chance of getting into the final. Lose the Knockout and their season is done.
Overseas player situation
As they were for the Strikers, with Rashid Khan and Phil Salt available throughout.
Stars of the league stage
Jon Wells (444 runs, average 74.00) has been outstanding in the middle-order role, to the extent that he has earned comparisons with Michael Bevan. The rest of the top order have played their part with Salt coming into form at the right time. Unsurprisingly, Khan is the leading wicket-taker, although his striking tailed off somewhat in the back-end of the regular season. Peter Siddle is a go-to death bowler and Wes Agar, while expensive at times, has been one of the finds of the season.
Areas of concern
They haven't quite been able to nail down their fifth frontline bowler with Billy Stanlake having a poor season capped off by his 22-run over against the Hurricanes in the final league match. Less of a concern, but more a case of making best use of resources, there is a question over whether they have quite made enough of Khan's hitting power.

Hobart Hurricanes

Qualifying position 4th
Season form guide WLWLLWLLLNRLWWW (6 wins, 7 losses, 1 no result)
Route to the grand final
The long way, but they are hitting form at the right time. It will require three wins in a row to reach the final - the Eliminator, the Knockout and the Challenger - but they have home advantage for the first of those against the Thunder.
Overseas player situation
David Miller, who scored nearly half his 198 runs in one innings, has left to join the South Africa ODI squad* but legspinner Qais Ahmad remain available.
Stars of the league stage
Captain Matthew Wade led from the front in the final three league matches when his team needed him, with scores of 66, 56 and 130 not out. D'Arcy Short, as expected, has played a vital role with bat and ball. The Hurricanes got their key pair together in the nick of time after international duty. A word, too, for Mac Wright, who has shown impressive composure after coming in late in the season. With the ball, Nathan Ellis has had nerves of steel at the death.
Areas of concern
It hasn't felt as though they have got their middle-order planning right this season, often leaving the big-hitting Miller and Ben McDermott too late, although they may have figured it out just in time.

Sydney Thunder

Qualifying position 5th
Season form guide WWNRLWLLLWLWLLW (6 wins, 7 losses, 1 no result)
Route to the grand final
Having squeezed in courtesy the Brisbane Heat's final-game defeat, as with the Hurricanes, their opponents in the Eliminator, it will need three wins in a row just to make the final.
Overseas player situation
Chris Morris has not been included in South Africa's ODI squad, so he remains available and Alex Hales is still on the outer of the England set-up.
Stars of the league stage
Hales finished very strongly with scores of 85, 63 and 47 - the last in the rain-reduced chase against the Perth Scorchers - which has helped compensate for the tailing-off of Usman Khawaja's form. Daniel Sams is the tournament's leading wicket-taker (25).
Areas of concern
There has been a big gap between the solid performers and the rest with the pace bowling struggling beyond Sams and Morris. While that pair has done well with the ball, a combined total of 91 runs between them in 22 innings has left a lack of power in the lower-middle order. The Thunder's form does not suggest they can string a series of wins together.
*January 29, 2.00pm AEST: this story was updated to correct the mention of David Miller's availability

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo