The 2020 edition of the Women’s Big Bash League has been a closely fought tournament so far. Being played completely in Sydney amidst bio-bubbles due to the pandemic, the tournament, currently in its sixth edition, has already produced some nervy close encounters and brilliant individual performances with both bat and ball. With 48 of the 56 league games complete, we have a clearer idea of the possible teams that will compete in the playoffs. Having said that, most teams are very close to each other in the points tally and there is still a good chance for them to progress to the playoffs.
Here is where each team stands and what they need to do to progress to the semi-finals:
The inclusion of Australian captain, Meg Lanning, has completely changed the fortunes of this side. After a horrendous season last year, where they placed last, they are now the top team of the tournament. This is largely due to their captain, who has seamlessly carried over her form in the international format to this tournament. She is the second-highest run-scorer of the tournament, having scored a staggering 5 half-centuries from the 11 games she has played. Winning 8 out of their 9 completed games, they have secured 19 points and have booked their place in the semi-finals. In fact, their gap with the second-placed team, Brisbane Heat, is so huge that they will end up as the top-placed team, whatever be the result of the remaining games. This would be their first appearance in the play-offs in the history of the tournament.
With 6 wins from 12 games, Brisbane Heat is second on the points table with 14 points. The champions of the 2018 and 2019 season are in a position to qualify for the playoffs again and aim for a hat-trick of titles. However, with just a gap of 2 points between the next 3 teams, they can still be out of the tournament once the league stage ends. With the two remaining games against a dominant Melbourne Stars and a relatively weaker opposition in Melbourne Renegades, they will want to win both their games and progress through the playoffs. Win only one and they risk depending on the result of the other games to take them through. Losing both the games can jeopardize their chances of progression. They will also want to keep their NRR in check, should it come to that.
Sydney Thunder & Perth Scorchers:
The middle of the table is the most intense at the moment with 3 teams tied at 12 points. With 5 wins in 12 games, Sydney Thunder & Perth Scorchers are 2 of those 3 teams. Both the teams have their remaining 2 games against the relatively under-performing Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes. They should look to first win both their games if they were to think about qualifying for the playoffs. They should also hope that the other teams in the fray win only one of their two games so that they end up with more points than them. Winning just one game of the two will make their chances of qualifying quite bleak as they will then hope that the other teams lose one match each as well, which will boil down to the NRR. Losing both the games can knock them out of the tournament.
The Sydney Sixers was a dominating side last year but failed to progress to the playoffs with the unavailability of their star player, Ellyse Perry, due to injury. Although she is back for this tournament after another injury that made her miss the knockouts of the Women’s World T20, she is a shadow of her last year’s self. Sydney Sixers have won 5 of their 12 games and are tied with Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers with 12 points. They have 2 games left – a reasonably easier one against the Melbourne Renegades and a tough outing against the Melbourne Stars. They will want to win both their game to stay ahead of the pack and qualify for the play-offs. Anything lesser that that will have their fates sealed by the results of the other games.
Adelaide Strikers have accumulated 11 points, winning 5 of their games but losing 6 games out of the 12 that they have played. Although they are placed lower than the other teams competing for the 3 remaining places for the play-off, they have an outside chance of qualifying for the semis. Their remaining 2 games are against the teams above them – Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers. Winning both these games will help them leap-frog past them and give them a shot at qualifying for the playoffs. Losing even one of these games will mean that the team they beat have to lose their remaining game and also that the Sydney Sixers have to lose both their games, a lot to be desired.
Melbourne Renegades & Hobart Hurricanes:
These 2 teams make up the bottom 2 places of the standings. Both teams have registered 3 wins from their 12 games and are on the verge of elimination, having accumulated just 8 points each. In the best-case scenario, even if they win both of their games and the rest of the teams tied on 12 points lose, it would not be enough to secure qualification as they are too far behind in the NRR. Therefore, in all likelihood, these 2 teams would have been knocked out of the competition at the end of the tournament.
With the final weekend of the league stage of the tournament approaching, the fight to the play-offs get more intense than ever. Melbourne Stars have already qualified for the semis. They will most likely be joined by reigning champions, Brisbane Heat, who have their noses in front compared to the rest of the teams. This means that as many as 4 teams – Sydney Thunder, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers will battle for the remaining 2 places. It promises to be an exciting finish to the league stage of the Women’s Big Bash League as we unravel the top 4 teams who will stake a claim to the trophy.
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