After weeks of hard-hitting and fast-paced action in the BBL, we have finally arrived at the all-new play-off phase of the tournament.
The teams have now been whittled down to five contenders that can move forward with a chance of landing title glory in 2020.
This season has seen Australia‘s BBL introduce a new play-off system that is similar to that used by the Indian Premier League.
How do the new BBL play-offs work?
The first final place will be decided in the so-called Qualifier match. This sees first take on second with the winner moving directly to the final.
The loser of that stage is then given a second chance to make the final in the Challenger phase.
Their opponents in the Challenger will be the team that makes it through the opposite play-off route.
First, the fifth-placed team will take on the fourth-placed side in the Eliminator stage. The winner goes on to play the third-placed side in the Knockout round for a place in the Challenger round.
Whoever makes it through to the Challenger meets the loser of the Qualifier for a straight shootout for the last final spot.
The final will be the winner of the Qualifier vs the winner of the Challenger.
Why change the BBL play-offs?
In the previous eight seasons of the Big Bash League, only twice has the team finishing top of the ladder at the end of the league stage gone on to make the final.
It used to be a straight shootout between first and fourth and second and third. This method often saw the top-ranked sides failing late in the contest despite being stronger over the home and away league phase.
Only Perth Scorchers in 2017 have gone on to land the title after topping the table.
This led to a rethink by Cricket Australia and an IPL-style system was introduced this term.
However, organisers also added their own element to the mix to hand the top two teams a double chance of making the final in 2020.
This has meant extending the teams that progress from the league stage to five.
Rewarding the top two BBL teams
Speaking when announcing the changes, head of Big Bash League Alistair Dobson said: “The finals format has been set to make it the best possible end to the season, rewarding the top two teams with a double chance and giving the winner hosting rights of the final.
“At the same time, it's a more challenging and entertaining prospect for fourth and fifth to go on and win the competition.
“Our previous finals model didn't do that, with fourth winning the competition twice and reaching four grand finals, compared to the top team which has made just two grand finals, winning just one of them.”
Big Bash League play-off fixtures 2019-2020
When: Thursday 30th January – Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Thunder.
Where: Blundstone Arena, Hobart
When: Friday 31st January – Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers
Where: Melbourne Cricket Ground
When: Saturday 1st February – Adelaide Strikers vs Winner of Eliminator
Where: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
When: Thursday 6th February – Loser of Qualifier vs Winner of Knockout
Where: Either the MCG or SCG
When: Saturday 8th February – Winner of Qualifier vs Winner of Challenger
Where: Either MCG or SCG
Which team is the favourite to win the BBL in 2020?
Group table-toppers Melbourne Stars and second-placed Sydney Sixers are considered the current 2.50 (3/2) joint-favourites with 10Cric to lift he BBL title this season.
Adelaide Strikers are available at 5.50 (9/2) with Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder priced up at 11.00 (10/1) and 17.00 (16/1) respectively.
Have a look at the best new betting sites in India when looking to bet on the BBL.
Frequently Asked Questions – Big Bash League Play-Offs 2019-20
What date is the BBL final?
This year’s BBL final will take place at either the MCG or SCG on Saturday 8th February.
The confirmed destination will be decided by the winner of the Qualifier stage, with home advantage going to whoever wins out of Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder.
Which team has won the most BBL titles?
Perth Scorchers are the most successful side in the BBL so far.
They have won the title three times in the previous eight seasons.
Other teams to have picked up just one title are the Sydney Sixers, Brisbane Heat, Sydney Thunder, Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades.
How many teams take part in the BBL play-offs?
There are five teams that take part in the BBL play-offs. The top five finishers in the group stage make it through to the play-offs and have the chance of making the BBL final.