Why Finch is banking on men in magenta
The Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Sixers are in the box seat to lift the BBL trophy, with the Sixers favoured by last season's title-winning skipper Aaron Finch.
The reigning champion Renegades were a long way off the pace this season but they helped shape the finals on Monday when they defeated the Brisbane Heat in the last game of the regular season at Marvel Stadium.
The result denied the Heat a finals berth, leaving the Sydney Thunder to hang onto fifth spot and play the fourth-placed Hobart Hurricanes in The Eliminator at Hobart's Blundstone Arena on Thursday.
Watch LIVE coverage of the best international & domestic cricket on KAYO with FOX CRICKET's unmatched commentary line-up. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
But Finch believes The Qualifier between the top-ranked Stars and the second-placed Sixers at the MCG on Friday night will produce this season's champion.
"I think to get the second chance is so huge in this competition," Finch said.
"The Stars obviously haven't played their best cricket the last three games but you can never judge a class side on that.
"When you've got matchwinners all throughout your side it only takes one of them to win a game.
"I think they're both pretty evenly matched sides in terms of firepower and ability with the ball.
"But the Sixers probably have the edge."
The winner of that match will host The Final on Saturday, February 8.
The Adelaide Strikers will not get the benefit of a second chance, having finished third, but they will host The Knockout against the winner of The Eliminator at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
The BBL's new five-team finals format gives the top two teams at the end of the regular season a double chance, so the loser of The Qualifier will go on to play the winner of The Knockout in The Challenger.
The winner of that match on Thursday, February 6, will progress through to The Final.
BBL09 FINALS WEEK ONE
THE ELIMINATOR (winner into The Knockout)
Hobart Hurricanes (4th) v Sydney Thunder (5th) - 7.40pm EDT, Thursday, January 30 at Blundstone Arena
THE QUALIFIER (winner to host The Final)
Melbourne Stars (1st) v Sydney Strikers (2nd) - 7.15pm EDT, Friday, January 31 at the MCG
THE KNOCKOUT (winner into The Challenger)
Adelaide Strikers (3rd) v Winner of The Eliminator - 7.40pm EDT, Saturday, February 1 at Adelaide Oval
THE CHALLENGER (winner into The Final) Loser of The Qualifier v Winner of The Knockout - Thursday, February 6 at TBC
THE FINAL Winner of The Qualifier v Winner of The Challenger - Saturday, February 8 at TBC
Failed to qualify: Perth Scorchers (6th), Brisbane Heat (7th), Melbourne Renegades (8th)