By: Chinmay Vaidya
For the entire 2019 Big Bash season, the Hobart Hurricanes were clearly the best team in the tournament. They featured the two highest run scorers in D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade. They had two more batsmen (George Bailey and Ben McDermott) in the top 10 in run scoring. Hobart had the highest net run rate by a ridiculous margin. The Hurricanes should be moving on.
However, the unpredictability of the playoff format did Hobart in. For the sixth time in eight BBL seasons, the top team was bounced in the semifinal round. This time, it was the Melbourne Stars ending Hobart's run at a third appearance in the final.
The Stars had their own run machine in Marcus Stoinis, but it was Australian veteran Glenn Maxwell who did the real damage in the semifinal. Maxwell crushed 43 runs from 33 balls to steer Melbourne home. Seb Gotch was equally impressive in his 33 off 22 during the final partnership.
Because the BBL playoff format is not like the IPL bracket, the Hurricanes won't get another opportunity to get to the final. If this was the IPL, the Stars wouldn't have even played Hobart. The Hurricanes would've played the Melbourne Renegades instead for an automatic berth in the final. The Stars would've played the Sydney Sixers in a true elimination match.
However, this playoff format allows for more randomness and puts less weight on a team's position in the top 4 during the regular season. It also rewards winning to a far greater extent. I don't see the BBL making dramatic changes to its format due to Hobart's defeat. After all, it isn't the first time the best team in the competition went home early.