The failures of the top-placed teams in finals across all five seasons of the Big Bash League is unlikely to trigger a change in structure to create a second chance for these teams.
The best performance by a top-placed team in the finals came in the inaugural season. Perth, who earned top spot on run-rate ahead of two rival teams, won their semi-final against Melbourne Stars but lost their home final, to Sydney Sixers.
In BBL02 Melbourne Renegades finished two wins' clear, but were eliminated in the semis by eventual winners Brisbane.
A year later the Stars won all eight matches, the only team to have done that in the BBL, and held a two-win buffer at the top, but lost their home semi-final to Hobart.
Last season Adelaide finished a game clear in top spot only to be beaten by the Sixers. The Strikers again finished on top this season, this time with a two-win buffer, but were eliminated by Sydney Thunder.
The failures of the Renegades, Stars and Strikers were a huge blow given that until this season the two finalists earned qualification for the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 tournament. It mean that all three teams got no reward despite finishing at least one win clear of their closest opponents after all had played their eight matches.
Former Strikers coach Darren Berry and current Stars assistant coach Trent Woodhill have been among the vocal critics of the finals structure, even when their teams were unaffected, because they felt it did not offer enough recognition for regular-season form and the possibility of a first bad game for the season coming during the finals, as happened to the Stars in BBL03.
A popular alternative structure would be to have a final between the top two teams to determine hosting rights for the final, and an elimination final between third and fourth. The loser of the top-two match would meet the winner of the duel between third and fourth, for the right to play in the final. Such an arrangement would create an additional final that could be shown on Network Ten.
The structure of the finals has been on the agenda for every post-season review. It will feature on this season's review too – but again is unlikely to be acted upon.
"It's certainly something we're going to have a chat about, and it will be the fourth year in a row that we've reviewed it. But there's not an overwhelming sense that this is really holding the competition back," said Anthony Everard, manager of the BBL.
"I think there's an element to say we actually like the cut-throat nature of a semi-final. Just because you've had a good regular season you [still] have to perform on the big stage. The terms finishing first and second obviously have the home-ground advantage, but that hasn't translated to wins so far [for the top team]."
TOUGH AT THE TOP
BBL01: Scorchers top by net run-rate. Won semi-final, vs Stars, but lost final, vs Sixers.
BBL02: Renegades top by 2 matches. Lost semi-final, vs Thunder.
BBL03: Stars top by 2 matches. Lost semi-final, vs Hurricanes.
BBL04: Strikers top by 1 match. Lost semi-final, vs Sixers.
BBL05: Strikers top by 2 matches. Lost semi-final, vs Thunder.