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BBL finals race goes down to the wire

The Big Bash League title race is wide open as the race for spots in the top-five finals series goes down to the wire.

All teams, bar Melbourne Renegades, are still alive heading into the last round of qualifying matches, with three positions still up for grabs.

Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder still have destiny in their own hands, with the winner of their Adelaide Oval meeting on Monday certain to lock in a finals spot.

But the losers will face a nervous wait for the results from Tuesday’s Heat-Scorchers, Renegades-Hurricanes and Stars-Sixers matches.

Only the ladder-leading Scorchers and second-placed Sixers are assured of playing finals.

“There’s two quality teams, there’s no secret about that, that are up the top of the ladder for a reason,” Hurricanes captain Matthew Wade said after his team beat the Sixers by seven runs on Sunday night.

“They’re going to be hard to chase down.

“But if you get yourself in there and get a roll on you give yourself a chance to win it.”

The coronavirus-affected schedule sees the Strikers and Thunder clash on consecutive days to round out their qualifying campaigns.

Adelaide scored a confidence-boosting six-run win in the first of those matches on Sunday, defending a relatively small total of 6-159 in the process.

“We’re in a pretty good position,” Strikers veteran Peter Siddle said.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence going into (Monday) night and it’s not about worrying about other teams winning.

“We’ve got to get the job done and win it for ourselves to give ourselves the best chance of finishing as high as we can on the ladder and see where that is.”

The finals series is slated to begin on Friday but teams still do not have clarity around which venues will be able to host matches, given the ongoing travel restrictions between some states.

It could mean the likes of first-placed Perth having to play ‘home’ finals interstate.

Cricket Australia is set to announce the finals schedule on Wednesday.

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