WBBL: Thunder Streak Blows Hurricanes Off Course

A five-game winning streak over the holiday period has put the Sydney Thunder in pole position in the WBBL.

The Thunder – the only team without an English overseas – beat the much-fancied Scorchers (twice), the (then) table-topping Hurricanes (also twice) and the Brisbane Heat to go top, with 16 points from 10 games, virtually assuring themselves of semi-final qualification.

Heather Knight’s now second-placed Hurricanes also look set for a semi. Despite losing 3 on the bounce, they still have 14 points with 3 games left, two of which are against the Sydney Sixers – this year’s punchbags, with just one win from 7.

The mid-table remains hard to read, with the third-placed Heat having just one game left, while the Strikers in sixth have 7 matches remaining.

It does however look like curtains already for Charlotte Edward’s Scorchers. Though the England skipper has been in fine form, scoring 366 runs at a strike rate of 107, they have a losing record with just two games left and seem most unlikely to make the cut.

Going forwards the Strikers v Stars games on 8th/ 9th January look critical for both teams. Thus far, the Stars have been very dependent on Meg Lanning – when she scores big, they win; and when she doesn’t, they don’t – so if the Strikers can just keep her quiet, they could book themselves a spot in the semis at the Stars’ expense, but if they can’t, it could be all over for them by this time next week.

Played Points
1. Sydney Thunder 10 16
2. Hobart Hurricanes 11 14
3. Brisbane Heat 13 14
4. Melbourne Stars 9 10
5. Perth Scorchers 12 10
6. Adelaide Strikers 7 6
7. Melbourne Renegades 7 4
8. Sydney Sixers 7 2
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13 thoughts on “WBBL: Thunder Streak Blows Hurricanes Off Course

  1. Thunder, already over 14 points and Hurricanes, on 14 points but 2 of their 3 remaining games are against the Sixers, are both more or less certain to make the semis.
    After these two, there is the potential for a serious log jam on 14 points.
    The Scorchers two remaining games are against the Renegades – so are very much winnable and would take them to 14 points.
    Brisbane Heat’s one remaining game is against the Strikers so lose that and they end up on 14 points.
    The Stars have a really tough run in (Strikers x 2, Thunder x 2 and Hurricanes) and could well only win two of these and end up on 14 points.
    The Strikers have nothing like a tough run in (Sixers x 2, Renegades x 2, Stars x 2 and Heat) and could reasonably be expected to get at least 4 wins from these 7 games and also end up on 14 points.
    Seems to me, get to 16 points means a team are in the semis but can 4 teams get to 16 points – on balance probably not and then its NRR-casino for those on 14 points.
    Sure helps having glorious weather and no lost games.

    Having no coverage in the UK (even on the web, even highlights) is a massive opportunity missed (in terms of the WSL) – granted the reasons are probably commercial rather then technical and may well be outside of the ECB’s influence.

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  2. All of the Thunder, Heat, Hurricanes, Stars and Scorchers have had their moments and decent little runs of form. However they all look fallible at times, except the Thunder who always seem to get a good score on the board. Both Heat and Hurricanes have had some very poor innings of late. I’m not completely ruling out Strikers or even Renegades yet to sneak in to top four, as long as 10 points is still fourth, as all can beat each other on their day. The only exception is Thunder who seem to have been in the most consistent form and currently look huge favourites to me to win the thing.

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    • James – don’t put your mortgage on 10 points for 4th place because its impossible. I thought it could only happen if (A) Stars lose all 5 of their remaining games AND (B) Scorchers lose both of theirs AND (C) Strikers lose all 5 of their remaining games (other than the 2 they would have to win against Stars to satisfy (A). Only flaw being that if (A), (B) and (C) occurred it would mean Renegades win 4 games (2 against Strikers and 2 against Scorchers) and therefore get to 12 points.
      Therefore there is no combination of results that allows for a 10 points 4th place team. QED.

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      • OK, but I never actually said there was. What I meant that was that Renegades are not mathematically out, yet. I don’t actually think they have any hope of going through.

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  3. At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, if Thunder win just one more game they are assured a place in the semis.

    With 18 pts, Heat can’t reach them, neither can Scorchers and neither can Sixers so that means 3 teams can’t get to 18 pts.

    It follows that there needs only to be one more team that can’t reach 18 pts and Thunder are assured a top 4 spot with 18 pts.

    Renegades and Strikers cannot both reach 18 pts (Renegades could get 18pts only provided they win all 7 of their remaining games – only thing is that 2 of them are against Strikers which would mean Strikers could only get to 16 pts) so either Renegades or Strikers (at least if not both) fail to get 18 pts.

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  4. …. and just to clarify the “Seems to me, get to 16 points means a team are in the semis” in my first comment above. That was a statement of likelihood not maths.
    Mathematically it is still possible for a team on 16 pts to fail to qualify. For example
    Heat bt Strikers
    Thunder lose all remaining matches
    Hurricanes bt Sixers at least once but lose to Stars
    Stars bt Thunder twice and Hurricanes but twice lose to Strikers
    Strikers lose to Heat but beat Stars twice and win at least 3 of the fours games against Sixers and Renegades.
    In this scenario, Heat, Thunder, Stars, Strikers and Hurricanes all end up with at least 16 pts so one loses out.

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  5. Wow. Some great logic going on here. Impressive stuff! So if 18 points is automatic qualification (at least for the Thunder(?)) and 16 points may not be enough to get through, at least it gives all the teams a clear target of what to do. Am I correct in thinking that Thunder need one win from four, Hurricanes two wins from three, Stars four from five, Strikers six from seven and Renegades all seven wins from seven games to be guaranteed of qualification? By this logic Sixers, Scorchers and Heat cannot automatically qualify but must rely on other results, and so are strangely the first teams to be in this position (presumably by dint of playing the most games) even though the latter two (Scorchers and Heat) are quite high in the table. Wowzers. Presumably after the next round of games this situation will all have changed. How long will it be before we have a definite knock-out? This uneven scheduling really stretches the grey matter for me. [Awaits righteous mathematical corrections]

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    • James

      Q: “So if 18 points is automatic qualification (at least for the Thunder(?))” – I take that question mark as a question, not least because it’s a very interesting question and the answer answers some of your other questions.

      A: In an earlier reply I stated “Mathematically it is still possible for a team on 16 pts to fail to qualify” but you are (effectively) asking whether a team could be certain of qualification with only 16 pts (we’ll ignore the scenario of a game being washed out and stick to even numbers points).

      It doesn’t necessarily follow that because Thunder need to get 18 pts to be certain of a semi-final place then all teams also need to get at least 18 pts. In theory a team W might have to play team X twice, team Y twice and team Z twice and in winning all these games it supresses team X, Y and Z’s maximum points capability to such an extent that it reduces team X’s point target for definite qualification.

      For example:-

      Team A 16 pts – 4 games to play (all against the B, C, D)
      Team X 14 pts – 2 games to play (both against W)
      Team Y 14 pts – 2 games to play (both against W)
      Team Z 14 pts – 2 games to play (both against W)
      Team B 12 pts – 2 games to play both against Team A
      Team C 12 pts – 1 game to play against Team A
      Team D 10 pts – 1 game to play against Team A
      Team W 4 pts – 6 games to play

      Team A need to get to 18 pts (to be sure of top 4) because X, Y, Z and B could get to 16 points.
      Team W only need to get to 16 points because in getting to 16 points they restrict team X, Y and Z to 14 points. With C and D both unable to reach 16 pts, team W is assured of a top 4 (in fact top 3) position with 16 pts.

      (The above is a real possibility – 46 matches played so far, 92 points achieved, 10 games to play)

      As I stated – ‘in theory’ – so for any table it doesn’t necessarily follow that all teams need to get the same number of pts to be certain of a top 4 position.

      The question is, is this true for the current WBBL table ? Rather interestingly it is (jump to the paragraph on Strikers if you are getting bored).

      Sixers. If they win their 7 remaining matches they will beat Strikers twice (and thus limit Strikers to 16pts max, they will beat Hurricanes twice (and thus limit Hurricanes to 16pts max, Heat can only get 16 pts max and Scorchers can only reach 14 pts max. This puts Sixers at worst in a 3 way tie for 2 qualification places on 16 pts but that’s not certain qualification so they need at least 18 pts to be certain (and they can’t reach 18 pts so it’s out of their hands).

      Renegades’ opponents in their remaining matches means that 16 pts would not (as the table stands now) guarantee them qualification because whatever they do they cannot prevent Thunder, Hurricanes, Heat and Stars reaching at least 16 pts. If they won all their remaining matches and reached 18 pts then they would qualify. Sixers, Scorchers and Heat can’t reach 18 pts and Strikers would not be able to because of their double loss to Renegades.

      Strikers – the interesting case because they can guarantee qualification on only 16 pts. If they beat Renegades (twice), Stars, Heat and Sixers (once) then they get 16 pts, meanwhile these results mean Renegades, Sixers, Heat and Scorchers can only reach 14 pts. This is really interesting from a betting point of view because take a look at the table and you would think Strikers are a crap bet for qualification. In fact, given 3 of their 5 required victories are against Sixers and Renegades and that they only need 16 pts (less than others), the odds might be attractive.

      Scorchers, must, as you suggest rely on other results. As demonstrated in a previous reply, they have to get to 12 pts to stand any chance of qualification.

      Stars, as you suggest, need 4 wins from 5 to be certain. If they win only 3 that takes them to 16 pts but even 2 wins against Strikers can’t prevent Strikers making 16pts and they can’t stop Thunder, Hurricanes and Heat getting to 16 pts as well.

      Heat, as you suggest, need to rely on other results. They can at most make 16 pts but can’t prevent at least 4 other teams getting to 16 pts as well.

      Hurricanes, as you suggest, need at least 2 wins out of 3. If they get to only 16 pts (so only 1 win) then they can’t stop Thunder, Stars, Heat and Strikers all reaching 16 pts as well.

      Q: “How long will it be before we have a definite knock-out”

      A: Depends on the results !

      Interesting (and difficult) question is what is the earliest we could have a definite top 4. Well it can’t happen next weekend. There are 7 matches and Sixers v Renegades (twice) and Thunder v Renegades are not going to solidify the top 4 (albeit a Thunder win guarantees them a top 4 slot). The remaining 4 matches are Strikers v Stars (twice) and Strikers v Sixers (twice). Even if Strikers loss all 4 and therefore scuttle their qualification, there will still be 5 teams vying for 4 places (or 4 vying for 3 if Thunder win).

      The 3 matches on the 15th can’t solidify the top either (Stars v Thunder, Hurricanes v Sixers and Strikers v Renegades). The reason for this is really down to Heat and Scorchers. Scorchers don’t play against until the 16th so until then can still reach 14 pts, Heat don’t play against until the 16th so until then are on 14 pts so even if Stars win their matches and Hurricanes win their on the 15th, we still have, as a minimum, Heat and Scorchers still battling it out. Likewise if Strikers win all 5 of their games (and get to 16 pts) and Hurricanes win their on the 15th, we still have, as a minimum, Heat and Scorchers still battling it out.

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    • The earliest it can be solidified is, I think, on the 16th. I think a victory for Heat over of Strikers in the 1st match on the 16th is the earliest a definite top 4 can be declared (Thunder, Hurricanes, Heat and either Stars or Strikers).

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  6. Thank you very much to The Clanger for his clear and comprehensive analysis in this comments section. I love this website!

    It is indeed very interesting that not all teams need the same points to guarantee their progress (I suspected this may have been the case, which is why I asked and didn’t assume). As you say the Strikers have a somewhat easier task than it would initially appear, due to who they have left to play and the way the games have worked out for their rivals. I have a feeling that after this upcoming weekend a few more things will have been resolved. Of course the longer everything remains open and possible, the more exciting the run-in will be.

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    • I think (and its only a hunch) that the very fact that the number of matches is so completely asymmetrical is delaying the point at which matters get resolved – a good thing really.

      Slightly less interesting than the above statements about the minimum number of pts each team needs to guarantee outright qualification is the minimum points they need to guarantee outright qualification provided others results were to go their way. These are:-
      Thunder 16 (obviously)
      Hurr 14 (obviously)
      Heat 14 (obviously)
      Stars 12
      Scor 12
      Strikers 12
      Ren 12
      Sixers 14

      If anyone is looking for NRR heaven then look no further than the result combinations (88 of them) that will produce 6, yes 6 teams on the same pts. Below is the only case (well there are actually 4 cases but with teams playing each twice its really just one) where 6 teams log jam on 16pts (all the others have 6 teams log jammed on 14pts from 2nd to 7th place):-

      Strikers beat Stars
      Renegades beat Sixers
      Strikers beat Sixers
      Strikers beat Sixers
      Renegades beat Thunder
      Strikers beat Stars
      Renegades beat Sixers
      Stars beat Thunder
      Hurricanes beat Sixers
      Strikers beat Renegades
      Heat beat Strikers
      Sixers beat Thunder
      Stars beat Hurricanes
      Renegades beat Scorchers
      Stars beat Thunder
      Sixers beat Hurricanes
      Renegades beat Strikers
      Renegades beat Scorchers

      Heat 16
      Hurr 16
      Ren 16
      Stars 16
      Strikers 16
      Thunder 16
      Scor 10
      Sixers 6

      88 might sound like a lot but remember there are 262144 result combinations possible (2 to the power 18 for those remotely interested) so there isn’t much chance these log jams will transpire.

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