Tweaks to the format of the Kia Super League Finals Day have somewhat slipped under the radar this week… we can’t imagine why!
In short, as reported on Women’s Cricket Blog, just 3 of the 6 teams will make it to Finals Day, with the second and third-placed sides playing-off earlier in the day, for the right to face the first-placed team in the “actual” final later on.
It is slightly unorthodox perhaps, but there are a couple of big reasons why this is a great idea!
First, it shortens the day considerably, and if you are trying to attract families and kids, this is important. The “triple-header” format just about works for the County T20 Cup, but it makes for a long, long day even for us, and we live and breathe this game – so honestly, we had our doubts about it for KSL, but this is the perfect solution.
Second, from a sporting perspective, it helps to restore the primacy of the league.
We understand why so many sports love the idea of play-offs and a “Grand Final” – it is a big day out for the fans, and an “occasion” for the press to latch on to; not to mention that it can maintain interest in the league part of the competition for longer, because in a sense, four teams “win” the league to go through to the play offs.
But from a sporting point of view this isn’t so much a feature as a bug – you can come 4th in a 6-team League, losing as many games as you win, and still take home the trophy? Somehow, that just seems wrong!
These KSL tweaks “fix” that feeling somewhat because now only the top half of the table qualifies for Finals Day; plus actually winning the league section is now massively and deservedly advantageous, putting you straight through to the “actual” final, without the need to contest a play-off.
It feels like the right balance – there is still a grand final to hopefully get lots of “bums on seats” (and sofas?) like the FA did last Saturday with their Women’s Cup Final; but the competition which plays out in the two-and-a-half weeks which precede it matters that much more – putting some real emphasis back onto what is, after all, supposed to be a Kia Super League!