CRICKET: This season's Sydney Sixers might just have the 2015-16 Thunder covered as the least likely finalists in Big Bash League history.
Ahead of Saturday's season decider against the Scorchers, we look at the Sixers unlikely rise in 2016-17.
Last year's wooden spooners then lost to the Thunder. And made the finals. How?
They didn't just lose. They were routed.
The Sixers' campaign was rocked early when they encountered the Hurricanes in their second match.
Set an intimidating target of 200, the Sydney franchise stumbled and were eventually bowled out for 140 in 16.2 overs.
Their next defeat came at the hands of the Strikers - and the circumstances were familiar. The Sixers were rolled for 104 in 18.2 overs after Adelaide set a target of 9-152.
But their last loss was the heaviest. Playing at home against their lowly cross-town rivals, the Sixers were restricted to a paltry 9-99 from their 20 overs - a target the Thunder promptly chased down in 10 overs with eight wickets in hand.
The Thunder, Hurricanes and Strikers finished the season 8th, 7th and 6th respectively.
"Twenty20 you've just got to have belief in yourself," Sixers general manager Dom Remond told FoxSports.com.au.
"(The Thunder loss) was definitely a low point of the season.
"There was a very brief discussion about what happened and then the main message from (coach) Greg Shipperd was to put that behind us and look forward.
"Everyone was thinking there was a number of guys who haven't had their day in the sun yet, and they're going to be due at some point.
"You really only need one or two to have their moment in the sun each game and that changes the game."
Given the heavy nature of the aforementioned defeats, the Sixers finished the season with the worst net run rate of any team in the competition.
It was also the worst net run rate of any BBL finalist from the past six seasons.
Sydney's NRR of -0.848 was inferior to the Thunder (-0.6) and the Hurricanes (-0.53) and miles behind fellow finalists the Scorchers (0.618), Heat (0.516) and Stars (0.397).
Even the fifth-placed Renegades and sixth-placed Strikers finished with a positive NRR.
Only four teams have taken a negative NRR into the playoffs since the league began - and three of those were the Sixers.
In addition to this season's effort, the Sydney franchise made the top four with a negative NRR of -0.218 in 2013-14 and -0.014 in 2014-15. The Scorchers are the only other team to make the finals with negative NRR - -0.064 in 2013-14.
Despite this, the Sixers still finished with the equal best win-loss record (5-3) in the competition this season.
Victory over the Scorchers at The Furnace on Saturday would ensure the Sixers become the first team since the inception of the BBL to move from wooden spooners to champions in a single year.
The Sixers finished 2015-16 with a lowly 2-6 record.
Their only victories coming against the Hurricanes and Renegades, neither of whom made the final.
Not even the Thunder can claim to have transitioned from last to first in a season.
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