Shorter Big Bash season part of radical overhaul
THE Big Bash League will unveil a radical new five-team finals series this summer that aims to provide a greater reward for the top two teams.
The new five-game finals format will be played across almost two weeks after a shortened home-and-away season and will give the teams that finish first and second a double chance and the winner of their qualifier battle a week to prepare for the final.
In other highlights of the 2019-2020 BBL fixture, announced on Thursday:
*Victorian fans will have to wait until January 4 for a rematch of last year's final between the Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades at the MCG.
*Melbourne Renegades will open their season against the Sydney Thunder at GMHBA Stadium on December 19.
*Melbourne Stars kick-off their season on the road against the Brisbane Heat at Metricon Stadium on December 20. The Stars' first home game is against the Hobart Hurricanes on December 22 at a venue TBC.
*Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder open the season on December 17 at the Gabba.
*The Renegades will host the final game of the regular season against the Heat at Marvel Stadium on January 27, concluding a bonanza of cricket featuring seven games across three days of the Australia Day long weekend.
*There will be no games on Christmas Day, but the Hurricanes will host the Renegades in the afternoon on Christmas Eve at Blundstone Arena.
*The regular season will be condensed by 13 days this summer.
In the new finals format, fourth and fifth will kick off the series in the eliminator on January 30, followed by the qualifier between first and second on January 31 from which the winner heads straight to the final.
The third-placed team will play the winner of the eliminator in the knockout final, while the loser of the qualifier between first and second will battle the winner of the knockout in the challenger final for a place in the decider.
Head of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson said the league had wanted to give the teams that finished on top after the regular season more reward.
"The number one element is to make it the best chance for the teams finishing first and second to make it through,'' Dobson said.
"It's an amazing quirk of history that the team finishing first at the end of the season has only won it once and the team finishing third or fourth has won it more often, so we want to reward teams finishing first and second as well as we can.
"There is an element though of making the game more accessible for more fans to be part of the finals and this model also gives us the chance for the team hosting the final to have more preparation going in."
Dobson defended the decision to have more teams playing in the finals than not.
"It's actually harder for fifth to win it this year than it was for fourth to win it in the previous season," Dobson said.
"So you have to win four finals to win it from fifth and if a team go on a run like that at the end of the season then they probably deserve to win it.
"But also another team being a part of it keeps the end of the season alive and we're really excited about the finals.
"When we put all the different factors and considerations into the mix, it's the right model when we talk about rewarding the right teams, keeping the fans at the forefront and providing preparation time into the final, we are very comfortable with it."
Dobson said scheduling and venue considerations meant the Melbourne Derby could not be played any earlier in the season.
"There is a whole range of considerations in the scheduling, the availability of the MCG through Boxing Day Test, the ability to spread home games across the season, so that the clubs can maximise the accessibility of the games," Dobson said.
"That's just the way that it fell this year and we think it's going to be a massive game either way."
2019-2020 BIG BASH LEAGUE FIXTURE
TUE 17 DEC HEAT v THUNDER THE GABBA 7:10PM
WED 18 DEC SIXERS v SCORCHERS SCG 7:10PM
THU 19 DEC RENEGADES v THUNDER GMHBA STADIUM 7:10PM
FRI 20 DEC HURRICANES v SIXERS TRAEGER PARK 2:45PM
FRI 20 DEC HEAT v STARS METRICON STADIUM 7:10PM
SAT 21 DEC THUNDER v STRIKERS (TBC) 6:10PM
SAT 21 DEC SCORCHERS v RENEGADES OPTUS STADIUM 9:10PM
SUN 22 DEC STARS v HURRICANES (TBC) 2:45PM
SUN 22 DEC SIXERS v HEAT SCG 7:10PM
MON 23 DEC STRIKERS v SCORCHERS ADELAIDE OVAL 7:10PM
TUE 24 DEC HURRICANES v RENEGADES BLUNDSTONE ARENA 2:45PM
THU 26 DEC SCORCHERS v SIXERS OPTUS STADIUM 7:10PM
FRI 27 DEC STARS v STRIKERS METRICON STADIUM 7:10PM
SAT 28 DEC SIXERS v THUNDER SCG 7:10PM
SUN 29 DEC RENEGADES v STRIKERS MARVEL STADIUM 7:10PM
MON 30 DEC HURRICANES v STARS UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA STADIUM 7:10PM
TUE 31 DEC STRIKERS v THUNDER ADELAIDE OVAL 7:10PM
WED 1 JAN HEAT v SCORCHERS METRICON STADIUM 7:10PM
THU 2 JAN THUNDER v STARS SYDNEY SHOWGROUND STADIUM 3:40PM
THU 2 JAN RENEGADES v SIXERS MARVEL STADIUM 7:10PM
FRI 3 JAN HURRICANES v HEAT BLUNDSTONE ARENA 7:10PM
SAT 4 JAN STARS v RENEGADES MCG 7:10PM
SUN 5 JAN SIXERS v STRIKERS (TBC) 6:40PM
SUN 5 JAN SCORCHERS v HURRICANES OPTUS STADIUM 9:40PM
MON 6 JAN THUNDER v HEAT SYDNEY SHOWGROUND STADIUM 7:10PM
TUE 7 JAN RENEGADES v SCORCHERS GMHBA STADIUM 7:10PM
WED 8 JAN STRIKERS v SIXERS ADELAIDE OVAL 3:40PM
WED 8 JAN STARS v THUNDER MCG 7:10PM
THU 9 JAN HEAT v HURRICANES THE GABBA 7:10PM
FRI 10 JAN RENEGADES v STARS MARVEL STADIUM 7:10PM
SAT 11 JAN THUNDER v HURRICANES SYDNEY SHOWGROUND STADIUM 6:10PM
SAT 11 JAN SCORCHERS v HEAT OPTUS STADIUM 9:10PM
SUN 12 JAN STRIKERS v RENEGADES ADELAIDE OVAL 3:40PM
SUN 12 JAN STARS v SIXERS MCG 7:10PM
MON 13 JAN HURRICANES v SCORCHERS BLUNDSTONE ARENA 7:10PM
TUE 14 JAN HEAT v STRIKERS THE GABBA 3:40PM
WED 15 JAN THUNDER v RENEGADES (TBC) 6:10PM
WED 15 JAN SCORCHERS v STARS OPTUS STADIUM 9:10PM
THU 16 JAN SIXERS v HURRICANES SCG 7:10PM
FRI 17 JAN STRIKERS v HEAT ADELAIDE OVAL 3:40PM
SAT 18 JAN STARS v SCORCHERS MCG 3:40PM
SAT 18 JAN THUNDER v SIXERS SYDNEY SHOWGROUND STADIUM 7:10PM
SUN 19 JAN HURRICANES v STRIKERS UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA STADIUM 2:45PM
SUN 19 JAN HEAT v RENEGADES THE GABBA 7:10PM
MON 20 JAN SIXERS v STARS SCG 6:40PM
MON 20 JAN SCORCHERS v THUNDER OPTUS STADIUM 9:40PM
TUE 21 JAN RENEGADES v HURRICANES MARVEL STADIUM 7:10PM
WED 22 JAN STRIKERS v STARS ADELAIDE OVAL 7:10PM
THU 23 JAN HEAT v SIXERS THE GABBA 7:10PM
FRI 24 JAN HURRICANES v THUNDER BLUNDSTONE ARENA 6:10PM
FRI 24 JAN SCORCHERS v STRIKERS OPTUS STADIUM 9:10PM
SAT 25 JAN SIXERS v RENEGADES SCG 3:40PM
SAT 25 JAN STARS v HEAT MCG 7:10PM
SUN 26 JAN THUNDER v SCORCHERS SYDNEY SHOWGROUND STADIUM 2:45PM
SUN 26 JAN STRIKERS v HURRICANES ADELAIDE OVAL 7:10PM
MON 27 JAN RENEGADES v HEAT MARVEL STADIUM 2:45PM