Big Bash League dates announced with new finals structure

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Captains of the BBL franchises seen in this undated photo. — Cricket Australia/File
Captains of the BBL franchises seen in this undated photo. — Cricket Australia/File

A new finals structure for the 13th season of the Big Bash League (BBL) has been confirmed, Cricket Australia said on Thursday while unveiling the 44-game schedule for the summer tournament.

The summer tournament including 40 home-and-away matches and a new-look four-game finals series will begin on December 7, with the opening match between last season’s runners-up Brisbane Heat and hosts Melbourne Stars at the Gabba.

The matches have been reduced under the revamped format and fixtures to narrow down the window.

BBL 13 will culminate in a rare mid-week final. Each team will play 10 league matches before the top four teams qualify for the knockout phase, Fox Sports reported.

Earlier, the BBL playoffs involved a total of five teams that played a total of five matches in the knockout phase.

The tournament will have a five-day pause from December 14-18 for Australia’s opening Test against Pakistan in Perth, after the first seven matches.

Both Boxing Day and New Year’s Day will host double-headers.

The four-game finals series will lead into the decider on January 24 with the final played mid-week for only the second time.

“We’re incredibly pleased and excited with the BBL fixtures we’ve been able to deliver this season,” said BBL general manager Alistair Dobson in announcing the 44-match series.

The Perth Scorchers will be defending their title after beating the Heat to win an unprecedented fifth crown last season.


—  Additional input from AFP

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