This article is about the cricket competition. For the equivalent men’s and women’s competitions, see Big Bash League.
“Big Bash” redirects here. For the competition run from 2005 to 2011, see KFC Twenty20 Big Bash.
The Big Bash League (known as the KFC Big Bash League for sponsorship reasons, often abbreviated to BBL or Big Bash) is an Australian professional franchise Twenty20 cricket league, which was established in 2011 by Cricket Australia. The Big Bash League replaced the previous competition, the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, and features eight city-based franchises instead of the six state teams which had participated previously. The competition has been sponsored by fast-food chicken outlet KFC since its inception. It is one of the two T20 cricket leagues, alongside the Indian Premier League, to feature amongst the top ten domestic sports leagues in average attendance. The winner of BBL 10 (2020/2021) was the Sydney Sixers who beat the Perth Scorchers by 27 runs in the final. The Sydney Sixers successfully defended the title after winning it in the 2019/2020 season, after defeating the Melbourne Stars.
BBL matches are played in Australia during the summer; in December, January and February.
Out of the eight teams in the tournament, six have won the title at least once. The Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers are the most successful teams in the league’s short history, both having won the title three times including consecutively for two years. The other four teams which have won the title are the Adelaide Strikers, Melbourne Renegades, Brisbane Heat, and Sydney Thunder.
Before 2014, the top two teams in the tournament used to qualify for the Champions League Twenty20 tournament, which was an annual international Twenty20 competition played between the top domestic teams from various nations; it became defunct after the 2014 tournament.
A design contest was held in 2011 to determine the design of the Big Bash League trophy. The competition was restricted to Australian designers, with the final design, chosen by the public from a field of three, revealed on 13 December 2011
2. Expansion proposal
It had been proposed that the tournament would undergo expansion into more regional areas not supported by international cricket. The expansion was originally planned to be implemented in 2012. The proposed teams included: Newcastle, Canberra, Geelong, and Gold Coast. A New Zealand-based team was also mentioned as a possibility which would be based at Auckland or Christchurch, but this is unlikely to happen. The expansion proposal was suspended, mainly because the proposed cities lacked the proper cricket hosting facilities. Shane Warne bowling against Sydney Sixers in 2011 at the SCG
In 2015, former Black Caps captain and Melbourne Stars coach Stephen Fleming suggested the expansion of the tournament to include New Zealand teams and become a trans-Tasman competition. He said an expansion into New Zealand would be widely supported by locals. His views were also supported by Brisbane Heat coach and former Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori. Melbourne Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry also stated that he wants Cricket Australia to grant each club a fifth home fixture next season. Coventry said the BBL was ready to expand from 8 to 10 games, and adding matches would further establish the franchises.
In 2016, Anthony Everard, head of the BBL, flagged the league’s intentions to approach expansion through a soft launch. He stated the short to medium-term goal was to schedule BBL games involving existing franchises in regional markets before potentially adding new teams after the 2017–18 season when the broadcast deal expired. He also indicated the regional markets of Canberra, Geelong and Gold Coast will likely host games during the soft launch period. On 27 January 2017, Everard announced an extra eight matches would be added to the 2017–18 season and implored each existing franchise to look at new markets when considering where the extra games would be played, although the lengthened season was not implemented until 2018–19.
In 2018, it was reported that the Gold Coast Suns were interested in securing a Big Bash League franchise if the competition was expanded
3. Women’s Big Bash League
Former women’s Test captain and Head of Brisbane’s Centre of Excellence, Belinda Clark, revealed on 19 January 2014 that planning for a women’s BBL was in its early stages but could become a reality very soon. She stated that the proposal was being considered due to the huge rise in television ratings during the 2013–14 season, and the rise in women’s cricket popularity.
On 19 February 2015, Cricket Australia announced that a Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) would commence in the 2015–16 season, with teams aligned to the men’s competition. It was announced that the teams would share the names and colors of the existing men’s BBL teams, meaning that there would be two teams from Sydney and Melbourne and one team from Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, and Perth.
The inaugural Women’s Big Bash League was won by the Sydney Thunder against the Sydney Sixers. The Sydney Thunder won by 3 wickets. However, WBBL 02 and 03 were won by the Sydney Sixers
4. Christmas Day match
In December 2015, Cricket Australia revealed that they are looking into the possibility of hosting a Christmas Day BBL match in the coming years, possibly after the next season. If the proposal is passed, it would be a first in the history of Australian sport since no professional matches are played in Australia on Christmas Day. “It is something we have just recently started discussing, the possibilities of that. We’re talking about playing a Christmas Eve match, we already play Boxing Day,” CA’s Executive GM (Operations) Mike McKenna said. This has not yet occurred, but in September 2018, it was reported that Cricket Australia had struck a deal with the Players Association to play BBL matches on Christmas Day.
Since the inception of the BBL in 2011, the tournament has followed the same format every year except the inaugural season. The first BBL season had 28 group stage matches, before expanding to 32 in the following season.
Since the 2018–19 season, each team plays all other teams twice during a season, for a total of 56 regular season matches before the finals series.
In previous seasons of the tournament, the group stage matches were divided into eight rounds, with four matches played in each round. Each team played six other teams once during a season, and one team twice. This allowed for both Sydney and Melbourne (which have two teams each) to play 2 derbies within a single season. Each team played eight group stage matches, four at home and four away before the top four ranked teams progressed to the semi-finals. In the 2017/18 Season, the format changed so that there would be 40 group stage matches with each team playing 10 matches before the semi-finals. The season was held over a similar time frame thus resulting in more doubleheaders (one game afternoon, one game night) and teams playing more regularly.
The final of the tournament is played at the home ground of the highest-ranked team. The only exception to this rule was 2014–15 season when the final was played at a neutral venue (Manuka Oval), due to the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
In the 2018–19 season, the league introduced a ‘bat flip’ (instead of a coin toss) to decide who would bat/bowl first.
The finals structure was changed in the 2019–20 season to include the fifth team. The structure was a hybrid version of the Page–McIntyre final four systems with the addition of ‘The Eliminator’ being the difference between the original and the hybrid versions.
Home team listed first
The Eliminator (Elimination Final)- Fourth v Fifth
The Qualifier (Second Semi-Final)- First v Second
The Knock-Out (First Semi-Final)- Third v Winner of The Eliminator
The Challenger (Preliminary Final)- Loser of The Qualifier v Winner of The Knock-Out
The Final (Grand Final)- Winner of The Qualifier v Winner of The Challenger
In order to give BBL a boost for the 2020-21 season, Cricket Australia decided to introduce three new rules—Power Surge, X-Factor Player and the Bash Boost.
The competition features eight city-based franchises, instead of the six state-based teams which had previously competed in the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash. Each state’s capital city features one team, with Sydney and Melbourne featuring two. The team names and colours for all teams were officially announced on 6 April 2011. The Melbourne Derby and Sydney Derby matches are some of the most heavily attended matches during the league and are widely anticipated by the fans. The Scorchers and Sixers have also developed a rivalry between them over the years and their matches attract good crowds and TV ratings.
A single city-based franchise can have a maximum of 19 contracted players for a season, with the squad including a minimum of two rookie contracts and a maximum of six overseas players, although only three international players can play in each match from 2020 to 2021 edition. Each team can also have a maximum of two overseas replacement players, in case the original overseas players get injured or withdraw
Tournament season and results
The Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers have won the title three times: the Scorchers in the 2013–14, 2014–15, and 2016–17 seasons and the Sixers in the 2011–12, 2019–20, and 2020–21 seasons. Both of these teams have won the title in consecutive seasons.
The Scorchers have reached the final of the tournament six times. Out of the eight teams in the tournament, six have won the title at least once. Only two other teams (the Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Stars) have reached the final at least twice The other four teams which have won the title once are the Brisbane Heat in the second season (2012–13), the Sydney Thunder in (2015–16), the Adelaide Strikers in (2017–18), and the Melbourne Renegades in (2018–19).
The WACA Ground has hosted the final on four occasions, the most of any venue.
A total of seventeen grounds have been used to host BBL matches to date. Sydney Thunder moved out of ANZ Stadium after 2014–15 season and relocated to Sydney Showground Stadium for the next 10 years. From 2020, the tournament Final is played at the home ground of the team which wins ‘The Qualifier’, a finals match contested between the teams finishing 1st and 2nd in the League. The WACA Ground has hosted the final four times, more than any other venue. Manuka Oval hosted the final of 2014–15 BBL season as a neutral venue primarily because other major grounds were being prepared for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Optus Stadium replaced the WACA Ground as the home ground of Perth Scorchers commencing from the 2017–18 BBL semi-finals, where Perth’s home match against Hobart Hurricanes (and a doubleheader WBBL match featuring the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder) became only the second public event at the new stadium.
In September 2017 the Adelaide Strikers agreed to play one home BBL and WBBL match at Traeger Park in Alice Springs over the course of the 2017–18 season. In 2018, they announced that one BBL and two WBBL matches would be held at Traeger Park for the 2018–19 and 2019–20 seasons. Since 2017–18, the Melbourne Renegades have played two matches per season at Kardinia Park in Geelong, Victoria and the Hobart Hurricanes play multiple games at UTAS Stadium in Launceston, Tasmania.
|Name of the stadium||Capacity||City||Home team|
|Adelaide Oval||53,583||Adelaide||Adelaide Strikers|
|Blundstone Arena||19,500||Hobart||Hobart Hurricanes|
|Marvel Stadium||53,359||Melbourne||Melbourne Renegades|
|Optus Stadium||60,000||Perth||Perth Scorchers|
|Brisbane Cricket Ground||42,000||Brisbane||Brisbane Heat|
|Melbourne Cricket Ground||100,024||Melbourne||Melbourne Stars|
|Sydney Showground Stadium||22,000||Sydney||Sydney Thunder|
|Sydney Cricket Ground||48,000||Sydney||Sydney Sixers|
|UTAS Stadium||21,000||Launceston||Hobart Hurricanes|
|GMHBA Stadium||34,000||Geelong||Melbourne Renegades|
|Traeger Park||10,000||Alice Springs||Hobart Hurricanes|
|Manuka Oval||12,000||Canberra||Sydney Thunder|
|Metricon Stadium||25,000||Gold Coast||Brisbane Heat
|Ted Summerton Reserve||7,500||Moe||Melbourne Stars|
|Coffs Harbour International Stadium||20,000||Coffs Harbour||Sydney Sixers|
|ANZ Stadium||82,000||Sydney||Sydney Thunder (2011–2014)|
|WACA Ground||20,000||Perth||Perth Scorchers (2011–2018)|
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