BBL 09: Shorter season, new finals series part of CA revamp


In a bid to spruce up their country’s premier T20 tournament, Cricket Australia have reduced the duration of the Big Bash League. These changes come on the back of strong feedback from fans, players and broadcasters that the last season was “too long”.

Slated to begin on December 17 at The Gabba, the ninth season of the Big Bash League will feature 56 league games in 42 days instead of 54. The blockbuster Australia Day weekend (January 24-27) will feature seven matches across four days, with all eight sides playing at least once. The top 5 teams won’t be decided until the business end of the competition, keeping the excitement alive. A total of 15 double-headers will be played throughout the season.

At the heart of Australian summer

A shorter season also means that most of Australia’s international players will be available for a longer duration, considering the absence of white-ball cricket for the men’s team. They will, however, be away for a 3-match ODI series against India from January 14-19. A compressed international calendar means that the BBL will rightfully take centre-stage in the Australian summer of 2019-20.

“It was overwhelming feedback primarily from fans, but players wanted to play more cricket in a shorter period and all our key stakeholders were on board with that”, said Alistair Dobson, CA’s new Head of the BBL.

Dobson added that most of the regular-season matches will be played on school holidays, making the tournament more accessible and consumable for families.

Revamped finals structure

CA has also announced changes in the structure of the finals series, spreading it over two weeks to give fairer chances to the top two teams. In six of the previous eight seasons, the table-toppers have been kicked out in the semi-final.

As per the new format, teams finishing 4th and 5th will clash in ‘The Eliminator’ on January 30 and the top two teams will face off in ‘The Qualifier’ the next day (January 31).

On February 1, the team that wins the eliminator will square off in ‘The Knockout’ against the third-placed side on the points table. Five days later, ‘The Challenger’ will involve a clash between the loser of the qualifier and the winner of the knockout (February 6). The grand finale will be played between the winner of the qualifier and the winner of the challenger on February 8.