Cricket Australia has revamped the structure of the Big Bash League (BBL), bringing in a number of changes to it. On Thursday, it introduced a new-look, five-team finals series in the upcoming BBL season to better reward teams that finish in the top two.
Played over two weekends, the new five-match finals system guarantees a double-chance for teams that finish first and second in the regular season. The finals will start on January 30, 2020 and run across two weekends, culminating in a Saturday night decider on February 8.
The five finals have all been given unique monikers; The Eliminator, The Qualifier, The Knock-Out, The Challenger and The Final.
As per the new format, the teams finishing fourth and fifth will play ‘The Eliminator’ on January 30 while the teams finishing first and second will play ‘The Qualifier’ on the next day.
On February 1, the Winner of ‘The Eliminator’ will take on the third-placed before the action unfolds on the next weekend. In ‘The Challenger’, the loser of ‘The Qualifier’ will go up against the winner of ‘The Knock-Out’ on February 6 to have a chance to get to ‘The Final’. The Final will be played on February 8 between the winner of ‘The Qualifier’ and the winner of ‘The Challenger’
“The number one element is to give the best chance for the teams finishing first and second to make it through,” said Cricket Australia’s Head of the BBL, Alistair Dobson, at the launch of the 2019-20 BBL fixture.
“We want to reward the teams finishing first and second as well as we can.
“(We want) more fans to be part of the finals and this model also gives us a chance for the team hosting the final to have more preparation,” he added.
In six of the eight previous BBL seasons, the team that has finished top of the table has been knocked out in a cut-throat semi-final and Cricket Australia has moved to make the finals fairer for the teams that dominate the regular season.
The tournament will start on December 17 with Brisbane Heat taking on Sydney Thunder in a home game as the tournament will go on for 42 days this time instead of 54 with 56 games being played.