The Big Bash League, the premier T20 competition run by Cricket Australia, is set to start its 11th edition in December 2021. It features eight city-based franchises from Perth on the west to Brisbane on the eastern end of Australia. It was the first major T20 Cricket franchise league since the Indian Premier League when it launched in 2011/12 and is still the second most popular T20 franchise league in the World.
BBL is the second most followed T20 League in the world after IPL.
The Big Bash League generally starts in the month of December and carries on till January and sometimes into February as well. Barring Melbourne Stars, all the franchises have Won the BBL championship at least once in the first 10 years showcasing the kind of strength each has in this competition.
While Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers – including the one in the last season – have won the championship thrice, the Adelaide Strikers, Melbourne Renegades, Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder have won the BBL championship once each.
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The BBL has seen several records over the years. Here are some of the highlights.
Marcus Stoinis recorded the highest individual score by a player in the Big Bash League when he made 147* in 79 balls for the Melbourne Stars against Sydney Sixers in early 2020.
Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lanka player, playing in an overseas slot for the Melbourne Stars recorded the best-ever figures in BBL when he took 6 for seven against Perth Scorchers in 2012. The only other bowler to record a six-wicket haul in the Big Bash League is Ish Sodhi, the Black Caps spinner, who took for 6/11 for Adelaide Strikers in the 2017 match against Sydney Thunder.
Thanks to atrocious hitting by Alex Hales – 110 runs off 56 deliveries with 9 fours and 8 sixes – Sydney Thunder recorded the highest BBL score in the last season scoring 232 for 5 against the eventual champions Sydney Sixers. Thunder went past 223 by Hurricanes in 2017 BBL.
In 2015, the Renegades were bowled out for 57 chasing a target of 170 set by the Melbourne Stars. This is the lowest total recorded team score in the history of the Big Bash League.
Alex Carrey of the Adelaide Strikers has recorded 51 dismissals in 48 innings as a wicketkeeper – 47 catches and 4 stumpings – the most by any wicketkeeper in the league’s history.
Marcus Stoinis and Hilton Cartwright put up a partnership of 207 runs against Sixers in 2020 which is the highest partnership recorded in BBL. Stoinis scored 147 runs while Cartwright scored 59 runs.
Glen Maxwell, once of the most athletic fielders in the world, holds the record for the most number of catches in the BBL with 59 catches in 87 matches.
Big Bash League – Rule Changes
The Big Bash League always looks to tweak the conventional rules. To spice up the competition, the bat flip replaced the toss a few seasons ago. In the 2020/21 edition of the Big Bash League, there are quite a lot more changes with rules modified to spike interest. While those rules are unlikely to change in the recent season, the BBL is said to have thought of introducing another rule change which in essence would be a modified timed-out rule.
We will see what that is but first let’s look at the rule changes made before BBL|10.
Overseas players: Instead of the usual two overseas players allowed in a playing XI, franchises can now choose up to three overseas players in the final team. With more international talent, it is expected that the competition becomes more watchable.
Power Surge – The mandatory powerplay at the beginning of an innings is now made into just four overs instead of the customary six followed in T20 competitions. The remaining two-over slab can be used whenever the batting team desires. However, it is to be noted that the batting side can use this two-over slab only after the 11th over of the innings. The fielding restrictions will follow that of the powerplay.
X-factor Player – It’s basically the super-sub rule that was tried in international cricket a few years back. The X-factor player can be anyone outside the XI named as one of the first 13 players before the start of a game. The 12th or 13th player in the team can be substituted for another player post the halfway point in the first innings. The player can only replace a player who is yet to bat, or hasn’t bowled more than one over.
Bash Boost – A bonus point is awarded to a team that wins the 10-over mark battle. Whoever scores more in the first 10 overs will now get an additional bonus point irrespective of the result of the game.
BBL|11 will have a modified timed-out rule which will reduce the match time and add some more fun.
In addition to the above rule changes, the radical version of the timed-out rule will be there in the BBL|11. Sometimes a BBL match takes much longer to finish and goes on for about 3 and half hours to 4 hours. In order to reduce the match time, the officials have supposedly decided to introduce the modified version of the timed-out rule. Let’s see what it is.
Modified Timed Out – The traditional timed out rule 40 states that the new batsman must take the guard or be ready to face the first ball within 3 minutes of the fall of the previous wicket. The proposed change will reduce that time to just 75 seconds instead of 3 minutes. But here’s the twist. Instead of immediately declaring the new batsman timed out, the bowler will get a chance to bowl at the wickets – the bowling equivalent free hit – with the new batter standing beside the stumps. If the bowler hits, the new batter is out, if not, the batter gets to play. Quite interesting, isn’t it?
Big Bash League
The Big Bash League has followed a very similar pattern in terms of formats over the years. While the inaugural season had 28 group games, since then it’s been 32 matches in the group phase. Since 2018/19, this moved up to 56 games in the league stage, with each team playing the other twice like in the Indian Premier League, followed by 5 matches in playoffs making this a 61 match league.
The regular semi-final and final structure stood for a good many years with the four top teams after the league stage qualifying to the semis. This structure was changed in 2019/20.
BBL added an extra team to be allowed to go to the next stage where the fourth and fifth teams met in an Eliminator. The first and second-placed teams play the Qualifier with the winner going through to the final. The knockout had the third-placed team playing the winner of the eliminator.
The Challenger round then has the winner of the knockout playing the loser of the Qualifier. The final will be between the winners of the Qualifier and the Challenger. This way, the standings in the league stage become very important.
The first and second-placed teams have a distinct advantage in that they can directly move to the finals by winning the Qualifier while the rest have to win two games in a row to reach the final.
The points system is pretty straightforward. The winning team gets 2 points. If there is a washout or the match is abandoned for some reason, the points are split (1 each) by the two teams. If a match ends in a tie, the Super Over decides the winner and the winning side gets the two points.
The Bash Boost also factors in with a bonus point. The winner at the 10-over mark gets an additional point. Thus, the maximum number of points a team can get from a fixture is now three instead of two.
The Bash Boost enables a team to earn an extra point in the match.
The Big Bash League has had its fair share of superstars over the years. The Australian side has benefitted from a lot of them, but the Big Bash itself has enjoyed their services to serve the fans.
Chris Lynn – The highest run-scorer in the league’s history with 2790 runs, Chris Lynn has been a Brisbane Heat faithful, having played for them since the beginning of his Big Bash League career. In 88 innings so far, Lynn has scored one hundred and 23 fifties and has hit 172 sixes which is way above the second six-hitter (Maxwell with 97 sixes).
Aaron Finch – The current Australia limited-overs skipper, Aaron Finch is second only to Chris Lynn in the most runs scored list. Finch has been with the Melbourne Renegades since the beginning and is their captain. He has two centuries and 18 fifties and has a healthy strike rate of 135.
Glenn Maxwell – A superstar all-rounder like no other, Maxwell is the third-highest run-scorer in the league’s history while also being an outstanding fielder and a handy bowler with his off-breaks. He had a terrible IPL in 2020, but he was back in form with RCB in IPL 2021. Often used as a powerplay bowler, Maxwell’s real value is his strike rate with the bat which is a whopping 149.08 and he has scored 2209 so far in BBL at such a high strike rate. Maxwell has plied his trade with the Melbourne franchises, the Renegades and now the Stars whom he skippers.
Shaun Marsh – A Perth Scorchers star in the initial few years, Shaun Marsh made runs in bucket loads for the franchise. He then shifted base to Melbourne Renegades in the last season and began with a half-century. Marsh has 2196 runs in 61 innings with an outstanding average of 41.43 with 20 fifties.
Marcus Stoinis – Another superstar all-rounder, Marcus Stoinis has the sixth most runs in BBL history with 2137 runs in 71 innings at an average of 36.84 including the highest individual score in the competition – a 147 not out – his only hundred in the Big Bash League. He has 36 wickets to his name in 38 bowling innings with a superb average of 20.
Ben Laughlin – With 111 wickets in 95 games, Ben Laughlin is the highest wicket-taker of BBL. Laughlin has played for Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes. He has 111 wickets at an average of 24.27 with two four-wicket hauls and an economy of close to 8.
Sean Abbott – Sean Abbott is just 5 wickets behind Laughlin at the top and is only the second bowler to have crossed 100 wickets. He has 106 wickets with a superb average of 21.05. He has 2 four-wicket and 1 five-wicket haul. From Sydney Thunder to the Sydney Sixers, Abbott has switched franchises but has always been a key player for his side in the competition.
Andrew Tye – A phenomenally gifted bowler – Andrew Tye – has taken 98 wickets in just 68 games with an amazing average of just under 20 with a strike rate of 15.72. He has the best average and strike rate among the top 5 wicket-takers in the BBL. Additionally, Tye has five 4-wicket hauls and one 5-wicket haul in the Big Bash League.
Dan Christian – A veteran all-rounder, Dan Christian has been a supremely brilliant player in the Big Bash League irrespective of the team he played for. Christian has represented four franchises in the BBL. He has scored 1745 runs in 104 matches and also has 82 wickets in the league’s history. Currently with the Sydney Sixers, Christian continues to remain one of the biggest players in the Big Bash League.
Rashid Khan – The Afghanistan leg-spinner is just three years old in the BBL but has already taken 72 wickets in 50 matches stunning strike rate of 16.19 and a ridiculous average of 17.46. In such a short stint, he is the 11th highest wicket-taker of BBL. The leg-spinner can perhaps be titled as the most influential overseas buy in BBL history. He plays for the Adelaide Strikers.
AB de Villiers – A special mention goes to Mr. 360-degree AB de Villiers in the BBL, a stint that not many expected or rated. A massive signing by the Brisbane Heat in the 2019/20 edition, the South African superstar played just six matches for the Heat and scored 146 runs at an average of 24.33. While his returns weren’t great, de Villiers was perhaps the biggest overseas signing ever made in the Big Bash League history. The franchise and fans must be super excited to see ABD play in the BBL|11.
AB de Villiers is all set to perform in BBL|11 after missing out in the last season
Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL)
WBBL is the female version of BBL. It has been running from 2007-08 and has been immensely successful. The tournament not only showcases the local talent involves overseas T20 superstars especially from India such as Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma to name a few. The WBBL is currently underway and would host the final on 27th November 2021.
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BBL Frequent Ask Questions
What are the names of 8 BBL Teams?
The 8 BBL teams are – Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes, Perth Scorchers, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
What is the prize money in the Big Bash League?
Recently, Cricket Australia increased the prize money in the Big Bash League to $890,000 for the four finalist teams. The champions get $450,000 while the runners up get $260,000. The semi-finalists get $80,000 each while the fifth-placed side gets $20,000.
What is crowd attendance like in the BBL?
The BBL has attracted large audiences with the Adelaide Oval once witnessing a crowd of over 52,000 which was a record in the BBL. In 2015/16, Perth Scorchers sold out their home games at Perth for the entire season becoming the first to do so. The crowd attracted has also varied based on the franchise. In the last edition – 2019/20 – the Big Bash League saw an average crowd of 18,000. The franchise that attracted the most crowd was the Perth Scorchers.
Which grounds stage the Big Bash League?
The Big Bash League has been played across 17 venues in Australia. The WACA in Perth has hosted four finals. But it’s no longer the home ground of the Perth Scorchers who play in the Optus Stadium. The MCG, with a seating capacity of over 1,00,000 remains the largest ground hosting the BBL.