Big Bash League 2018: CA reveals fixtures
Australia's franchise Twenty20 tournament has gotten bigger than ever, with the itinerary for the upcoming season of the Big Bash League expanded to more number of matches, a home and away routine of fixtures between sides and inclusion of a new venue.
Cricket Australia announced the schedule for this year's BBL, and among the major points that have gotten fans down under buzzing, are the tournament's duration being stretched to almost two months now, from December 19, 2018, to February 17, 2019.
A double round robin format of the league stage matches will bump the number of fixtures up to 59. Metricon Stadium in the Gold Coast will get its first-ever opportunity to stage the Big Bash League, hosting games for Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars.
"The objective of moving the BBL to a full home and away fixture is consistent with Cricket Australia’s strategy of growing the Big Bash and becoming number one for fans across Australia," said Big Bash League head Kim McConnie.
"With more games, in more locations, we believe this is going to be one of the most exciting, action-packed BBL seasons to-date. The season will extend past school holidays, so as the competition moves into February, there will be more family-friendly timeslots on weekends to help drive participation." said McConnie.
It will also be the first Australian cricketing season where a BBL match will clash with a Test match, with the day four of Australia's day-night Test against Sri Lanka at the Gabba being played at the same time as the Stars taking on Heat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Alice Springs and Launceston will remain as the one-off hosts to Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes respectively as a part of CA's goal to ensure the diversification of cricket across geographical and demographic borders.
The BBL will also have its first time scheduling a tripleheader fixture, on January 13 with Sydney Thunder, Melbourne Renegades, and Perth Scorchers all hosting games.
Among other firsts, one will be the revolutionary move to have the Women's BBL final played as a standalone match, as opposed to the previous seasons' policy of conducting it as an evening doubleheader with a BBL match.