Cricket is a significant and longstanding part of a strong sporting tradition in Australia, both in terms of the longer (Test Cricket) and shorter (One-Day International / T20) forms of the game.
Always looking to bring new interest into the game, Cricket Australia presented fans with a new and exciting Twenty20 format in 2011 – the KFC T20 Big Bash League.
Mimicking to a degree the highly successful Indian Premier League (IPL) the Big Bash League differs in that it moves away from state-based teams to a city-based, privately-owned, franchise style of cricket. Under this model, each BBL selection committee can sign up 18 players to a team, with no state boundaries in place, meaning players from all over the country can play for any team in the league.
Up to two big name International players can also be signed, offering locals the chance to potentially cheer on a smorgasbord of cricketing talent from the world over, giving the competition a very different feel to standard limited overs cricket.
Each capital city has one team to represent it, with Melbourne and Sydney, the largest two capital cities in Australia, fielding two apiece. The current teams contesting the KFC Big Bash League are: Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
These teams can claim as their home-grounds some of the most prestigious sporting arenas across the country: The Adelaide Oval, (Adelaide Strikers); The GABBA, (Brisbane Heat); The Blundstone Arena, (Hobart Hurricanes); The Etihad Stadium, (Melbourne Renegades); The MCG, (Melbourne Stars); The WACA, (Perth Scorchers); The SCG, (Sydney Sixers); and The ANZ Stadium, (Sydney Thunder).
The season format is simple – each team gets to play every other team once and their “local’ rivals twice, meaning there are eight rounds of action. For every win, a team gets two points, with one for a draw. At the end of the season proper, the Top Four teams go on to play off in a very simple Finals Series, with first playing fourth and second playing third. The winner of each of these matches goes on to play the Final, with the ultimate winner taking out the Trophy.
The Sydney Sixers took out the inaugural Big Bash trophy, with Brisbane Heat winning in the second year. Melbourne Stars were dominant in #BBL03 winning all eight group games. XXXXXXXXXXXX
The Big Bash League has so far proven to be a great success, with attendances and TV audiences skyrocketing from year to year. This might be due to the faster, more ‘showman-like, take-no-prisoners nature of the game, where in a short period of time cricketers must achieve bursts of bowling and batting greatness to get their teams over the line. Sixes and fours come aplenty, as do brilliant catches and run-outs as players on both teams take huge risks to give the game their all to win.
And cricket punters have absolutely embraced this format, with Big Bash League betting a highly-anticipated chance for cricket bettors to splash some cash. BBL03 saw unprecedented levels of cricket betting on the Betfair Exchange with upwards of $30m being matched in the match odds markets on more than 10 games and customers punted an average $28.1 million a match.
On the first 23 games of the BBL 2013-14 season, the league’s third since starting in 2011-12, Betfair customers lodged $590.6 million in bets and this figure is set to increase in BBL04.
In particular, the Top Batsman markets are great to get on as batsmen on all teams do their best to smash the white cherry out of the park!
The Big Bash League is an exciting, action-packed, entertaining sporting spectacle and huge crowd-pleaser that looks set to keep offering a stimulating, eye-catching form of cricket for the Australian public for many years to come.