Big Bash League dates announced

Cricket Australia announced a new finals format for the 13th season of the Big Bash League (BBL) on Thursday, with the 44-game schedule for the summer event.

The summer competition, which will feature 40 home-and-away matches and a new four-game finals series, will get off on December 7 at the Gabba with a match between previous season’s runners-up Brisbane Heat and hosts Melbourne Stars.

To limit the window, the matches were actually reduced under the redesigned structure and fixtures.

BBL 13 will conclude with a unique mid-week final. According to Fox Sports, each club will play 10 league matches until the top 4 teams qualify for the knockout phase.

Previously, the BBL playoffs had five teams, each of which played 5 matches in the knockout phase.

After the first seven matches, the competition will take a five-day break from December 14-18 for Australia’s first Test against Pakistan in Perth.

Boxing Day and New Year’s Day will both feature doubleheaders.

The four-game finals series will culminate on January 24, with the final being played mid-week for the second time.

“We’re extremely pleased with the BBL fixtures we have been able to provide this season,” BBL general manager Alistair Dobson said when the 44-match series was announced.

The Perth Scorchers will defend their championship after defeating the Heat to capture a historic fifth title last season.

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