What the hell is the BBL?

If you're someone who enjoys cricket but simply don't have a whole day for a match, then welcome to the world of the Big Bash League, commonly referred to as BBL...or for the social media jedi masters out there, #BBL05. (More on this later.) 

This week you may have heard the word BBL thrown around quite a lot and the reason why is that tonight  marks the first game for the men’s KFC T20 Big Bash League season between the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder…cue major excitement.

Welcome to Big Bash League cricket where there is excitement everywhere you look. Picture: Getty Images

Welcome to Big Bash League cricket where there is excitement everywhere you look. Picture: Getty Images

So what exactly is the BBL?
The KFC T20 BBL is non-stop entertainment from start to finish, with something to keep everyone in the family entertained. 

With 39 matches between now and the end of January, as well as fast paced cricket on-field you'll enjoy great music, fireworks, unique boundary performances and a variety of innings break entertainment. Each match is all packed into just a few short hours, much like an AFL or NRL match.

Who plays in the BBL?
There are eight teams ("clubs") who play in the BBL, with teams dotted across Australia's major cities:

Games are played at major sports stadiums, such as the MCG, SCG and Adelaide Oval. The players in the team are from Australia, as well as around the world. BBL is a chance for both up-and-coming cricketers to make their mark and some of the greatest players in world cricket to show their skills.

Who is able to attend a BBL match?
Quickest answer? Anyone! From a 5 year old attending their first match right through to your granddad reminiscing about the good ol' days, the BBL is a fun, safe environment for anyone to enjoy.

So why is it known as the faster form of cricket?
The aim of T20 cricket is to smash and crash as many runs as you can and as fast as you can within the 20 overs your team has…that’s if you’re batting. If you’re bowling/fielding, you're trying to stop the opposition from doing exactly that.

BBL clubs go all out to excite fans on and off the field. 

BBL clubs go all out to excite fans on and off the field. 

What does the BBL have to do with the term T20?
T20 is the actual format of cricket played in the BBL, with T20 being shorthand for "Twenty20". What on earth does that mean, you ask? Well, Twenty20 (or 2 x 20) is the length of the match itself: each team has the chance to bat for 20 overs (aka 20 lots of 6 balls) in total.

BBL cricket is a faster form of cricket that goes for about three hours in total. Picture: Getty Images 

BBL cricket is a faster form of cricket that goes for about three hours in total. Picture: Getty Images 

How is it played?

  • The primary objective of the BBL is to score as many runs as you can - or stop the other team from scoring runs.
  • Each team has 11 players, with a match lasting three hours from start to finish.
  • Each team gets the chance to bat and bowl... that seems fair to us!
  • Like many sports, a coin toss at the start of the match determines which team bats first and which team fields first. 
  • The batting team has 20 overs (120 balls in total) to get their runs, unless 10 people on their team go out (or, in cricket jargon, are 'dismissed') before then. This is the batting team's "innings".
  • Once the batting team has completed their innings, it's the fielding team's turn.
  • Each member of both team is allowed to bowl and bat, though most players specialise in one or the other.
A Melbourne Renegades player looks certain to go out thanks to a crafty bowl. Picture: Getty Images 

A Melbourne Renegades player looks certain to go out thanks to a crafty bowl. Picture: Getty Images 

How do you score runs?

  • Batters play in pairs with one located at each end of a long straight pitch, standing behind a white painted line (the crease) that essentially marks out their safety zone.
  • The aim of the batter is to hit the ball into a space away from the fielders and run from one end of the pitch to score as many ‘runs’ as possible. (Sounds like a good workout!)
  • If the batter hits the ball into the fence at the edge of the field (the "boundary"), they automatically score 4 runs without having to get the legs pumping. If they manage to hit it over the fence without the ball bouncing, that'll be a handy 6 runs. Just to confuse you, sometimes the boundary is actually a long rope inside the fence...yep.
What's going on here? Picture: Getty Images 

What's going on here? Picture: Getty Images 

How do you try and stop the team that is batting?
The aim of the bowler and the fielding team in general is to get 10 batters out ("take wickets"). For all the ways to get a batter out, head over to: www.bigbash.com.au/the-bbl/how-the-game-works

Even though there is 11 players in each team, you only need to get 10 of them out because batters have to play in pairs (you can't bat by yourself!). There's plenty of ways to do this, including by catching, bowling

So how does a team WIN a BBL game?
The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins. The end of the match will be when the team that was batting second runs out of overs (that 120 ball thing we mentioned) or 10 of their batters go out. See? Simple!

Why is it referred to as #BBL05 on social media?
The Big Bash League has only been around for a few years...specifically, from the 2010/2011 summer if we’re getting historical. The term "05" signifies that this is the fifth season of BBL, so next season it will be #BBL06 and so on.

What does the term WBBL mean?
WBBL actually stands for the 'Women’s Big Bash League' (#WBBL01 on social media). The 2015/16 summer is the first time the WBBL has been played, and is the first time an Australian sports league has had fully integrated men's and women's teams. That might sound a bit random, but with all the families coming along to the BBL, it means both young boys and girls can play for their favourite teams!

The BBL has attracted a new legion of cricket fans including comedians Hamish Blake (L) and Andy Lee from the Hamish & Andy Show. Picture: Getty Images

The BBL has attracted a new legion of cricket fans including comedians Hamish Blake (L) and Andy Lee from the Hamish & Andy Show.
Picture: Getty Images

We can't attend a match in person. Where can we watch the BBL?
All BBL05 matches are shown on Channel TEN.

Which BBL team should I support?
That’s completely up to you! For more information on each of the clubs as well as upcoming matches, head to the BBL website: www.bigbash.com.au