By Taryn Elder
It's hard to believe the end is near, but it's already finals time for the KFC Big Bash League (BBL) and Rebel Women's Big Bash League (WBBL). With so many cricket matches happening around the country in so many different locations, we’re not going to blame you if you’re finding it a little hard to keep up. So, with this in mind, we’ve done some research to bring you our quick guide to understanding the Big Bash Finals – with a little bit of help from our friend Laura Jolly from cricket.com.au!
1. Who’s playing?
Yep, probably one of the most important questions to start with. With the semi finals being played Thursday and Friday, there are currently four men’s teams still in the running for the BBL title, and another four teams vying for the first ever WBBL trophy.
Men's Big Bash League (BBL) teams in the semi finals (in order of placing after the regular season).
- Adelaide Strikers
- Melbourne Stars
- Perth Scorchers
- Sydney Thunder
Women's Big Bash League Teams (WBBL) teams in the semi finals (in order of placing after the regular season).
- Hobart Hurricanes
- Sydney Thunder
- Sydney Sixers
- Perth Scorchers
2. When are the finals being played?
The Big Bash semi finals are being played this Thursday (21 January) and Friday (22 January), with the locations determined by the highest ranked BBL teams. So if you landed in the top two spots you get the homeground advantage. As this is the first ever season for the WBBL, the women's teams will be playing before each of the men's semi final games as a double-header fixture.
Thursday January 21 at Adelaide Oval
- WBBL – Sydney Thunder vs. Perth Scorchers, 2:10pm local (2.40pm AEDT)
- BBL – Adelaide Strikers vs. Sydney Thunder, 7:10pm local (7.40pm AEDT)
Friday January 22 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
- WBBL – Hobart Hurricanes vs. Sydney Sixers, 2:40pm local (AEDT)
- BBL – Melbourne Stars vs. Perth Scorchers, 7:40pm local (AEDT)
The Big Bash League 2016 Grand Finals (women’s and men’s) will be played this Sunday, January 24... yep, there really is no rest for the wicked! With The location of that match will depending on who wins the semi final games.
3. What do you mean you don’t know where the grand final is being played?
There are actually three cities still in the running to host the grand finals! It all comes down to the results of the semi finals, and the rankings of the BBL teams after the end of the regular season. With the WBBL in its first ever season, its grand final will be played as a double header fixture on the same ground as the BBL final.
Need more of an explanation? Here goes…
- If Adelaide Strikers (who finished on top of the ladder in the men’s league division) win, the grand final will be played in Adelaide.
- If Adelaide Strikers lose and Melbourne Stars (who finished second overall) win, the grand final will be in Melbourne.
- If Adelaide Strikers AND Melbourne Stars both lose, the grand final will be played in Perth, thanks to the Perth Scorchers finishing in third place!
4. Who should I look out for in the BBL teams?
- Adelaide Strikers (BBL)
The Strikers hope that star import Mahela Jayawardena will be fit to play during the semi final, after missing Adelaide's last two games due to injury.
- Melbourne Stars (BBL) (aka “Green Melbourne”)
The Stars have lost all four semi-finals they have played in, three of those to the Scorchers, so they will be hoping to change that! The Stars are also without key players Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Scott Boland and John Hastings, who are currently lending their services to the Australian men's team, so are unavailable for the finals – but with Kevin Pietersen on their team, anything is possible.
- Perth Scorchers (BBL)
The Scorchers have featured in every BBL final series to date, so they're certainly seasoned veterans. The Scorchers will be hopeful Jason Behrendorff will be able to play through his back injury, with Michael Klinger need to get runs early for the team. Unfortunately Scorchers players Shaun and Mitchell Marsh won’t be available to play due to their duties playing with the Australian team.
- Sydney Thunder (BBL) (aka “Lime Green Sydney”)
In-form Australian batsman Usman Khawaja returns for the Thunder after a stint carrying drinks in the Australian One Day International squad, which is great news for the team. In his last BBL season, Mike Hussey is determined to go out on a high note.
5. What about in the WBBL?
- Hobart Hurricanes (WBBL)
When it comes to taking wickets, keep an eye out for Veronica Pyke, who has one of the best averages in the WBBL. Team this with the remarkable catching skills from Erin Burns, and hopefully the team has a winning combo.
- Sydney Sixers (WBBL) (aka “Pink Sydney”)
After languishing at the bottom of the ladder half way through the season, the Sixers certainly have momentum on their side! Dual international superstar Ellyse Perry came out as one of the top run scorers for the WBBL this season, and will be looking to stay on top her game during the finals. New Zealander Sara McGlashan is also a heavy hitter and pretty good when it comes to hitting sixes into the crowd, so let's hope we see plenty of great crowd catches as a result.
- Sydney Thunder (WBBL) (aka “Lime Green Sydney”)
There's no shortage of great players for the Thunder, with Australian fast bowler Rene Farrell hoping to stay on top of her wickets average and claim enough to ensure a win. Australian Vice-Captain Alex Blackwell will also be an important part of the squad with her superior catching skills.
- Perth Scorchers (WBBL)
Charlotte Edwards – who actually captains England when not busy with WBBL – was the second highest scorer for all of the WBBL and will be looking to clock up plenty more during her finals campaign.
6. I can’t make it to a finals game in person, where can I watch it?
Can’t make it to one of the finals in person? You’re not alone! Each of the BBL and WBBL semi finals and the grand final will be LIVE on Network Ten (either OneHD or TEN).
7. Keep your eyes peeled on social media too, with the Big Bash known to swamp news feeds far and wide when matches are on. Here are some handy hashtags # to know.
#BBL05: Refers to the Big Bash League, which is currently in its fifth season.
#WBBL01: Refers to the Women’s Big Bash League, currently enjoying its first ever season.
#StrikeForce: Used by fans of the Adelaide Strikers. After finishing the BBL season with two more wins than any other team, be on the lookout for signs of cautious confidence as the finals kick off.
#ThunderNation: This tag is a clear sign you’re a Sydney Thunder fan. A highly passionate bunch who’ve not had much success over the years, Thunder Nation have all fingers and toes crossed either their BBL or WBBL side will be able to take the crown this summer.
#GoStars #TeamGreen: The hashtag of the Melbourne Stars, the green army from Melbourne have some of the most vocal supporters in the game
#MADETOUGH: this would be the hashtag used by the Perth Scorchers, who like to think they’re sometimes a little tougher than the rest!
#canetrain: This is the hashtag of the Hobart Hurricanes.. get it… get rid of the Hurri.. and you’re left with cane
#smashemsixers: Yep the Sydney Sixers like to smash plenty of sixes into the crowd, so much so they created this hashtag to prove it.
#sixersaregoingvertical: Another one popping up via the Sydney Sixers, thanks to their WBBL team winning their final 7 matches in a row to jump from the bottom of the ladder right into third place!