The tournament format is pretty much the same as IPL’s, with all eight teams playing each other twice in a round-robin format. The eight teams represent six cities, with Sydney and Melbourne being the only ones with two teams.
The one major deviation from the IPL and other similar leagues is the number of teams qualifying for the play-offs.
Where the IPLs and the PSLs only let the top four teams qualify for the play-offs, the more generous BBL keeps the door open for five and shows the door to just three. It means that to have that fifth team eliminated in the play-offs, it also has to stage an extra eliminator, which gives the BBL a total of 61 matches as compared to IPL’s 60.
The first champion and dominant dynasties
The inaugural edition of the revamped tournament was won by Sydney Sixers, who have since clinched the BBL trophy two more times for a total of three. Their last two wins were back-to-back and came in the most latest two tournaments, making them the two-time defending and reigning champions.
In between, Perth Scorchers were the other dominant franchise, winning three of the four BBLs between 2013 and 2017, including two consecutive. They were also the losing finalists opposite the Sixers in the 2020-21 edition.
Apart from this pair, Brisbane Heat, Sydney Thunder, Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades have won a championship each.
From a betting point of view, what we’ve learnt so far is that the Sixers and Scorchers are serial winners and not to be messed with. Between themselves, there is almost nothing to choose as evident by their head-to-head record before last year’s final, which at 10-9, had favored the Scorchers, who were correctly installed as favorites (1.74) by the bookmakers opposed to the Sixers (2.07). But the odds makers were proven wrong as the Scorchers lost, and it wasn’t even close.
What’s so unique about BBL?
Alongside perhaps the PSL, the Big Bash is the only other league where batsmen do not rule the roost. Fast bowlers in BBL still manage to hold their own despite the format being naturally stacked against them. The boundaries are not cut short deliberately to make it easier for the batsmen to hit boundaries.
Add to it Australia’s knack of producing quality pacers and BBL becomes a fairly even contest between bat and ball.
Spinners do not exactly grow on trees in Australia, which is why some franchises have to get them exported. Thus, it’s not unusual for teams to draft gems from the large crop of Afghanistan’s spin bowlers or elsewhere in South Asia.
What you won’t find in the BBL is a spate of big-name foreign stars. Of course, this is so because Australia itself is the grower of premium cricket talent so they do not have to look elsewhere for stars.