BBL: 80,000 Reaffirms T20 Popularity in Australia.

Five years ago, with the BBL in its infancy, Cricket Australia could only have dreamed of seeing 80,000 fans file into the MCG to see two Melbourne sides go at it hammer and tong. With the state v state concept beginning to wane, the Bash was lacking its all-important prefix. Games were played out in front of empty grandstands while T20 leagues around the world started to gather considerable momentum. Australian domestic cricket was falling behind.

The consequential shakeup of the Australian domestic T20 competition over the following years was met with an unprecedented reception.

In the midst of its fifth edition since turning franchise, the BBL has become the summers’ biggest hit.

The Big Bash League’s impetuous growth is a testament to the brand created over the past 5 seasons. It has far surpassed the corruption riddled IPL as the world’s number one T20 competition off the back of gripping, entertaining contests.

A modern generation cricket fans’ transient attention is captured by balls sailing into the second tier – or in some cases, Dan Christian, out of the stadium. The 52,000 strong crowd at the Adelaide Oval on NYE were incited by a Travis Head knock that is independent of the T20 format. Individual performances to the tune of 53 in 15 balls are seldom seen in Test and One Day cricket these days.

The NYE game won’t be remembered for the premature fireworks display, but rather the last ditch escapades of Travis Head.

Beyond the commercial benefits of T20, the Big Bash is the ideal breeding ground to christen young cricketers. A franchise based competition pits them against the best Australia and the world have to offer. They have the opportunity to rub shoulders with established imports over a 5-week period gaining an insight into the demands of international cricket.

Amongst other things, it offers exposure to a highly profitable international market where young players can hone their skills in a number of different pro T20 leagues. Becoming accustom to overseas conditions goes a long way to changing the current home-dominated state of international cricket.

Most importantly, raising a cricketer in a hostile arena is ideal in developing the think skinned nature that is a prerequisite for any Australian player. Nothing equips you more than a portly gentleman leaning over the boundary fence and politely telling you how ‘poorly’ your bowling tonight.

Yes, the BBL has uncovered the formula to developing a well-backed, successful competition – one that is fan orientated rather than commercially driven. By mixing cricket with 80’s rock ballads and flamethrowers, the Big Bash brings a festival atmosphere to every night.

Who knows, the BBL may soon rise to become as highly anticipated as the major football codes every year.

Travis Head Spark’s NYE Fireworks Show In Breathtaking BBL Clash

NYE has produced a number of miracles in its time, but none have been more inconceivable than the defiance and utter disregard Travis Head showed the Sixers bowling attack. Sean Abbot’s New Years resolution now pertains more to one of the 10 commandments – thou shall not bowl in the death overs.

The sixers seemingly had the game won with 4 overs remaining. The 46,000 strong crowd condemned to a dull roar. At least that was until Travis Head’s masterful array of T20 stroke play confounded the record-breaking crowd in a display that put on more of a show than the premature fireworks.

When Travis Head strode to the wicket, the Strikers were in a position of relative dominance. Simmons fleeting stint at the crease got the Strikers off to a brisk start, before the cagey Jayawardene played a stroke that would have been more at home on a dusty Pallakele deck. Though, as key wickets continued to tumble through the middle overs, the game looked set for an early finish. As Abbott ran in to deliver the first ball of the 18th over, the Strikers still required 51, in 18 balls. A remote chance considering Head had hit the boundary just four times and was striking at only 118. The first four balls of Abbott’s over went for 20, and Head seemed to conjure striking impetus. Abbott‘s predictable line and length saw him travel over the mid-wicket fence three times in four balls, squandering 27 vital runs. The experience of Bollinger delivered a tidy 19th over with a six off the fourth ball the only significant damage.

A bold move by the Sixers skipper saw Abbott trusted in delivering the final over. A modest 13 needed off 6 deliveries. As the first ball was flicked with ease over square leg for six, Head needing 11 to deliver his first BBL century, the Strikers were destined to end 2015 in the top four. Two more short balls from Abbott were hooked over square leg for six. Head finally becoming the first Striker to make a BBL ton in its 5th edition. Pandemonium ensued.

What a way to usher in the New Year – 2016, we can’t wait!