Australia news July 1, 2014

Shortened BBL season announced

ESPNcricinfo staff

The Big Bash League season has been cut by eight days and will run from December 18 to January 28 this season, fitting mostly within the school holiday period. And the Sydney Showground Stadium will host its first BBL matches as part of this season's fixture, with the Sydney Thunder to play two games there in January, while the ANZ Stadium is being used for Asian Cup football matches.

The tournament will begin at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval with the Strikers hosting the Melbourne Stars on December 18, and a week of matches will lead up to Christmas. The tighter schedule this year means that there will be at least one game on every day from December 26 to January 15, and the tournament will not stretch into February as it did last season.

The semi-finals are set for the weekend of January 24-25, with the final to be played on Wednesday, January 28. The only double-header for the season comes on January 11, when the Hobart Hurricanes host the Perth Scorchers and the Brisbane Heat play at home against the Sydney Sixers.

The Boxing Day match will feature the Perth Scorchers hosting the Melbourne Renegades, and on New Year's Eve the Adelaide Strikers will host the Hobart Hurricanes. Mike McKenna, the executive general manager of operations with Cricket Australia, said he hoped the BBL would continue to bring in young fans.

"In just three seasons, the Big Bash League has established itself as clearly Australia's most popular summer sporting league," McKenna said. "We hope that the fourth season of the BBL will be a school holiday staple for families across the country this summer. One of the league's key objectives is to bring new fans to the game and the phenomenal numbers from last season showed just how much the public has embraced the great entertainment on offer.

"Last season an average of more than 930,000 people tuned into the BBL on Channel Ten, while crowd attendances averaged 19,000 - of which more than half were families and one in five were attending an elite cricket match for the first time."

Big Bash League 2014-15

Dec 18: Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Stars, Adelaide Oval
Dec 19: Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Renegades, SCG
Dec 20: Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes, MCG
Dec 21: Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat, ANZ Stadium
Dec 22: Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers, WACA
Dec 23: Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Sixers, Bellerive Oval
Dec 26: Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades, WACA
Dec 27: Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers, ANZ Stadium
Dec 28: Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars, Gabba
Dec 29: Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers, SCG
Dec 30: Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Thunder, Etihad Stadium
Dec 31: Adelaide Strikers v Hobart Hurricanes, Adelaide Oval
Jan 1: Perth Scorchers v Sydney Thunder, WACA
Jan 2: Hobart Hurricanes v Brisbane Heat, Bellerive Oval
Jan 3: Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars, Etihad Stadium
Jan 4: Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers, Gabba
Jan 5: Melbourne Stars v Sydney Sixers, MCG
Jan 6: Adelaide Strikers v Perth Scorchers, Adelaide Oval
Jan 7: Sydney Thunder v Hobart Hurricanes, Spotless Stadium
Jan 8: Perth Scorchers v Brisbane Heat, WACA
Jan 9: Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder, SCG
Jan 10: Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades, MCG
Jan 11: Brisbane Heat v Sydney Sixers, Gabba
Jan 11: Hobart Hurricanes v Perth Scorchers, Bellerive Oval
Jan 12: Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Thunder, Adelaide Oval
Jan 13: Melbourne Renegades v Brisbane Heat, Etihad Stadium
Jan 14: Sydney Sixers v Adelaide Strikers, SCG
Jan 15: Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Renegades, Bellerive Oval
Jan 17: Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Stars, Spotless Stadium
Jan 19: Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers, Etihad Stadium
Jan 21: Melbourne Stars v Perth Scorchers, MCG
Jan 22: Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes, Gabba
Jan 24: Semi-final, TBC
Jan 25: Semi-final, TBC
Jan 28: Final, TBC