BBL 2014-15 July 30, 2014

Canberra to host BBL final

ESPNcricinfo staff

The emergence of Canberra's Manuka Oval as an increasingly significant cricket venue in Australia will continue this summer after Cricket Australia announced the ground would host the BBL final. In an unexpected move, Cricket Australia decided that the neutral venue would be appropriate for the decider on January 28, after giving hosting rights in previous years to the highest-placed finalist.

Although it will be a busy summer for cricket in Australia, the final will be played more than two weeks before the first World Cup match in Australia. Two matches, including the final, in the ODI tri-series will be played at the WACA on January 30 and February 1. The BBL final will follow semi-finals that will be played in other cities around the country.

"We have looked at a number of options for hosting the final of the Big Bash League, given the unique summer of international cricket that lies ahead and the significant demands that will place on venues around the country," Mike McKenna, CA's executive general manager of operations, said. "That consideration, combined with our efforts to further establish the BBL as a truly national competition, was part of our decision making.

"We think the concept of staging the final in the neutral territory of the nation's capital has merit. Manuka Oval has undergone significant work in recent times to upgrade facilities for fans. We think it can provide a great backdrop to the biggest match of the tournament while exposing a new market to the excitement of the league."

Manuka Oval has become a popular venue with Cricket Australia in recent years: in February 2013, it hosted Australia for a one-day international for the first time, and another between Australia and South Africa is scheduled there for November 19 this year. The ground will also host three World Cup matches in February and March.

The required handover of World Cup venues to the ICC on January 31 was also a factor in the choice of a neutral venue in advance, rather than having numerous potential grounds preparing for a match not guaranteed. "With some grounds around the country unavailable at the time of the final, combined with the busy international summer which includes ICC Cricket World Cup preparations, the neutral venue of Canberra was identified as the most suitable location to host the BBL final," a CA spokesperson said.

For the past three seasons, the BBL finals have been held at the WACA after the Perth Scorchers earned hosting rights. Christina Matthews, the chief executive officer of the WACA, said she was disappointed that there would be no possibility of the Scorchers hosting the final again this summer.

"Whilst we are disappointed to have not been given the rights to host the final, we are comfortable that, given CA's desire to hold the final in a neutral venue, they have chosen a truly neutral venue and not another team's ground," Matthews said.

"With 'The Furnace' having hosted the last three finals, it was maybe the only way for CA to have the match played on the other side of the country and it is a credit to WA cricket that they weren't willing to take the risk for the fourth year in a row."

Manuka Oval has undergone significant work in recent years, including the installation of light towers and funding to resurface the playing area and add new seating. It hosted the Sheffield Shield final earlier this year after New South Wales won hosting rights but were unable to play at the SCG due to a Major League Baseball game being played there.

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  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    @ smudgeon I agree on the motion of having a BBL team in Canberra, and Darwin for that matter. Absolutely no need to have 2 teams in Sydney and Melbourne. Utilising the two Territories in Australia in the competition would create greater interest and make the game truly national in all sense of the word.

  • Android on July 30, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    @Ian TV has nothing to do with it as the broadcaster has the ser TV time but there's two odis at the waca that week that's why it's at a set location I think Englsnd vs India is the next day at the Waca from memory.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Sounds like it cause the majority of the population is in the Eastern Time Zone. In Summer WA is 3 Hours behind NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. 2 Hours behind Queensland. So it'd be for TV as well.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    Well well - Good news and bad news for my pockets. I just bought today family tickets for Third Carlton Mid ODI Australia and South Africa at Manuka. It means I have to buy one more for this BBL final. It will shine up Canberra players, already rising number in the National Team. Thank to CA for such a good decision.

  • wayne on July 30, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    If I were still living in Melbourne (or Australia), I'd make a side trip to the BBL on the way to seeing nan in Wagga. T20 isn't my thing, but I am all for more grounds being used for top-flight cricket, and the best way to make Canberra a permanent fixture is to get bums on seats. Would personally love to see Canberra have a BBL side in the short-term and perhaps one day a first-class side might be based there longer-term. At the very least, the AFL don't have their hooks into Manuka Oval (yet) so there will be less of the inevitable conflict that happens over scheduling, particulary the MCG and Adelaide...

  • Ross on July 30, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    Well I don't suppose I will be seeing you at the final redneck but I can't wait!!T20 is well and truly here to stay unfortunately 4 u red. As I live close to Canberra, I'm loving the love CA is showing the national capital recently and let there be more of it..

  • hayden on July 30, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    'the furnace' seriously??? another reason to hate T20!!! the gound is called the waca a simple 4 letter acronym that has real australian sound to it! it perfectly discribes both the venue and its administration!!! why come up with gimmicy sounding crap??!!

  • rob on July 30, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    CA doesn't want the final in WA again by the sounds.

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