UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
While it may feel as though the Big Bash just started yesterday, already the season is hurtling towards the playoffs.
With the majority of the teams have played 11 games by now, just a handful of matches remain in the regular season and a little over a week’s play until the Big Bash finals begin. We look at everything you need to know about heading into the post-season phase, breaking down the Big Bash knockout format as well as all the special Big Bash rules to keep in mind.
Big Bash Rules for Playoff Qualification
The Big Bash format is unique in that five of the eight teams competing make the knockout phase of the tournament. Right now, this race is looking tight, with six teams all in the running for five places, and no team completely eliminated from the Big Bash yet.
The Big Bash playoffs feature five different games played over the course of two weekends—an Eliminator Final, a Qualifier Final, a Knockout Final, a Challenger Final, and the Grand Final. Here’s what each of these games involves.
The Eliminator Final
This is the first of the Big Bash finals to be played. It will be contested between the teams ranked fourth and fifth on the Big Bash points system, and takes place on Friday the 27th of January at 8:15 AM (GMT).
The winner of the Eliminator Final moves through to compete in the Knockout Final, while the loser is eliminated from the playoffs, as the name implies.
The Qualifier Final
Occurring the next day, on Saturday the 28th of January at 8:15 AM (GMT), is the Qualifier Final. This match takes place between the two top-ranked teams in the Big Bash standings—which right now is looking like it will be the Perth Scorchers vs the Sydney Sixers.
The way that the Big Bash format works means that the winner of this match gets a break and heads straight through to the Grand Final, while the loser will head to the Challenger Final for another chance and make it to the Grand Final.
The Knockout Final
The final match of the first weekend of the Big Bash finals occurs on Sunday the 28th of January at 8:15 AM (GMT). As per the Big Bash rules, this game sees the winner of Friday night’s Eliminator Final square off against the third-placed team on the table.
As the name implies, the loser of this match is knocked out of the playoffs, while the winner heads one step closer to glory, with a date set for the following weekend in the Challenger Final.
The Challenger Final
After a week’s break, the Big Bash reconvenes for the final two matches of the season, the first of which is the Challenger Final on Thursday the 2nd of February at 8:15 AM (GMT). This fixture will be played between the loser of the Qualifying Final and the winner of the Knockout Final.
The beauty of the Big Bash format is that this match will be a straight winner takes all—the loser is out, while the winner returns on Sunday for a shot at the Big Bash trophy in the Grand Final.
The Grand Final
Remember that team that won the Qualifying Final way back on the 28th of January? They’re back now, to compete against the winner of the Challenger Final. This match is a shootout for the Big Bash title and takes place on Saturday the 4th of February at 8:15 AM (GMT).
The way that the Big Bash rules are designed means that realistically, one team could play in four of the five finals matches—if the fourth or fifth ranked teams in the Big Bash points system hit some hot form, they’d play the Eliminator Final, Knockout Final, Challenger Final and Grand Final. On the other team, if one of the top ranked sides wins, they’d simply play in the Qualifier Final and Grand Final.
Whether or not momentum will come into play here, or one team will get worn out from the packed schedule, only time will tell.
Other Big Bash Rules to Be Aware of Heading Into the Playoffs
While it’s helpful to be aware of the Big Bash format ahead of the playoffs, there’s also a good chance that some of the Big Bash rules unique to this competition will come into play as well. Here’s a quick look at some of these special Big Bash rules:
The Big Bash Power Surge Rule
New to the Big Bash in 2023 is the Power Surge rule. This is a two-over window that the batsmen can instigate, which dictates that only two fielders can be outside of the 30-yard fielding circle.
In essence, this is an opportunity for batsmen to take more risks hitting the ball in the air because there are fewer fielders out in the deep, and as a result, fewer chances that an attempted six will be caught. When the batsmen call for the Power Surge, it must be after the 11th over, and at the start of an over. The fielding team is allowed to change their intended bowler once they hear the Power Surge is being taken.
The introduction of the Power Surge has reduced the initial batting power play to four overs and introduced a new tactical nuance to the game.
The Big Bash X Factor Rule
This is a rule that was introduced in the 2020/21 season, that is still to gain much traction. However, heading into the Big Bash playoffs, it’s the kind of Big Bash rule that could flip a game on its head if correctly implemented.
The Big Bash X Factor rule allows teams to name a 12th and 13th man in their squads, and use one of them as a replacement for one player from the starting 11 at any stage beyond the 10th over. The player being replaced cannot have batted already, and may not have bowled more than one over.
In essence, it is a way for teams to be able to respond to a change in the surface, or a bowler being in the poor form initially.