Sydney’s weather looks set to ruin the BBL final at the SCG between the Sydney Sixers and the Melbourne Stars. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting that 60-130mm of rain could fall in Sydney on Friday, 45-90mm could fall on Saturday, and 40-80mm could fall on Sunday. What will that mean for the tournament? Here are the answers to the key questions.
What is the minimum number of overs needed for the match to go ahead?
Five overs per side are needed to constitute a match.
Who wins the BBL title if the final is washed out?
If the BBL final is washed out then the Sydney Sixers will be crowned BBL champions.
Under the BBL rules and regulations for 2019-20, rule 184.108.40.206 states: “If there is a tie (with no ‘Super Over’ possible), No Result or an Abandoned match in the “Grand Final” then the home team shall be declared the winner of the “Grand Final” and BBL Champions.”
The Sixers are the home team for the final after winning the Qualifier against the Stars in the new finals format. Despite the Stars finishing higher on the table and winning more games in the home and away season, the Qualifier was designed to give the top two teams a double chance. The winner of the Qualifier would host the final and become the new no.1 seed and the loser would get a second chance in the Challenger which the Stars won on Thursday night against the Sydney Thunder at the MCG.
Is there a reserve day for the final?
There is no reserve day. The BBL final has never been washed out in eight previous seasons. Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said on Thursday that the reserve day is something that will be reviewed at the end of the season.
“They will be some of the things we can look in terms of our reflections and what that means for the tournament,” he said. “We’ll consider that and all of the other dynamics of the season when it’s over.”
In any event, if there was a reserve day on Sunday in Sydney it looks likely that it would also be washed out due to rain.
“I think going forward into future tournaments that would make a lot of sense to have a reserve day because at the end of a long tournament you don’t want the final match being not played,” Sixers captain Moises Henriques said.
Will the final be moved to another city?
The final won’t be moved although Cricket Australia were asked whether this was possible earlier in the week when the forecast became clear. They have already moved the Bushfire fundraiser T10 match that was due to be played at the SCG on Saturday in the lead-up to the BBL final.
But it is understood that the logistics and cost of moving the BBL final made it extremely difficult at short notice. Tickets for the final at the SCG had already sold out and would have needed to be refunded. It was also deemed unfair to the Sixers to have the final moved to Melbourne when they had earned the right to host and have the advantages associated with that.
“I don’t think it’s helpful to any sporting competition to change the rules midway through the season,” Roberts said. “We really wanted to respect the position of the BBL final. The BBL is one of the premier sporting competitions in the world and you don’t play with the rules of a premier sporting competition.”
Henriques said: “If that was something discussed at the start of the tournament then possibly, but definitely not 24 hours out from a game, when we’ve completely sold out our home ground, then if you wake up tomorrow and there’s no rain. So we kind of feel like through the season we had, finishing second and only one point behind the Stars in the regular season, then knocking them off in Melbourne in the qualifying final that we’ve earned the right to host the final.”
A BBL final has been played at a neutral venue once before with the BBL 04 final between the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers held in Canberra at Manuka Oval. But all the teams in the competition were aware that it would be a neutral final in Canberra prior to the tournament starting and every team played with that knowledge.