Eight separate festival weekends between October and December – including a special finals series played in one city – will be the showpiece events for the first season of the Women's Big Bash League's brave new world.
The schedule for the 2019-20 WBBL season will be formally unveiled on Wednesday, with the competition played in a discrete period at the start of the season, away from the men's Big Bash League, which will maintain its largely summer-holidays window.
The WBBL format will change next season and stand alone for the first time.Credit:AAP
The 59-match WBBL tournament will open at North Sydney Oval on the night of Friday, October 18. That will be the first of seven carnival-style weekends across the country throughout the regular season. Melbourne, which kicked off the 2018-19 season, will host its marquee weekend at Junction Oval on November 30 and December 1.
The top four teams will contest the finals from Friday, December 6 to Sunday, December 8. Both semi-finals and the tournament decider will be held in the city of the team that tops the ladder after the regular season.
In addition to the festival weekends, several games will also be held mid-week, with the Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars both hosting matches on Wednesdays.
Channel Seven and Fox Sports will again broadcast 23 matches, with the rest available to be streamed online via the Cricket Australia and Fox Sports websites.
Australian all-rounder and Sydney Sixers captain Ellyse Perry is looking forward to the standalone window.
"It's a really awesome challenge for the competition I think. And it's an exciting challenge. I think it shows what we've done in the last four years has been really successful. It's grown year on year," Perry said.
"This our first opportunity to really test it in terms of it being on its own, potentially not in the prime of summer.
"It's a really nice gesture to the strength of women's cricket in the country at the moment."
Cricket Australia's executive general manager of fan engagement Anthony Everard said it was a significant milestone, ahead of a bumper summer of women's cricket on Australian soil that will culminate in the Women's Twenty20 World Cup.
"This is monumental for the women's game," he said.
"The players showed that last year with more totals of over 150 than the first previous three seasons of the rebel WBBL, all culminating into an incredible standalone finals festival weekend.
"Moving the entire tournament to its own standalone period is the first step towards achieving that ultimate goal of being the best women's league in the world, giving the world's best female cricketers from across the globe the platform to show fans what they are capable of."
Perry heads to Brisbane later this week for a training camp ahead of the upcoming women's Ashes series.
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