Big Bash League in 2024: New BBL Rules Explained

bbl-leagueAustralia’s Big Bash League is one of the biggest T20 competitions in the world of cricket and it’s also one of the most innovative. It produces some of its own twists on cricket’s laws and here is a guide to those new rules.

New BBL Rules in 2024

1. What is the Timed-Out Rule in BBL?

A brand new rule for the 2021/22 season sees the introduction of a time out. This is already a legitimate dismissal in cricket but, as we have come to expect from the Big Bash, organisers have given the law a twist.

In an effort to speed up the game, new batsmen must be at their crease within 60 seconds, ready to face the next delivery. Under the new legislation, if they do not comply, they must step aside and let the bowler have a free delivery. If the bowler hits the stumps, the batter is out.

The ruling and timing are currently under consideration. Reactions to the move have been mixed but nearly everyone agrees that games need to be speeded up.

2. What is the Power Surge Rule in BBL?

The law relating to the Power Surge effectively allows for a second batting Powerplay. It’s a two-over period where the fielding side can only have two fielders outside of the 30-yard fielding circle.

At least nine fielders must, therefore, be located inside that inner ring. The batting side can call for the Power Surge at any point from the 11th over onwards. They must make that call at the start of the over and the fielding team can change their intended bowler.

As a trade off, the initial Powerplay at the start of the innings has been shortened to four overs.

It’s an interesting law and one that has introduced an element of tactics to that PowerPlay. The batting team can now assess the situation of the game and decide when to take that Power Surge.

Statistics show that, while there are more runs scored in this passage of play, bowlers have been taking more wickets so there is some good balance here.

Like all changes to traditional laws, the Power Surge rule has been met with a mixed reaction. Cricket purists don’t like to see things tinkered with but I personally agree with those who like the Power Surge because of that new tactical element.

Melbourne Stars vs Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League
Melbourne Stars vs Hobart Hurricanes at the MCG during the fifth edition of Big Bash League – Photo by werdan (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

3. What is the X-Factor Player Rule in BBL?

The X-Factor is a rule that allows for substitutions to take place in a BBL match. Teams will name a 12th and 13th player beyond the original 11 that take to the pitch. After the tenth over of the first innings, they can introduce either, but not both, of those players.

The X-Factor substitution is dependent on the following:

  • The player replaced can not have already batted
  • The player replaced must not have bowled more than one over

Subject to those two stipulations, the X-Factor sub can come onto the field. They can then take a full part in the game, bowling a maximum of four overs and taking their place in the batting line up.

This rule hasn’t been so widely embraced and, when it was introduced ahead of the 2020/21 BBL, it took until the eighth game before an X-factor substitution was made. From that point, however, we did start to see it with more regularity.

It tends to be used more by a fielding side who reacts to how their bowlers are performing. If, for example, they have picked too many seamers on a surface that is taking spin, they can bring on a slow man as an X-Factor.

Additionally, if one of those bowlers delivers a poor first over, they may well see themselves replaced by the X-Factor sub.

Alternatively, a side may change the entire make-up of their team, replacing a sixth bowler with a batsman or vice versa.

This is a rule that has, perhaps, gained a little more criticism. Once a side has been picked, it’s generally felt that the team should stick with that 11 and, if they have made a poor selection, that’s all part of the game of cricket.

I’d have to say that I agree with that assessment although the X-Factor is another rule that helps the Big Bash to stand out.

4. What is the Bash Boost in BBL?

The Bash Boost is a bonus point given to the best performing team at the end of ten overs. At the conclusion of the tenth over of the second innings, the comparative scores are assessed and the team with the highest total at that corresponding stage gets that Bash Boost point.

Once again, it’s a rule that has been given a mixed reception but there are advantages. If a side batting second has lost early wickets, they can still gain a consolation by claiming the Bash Boost, even if they go on to lose the game.

It encourages fast scoring at all points and it means that ‘dead games’ can still have something riding on them so I’m a fan of the Bash Boost.

What is BBL Cricket?

BBL is short for Big Bash League, It is the Australian equivalent of the Indian Premier League where the best city franchises across the country compete against each other for the right to be crowned BBL champions.

How Does the Big Bash League Work?

At the start of the BBL, a round robin format gets things underway. Each team will play each other twice, home and away, and all sides will play 14 games in this initial phase.

At the conclusion of that sequence the regular season table is assessed. The top five teams will progress to the playoffs while the remaining three are eliminated.

The playoff process is a little complicated but it’s simple to understand once you’ve seen it in action. Firstly, the fourth placed team will play the fifth placed team in an Eliminator. The winner stays in the competition while the loser goes home.

Next up is the first qualifier between the first placed side and the runners up. The winner of that game goes straight through to the final while the loser remains in the competition. We then have a knockout game and a challenger game to find out who will be the second team taking their place in that BBL final.

Do keep in mind that this playoff procedure could be subject to change in the future but this is how the BBL works as of 2021.

Perth Scorchers vs Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League
Perth Scorchers taking on Hobart Hurricanes at the WACA during BBL01 (2011) Photo by Matthew Robey (CC-BY-2.0)

BBL Teams

There are currently eight teams competing in the BBL. In no particular order these are:

  • Adelaide Strikers
  • Melbourne Stars
  • Melbourne Renegades
  • Perth Scorchers
  • Sydney Thunder
  • Sydney Sixers
  • Hobart Hurricanes
  • Brisbane Heat

Each side has been competitive in the Big Bash and, as of 2021, the Stars and the Strikers are the only teams who have yet to win the tournament. In our recent article, we discussed the BBL teams in more detail.

How Long is a BBL Game?

This is T20 cricket which means that both teams will receive a maximum of 20 overs. Therefore, if the match goes the full distance, 40 overs will have been bowled.

20 Overs will take around 90 minutes to be delivered so, a BBL game will generally last for around three hours.