Melbourne [Australia], Jun 12 (ANI): The fifth edition of the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) will be a standalone tournament for the first time in its history.
WBBL, which will be followed by the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 Australia, will commence under lights at North Sydney Oval on October 18 and end with the Grand Final on December 8.
India batters Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur have competed in the tournament. Last year Mandhana donned Hobart Hurricanes' kit while Harmanpreet sported Sydney Thunders' jersey.
Each team will play 14 matches with the finals festival weekend hosted by the top-ranked team, featuring the top four playing off in semi-finals before the finals. 23 of the 59 matches will be broadcast, with the remaining available on cricket.com.au.
"This is monumental for the women's game. The players showed that last year with more totals of over 150 than the first previous three seasons of the rebel WBBL combined, all culminating into an incredible standalone finals festival weekend," Cricket Australia Executive General Manager fan engagement, Anthony Everard said in a statement.
"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," he added.
The tournament will build on the momentum from the fourth edition which showcased some incredible cricket, including two semi-finals that were on a knife's edge by the last ball of the match.
The final attracted a record-breaking television audience of 479,000, in addition to a sold-out crowd at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney where Beth Mooney inspired the Brisbane Heat to their inaugural WBBL crown.
"It's something we've been building towards and last year's final series has proved that the WBBL is ready to stand on its own two feet. Festival weekends will also give families the best chance to come and experience the game all around the country," Everard said.
There will be seven festival weekends, with the remaining matches played across the country. Sydney festival weekend will run from October 18 to 20 at North Sydney Oval, AB Field will host Brisbane festival weekend from October 26 to 27, and WACA will see Perth festival weekend from November 1 to 3.
Adelaide festival weekend will be hosted at Karen Rolton Oval from November 9 to 10, Drummoyne Oval will host Sydney Festival Weekend from November 15 to 17, Hobart festival weekend Blundstone Arena from November 22 to 24 and Junction Oval will see Melbourne festival weekend from November 30 to December 1. (ANI)