Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash League unveiled a new-look finals series and a shorter season Thursday following fan feedback. The ninth year of the domestic competition, starting on December 17, will again see the eight franchises playing 56 regular season games, but they will be condensed into 42 days with more double-headers.
Five teams will now be involved in the finals with a new system that gives a double-chance for the regular season's top two teams. The fourth and fifth-placed teams will play in the newly titled "The Eliminator" with the winner facing the third-placed team in "The Knock-Out".
Teams finishing first and second play "The Qualifier", with the loser taking on the winner of "The Knock Out" in "The Challenger". It will culminate with "The Final" between the Challenger and Qualifier winners.
"We've listened and now have a shortened fixture, more consistent timeslots, a continued regional footprint and a stronger finals format which will give fans the best opportunity to experience the BBL," said BBL head of leagues Alistair Dobson.
"The finals format has been set to make it the best possible end to the season, rewarding the top two teams with a double chance and giving the winner hosting rights of The Final," he added.
"At the same time, it's a more challenging and entertaining prospect for fourth and fifth to go on and win the competition." Aaron Finch's Melbourne Renegades won the 2018-19 title, beating city rivals the Stars in a tense final. Brisbane Heat kick off this year's event against Sydney Thunder.