BBL History & All-Time Records

Since it was founded back in 2011, the Big Bash League has continually grown in popularity to the point where it is now widely regarded as the biggest domestic T20 league in the world with the exception of the IPL. Taking place over the course of the summer, the BBL includes eight teams from around Australia and many of the most talented short form cricketers in the world. Each year it captures the attention of cricket lovers both in Australia and around the world, and in this article we’ll talk through the history of the league, some of the most notable records, and how you can bet on it.

BBL History

The Big Bash League was established in 2011, when T20 cricket was beginning to take hold around the globe. The Indian Premier League, which has since developed into the pre-eminent domestic short form competition in the world, had begun three years earlier in 2008, and various other countries were initiating their own imitations. From the outset, it was clear that Australia’s incarnation had the potential to develop into one of the most successful.

Alongside the raft of Australian talent which made up the bulk of each team, a number of high quality international players also made their mark at the inaugural tournament in 2011. Chris Gayle was almost certainly the most notable of these, donning the Sydney Thunder green and smashing two 50s and an incredible 100 (off just 54 balls) during the tournament. Other international stars to get involved included Brendon McCullum, Shahid Afridi, Kieron Pollard, Luke Wright, Herschelle Gibbs and Paul Collingwood, a list of names which rivalled most of the existing leagues from around the world.

The Sydney Sixers won that tournament in an exciting final which went down to the final ball, and after consecutive wins in 2019/20 and 2020/21 they became the second team to win the BBL on three occasions. The first to reach that milestone was the Perth Scorchers, who won three times in four seasons between 2013/14 and 2016/17 during a decade in which they were a consistent force at the top of the table. The Brisbane Heat, Sydney Thunder, Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades have also managed to win one apiece, leaving the Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes as the only two teams not to win the tournament in its first ten years.

This strong sense of parity within the league is a major indicator of success, with all eight teams capable of competing for the title within any given year. Those eight teams who compete today are also the same as those who competed in the first edition of the league, which is a tangible sign of the stability the BBL has enjoyed over its first decade.

The format of the tournament has remained similar, albeit with a significant growth in the number of games played in the regular part of the season. In 2011, just 28 Group Stage games were played; fast forward ten years and there were twice that amount. There have also been slight alterations to the finals structure, with a fifth team added to the mix; the fifth-placed team now plays fourth, with the winner of that playing third, the winner of that playing the loser of a ‘Qualifier’ between the top two teams, and the winner of that playing the winner of the ‘Qualifier’.

Big Bash Records

Most Runs in BBL History

Chris Lynn (3,005 runs): The Brisbane Heat have had their struggles over the first decade of the Big Bash, but it’s certainly not because of Chris Lynn. The powerful top order batter has accumulated over 3,000 runs at an average of 34.54 and with a strike rate 148.83 in 100 innings as of the end of his 2021/22 campaign, putting him nearly 200 runs ahead of his nearest competitor in Aaron Finch and closer to 300 ahead of third-placed Glenn Maxwell.

Highest Score in BBL History

Glenn Maxwell (154* (64 balls)): Glenn Maxwell’s thrilling knock against the Hobart Hurricanes in the Stars’ final game of the 2021/22 season was one of the most memorable moments of BBL11. Opening the first innings of the game alongside Englishman Joe Clarke, Maxwell made the Hurricanes’ bowling line-up look like amateurs, smashing 22 4s and 4 6s en route to an incredible unbeaten 154 off just 64 balls, helping his Stars to a BBL record total of 2/273.

Fastest 50 in BBL History

Chris Gayle (12 balls): Chris Gayle might not have been the most consistent player in BBL history, but his explosive hitting ability and aggressive batting style meant that when he got going he was one of the most captivating players in the game. Never was that more exemplified than during his incredible 56 off 17 balls playing for the Renegades against the Strikers in 2016, with his 50 coming up in just 12 balls. The Renegades needed to chase down the Strikers total of 170 in quick time to qualify for the finals, so Gayle had reason to be aggressive, and six consecutive 6s in the first over suggested he intended to do exactly that. Ultimately the Renegades fell short of their target, but Gayle helped to give them a serious chance.

Most Sixes in BBL History

Chris Lynn (180): Given he has the most runs in BBL history and accumulates an inordinate proportion of his runs in 6s, it’s probably no great surprise that Lynn leads this statistic. Nonetheless, the gap between him and second place is pretty incredible. Lynn’s 180 6s has him head and shoulders above the chasing pack, with Glenn Maxwell’s 109 the most that anyone else has managed.

Most Wickets in BBL History

Sean Abbott (125): There have been plenty of quality bowlers grace the BBL since it began in 2011, but Abbott’s consistent presence as one of the best of them for 11 seasons sees him lead all comers for wickets in the league. He’s picked up 125 scalps in 93 matches at an average of 20.65, and though his economy rate of 8.45 leaves a little to be desired, his ability to pick up wickets has made him a valuable asset for both the Sixers and the Thunder over the years.

Lowest Score in BBL History

Renegades (57): The Renegades have had their fair share of disappointing moments, but this was among the worst of them. On the third day of 2015, their cross-town rivals in the Stars set a total of 170 for victory, and the ‘Gades didn’t get close. Tom Cooper was their top scorer with just 10 as they were bundled out for 57 runs – and having been 9/42 it could have been worse.

Highest Score in BBL History

Melbourne Stars (2/273): It was during the aforementioned 154* by Glenn Maxwell that the Stars put together the highest score in BBL history. His swashbuckling innings laid the foundation for the score, but a quickfire 35 off 18 balls by fellow opener Joe Clarke and a powerful 75* off just 31 balls by Marcus Stoinis helped the team put together a score which will be extremely tough for anyone to top.

Highest Run Scoring Overseas Player

Alex Hales (1857 runs): Overseas players’ run totals tend to be substantially lower than their Australian counterparts as the majority have only played a handful of the tournaments, and English opener Alex Hales’ 1857 runs has him leading the charge relatively comfortably. His runs have come in 60 innings at an average of 33.16 and a very impressive strike rate of 151.34, making him one of the most accomplished international players in the league’s history.

Highest Wicket Taking Overseas Player

Rashid Khan (92 wickets): Rashid Khan has not only been arguably the best overseas bowler in BBL history; he’s arguably been the best bowler full stop. The Afghan leg spinner has developed into one of the best short form bowlers ever, and the BBL has been one of the major sources of his success. In just 61 BBL games Khan amassed 92 wickets (placing him seventh all-time) at an average of just 16.69 and with an incredible strike rate of 6.44.

Big Bash Betting

The popularity of the BBL means that it has become a popular league for Aussies to bet on. At TopSport, you can get in on the action. There are a wide range of markets available on each and every match, including the standard options like head-to-head, as well as plenty of other options such as top run scorer and more. If you’re looking to bet on the Big Bash League, then TopSport has you covered.

A little over a decade after it first began, the Big Bash League has grown into one of the highest quality and most popular T20 leagues in the world. Australia’s depth of T20 talent has been a major reason for its success, but the presence of some of the best international players in the world has played perhaps the biggest role in its overall growth, helping to bring the league to an international audience. As almost certainly the second biggest domestic T20 league in the world, the BBL is getting increasingly popular year on year, and its success doesn’t look likely to stop any time soon.