Perth Scorchers request home Big Bash League opener against arch-rivals Sydney Sixers at Optus Stadium

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Braden QuartermaineThe West Australian
Big Bash League heavyweights Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers could meet again in the first round of the season from Optus Stadium, if WA Cricket has their way.
Camera IconBig Bash League heavyweights Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers could meet again in the first round of the season from Optus Stadium, if WA Cricket has their way. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE

Perth Scorchers have requested a home grand final rematch against arch-rivals Sydney Sixers to open their championship defence in December, along with the return of Boxing Day cricket to Perth.

The Scorchers and Sixers share the Big Bash League’s most titanic rivalry, having met in the grand final five times and won seven titles between them.

Despite playing each other four times last summer, the powerhouse pair did not meet in Perth due to COVID border restrictions limiting the Scorchers to just one game at home.

While the international schedule was released this week, fixtures for next summer’s BBL are yet to be finalised. The Twenty20 competition is likely to start towards the end of the second Test between Australia and the West Indies at Adelaide Oval from December 8-12.

WA Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews said a Sixers rematch and the resumption of the Perth BBL Boxing Day tradition, after missing out for the past two summers due to border restrictions, were key requests as the Scorchers prepare for a full book of seven home games at Optus Stadium for the first time since 2019/20.

The Perth Scorchers beat the Sydney Sixers at Marvel Stadium in last year’s final.
Camera IconThe Perth Scorchers beat the Sydney Sixers at Marvel Stadium in last year’s final. Credit: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

“We want to give the Perth Scorchers fans in WA a chance to see a final replay,” Matthews said.

“Over 11 years now, we’re had some unbelievable games with the Sixers. We’re the two most successful sides on the field. And, for us, the Boxing Day game is always a blockbuster.”

The Scorchers could be boosted by the availability of national white-ball representatives Mitch Marsh, Josh Inglis, Ashton Agar, Jhye Richardson and Cam Green for most or all of the tournament, after South Africa requested a change of dates for the one-day international series against Australia currently slated for January 12, 14 and 17.

The identity of Perth’s overseas players for next season is yet to be determined, with Cricket Australia set to introduce an international player draft for the first time.

Clubs expect new rules may enable them to retain at least one previous player without returning them to the draft pool. The Scorchers’ championship-winning team last summer included batsmen Colin Munro and Laurie Evans, while English paceman Tymal Mills featured earlier in the tournament.

Perth’s extraordinary success in the BBL has been underpinned by some savvy overseas recruiting, prioritising players who will fit in well over big-name entertainers, and the Scorchers remain wary of the new draft system.

“Probably one of the unique differences with our team over the years has been creating a team, not just marquee players,” Matthews said.

WA Cricket boss Christina Matthews believes the Scorchers should host a blockbuster Big Bash League season opener.
Camera IconWA Cricket boss Christina Matthews believes the Scorchers should host a blockbuster Big Bash League season opener. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

“It might take away our competitive advantage. We’ll just see how the final framework for it comes out.

“We know the overseas players we’ve had in the past always want to come back and we’re hopeful of seeing what our opportunities are this year in retaining one or two of them.”

Matthews supported the retention of the 14-game regular season for next summer, despite growing calls for the BBL schedule to be cut back.

“I’m one of those, seems to be rare beasts, that I actually like the structure of the competition,” she said.

“From a cricket point of view, I think a home and away is really good and gives the cricket competition integrity.

“I think it’s managing people’s expectations rather than having to re-jig the whole competition. We had pretty good plans over the last two summers which we didn’t get to put in place.”

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