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Records smashed in successful opening weekend of Rebel WBBL|03

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Thousands of fans packed into North Sydney Oval and hundreds of thousands more tuned in to watch records tumble as the third season of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) opened in scintillating fashion across a blockbuster weekend.

A crowd of more than 8,726 fans headed to the picturesque North Sydney Oval for four of the six matches of the weekend, with the remaining two matches being hosted at Glenelg’s Gliderol Stadium. Crowds were treated to incredible cricketing feats, a wonderful family friendly atmosphere, and plenty of off-field entertainment. 

The Rebel WBBL opening weekend also proved to be popular with television audiences who tuned in to the four matches broadcast live on Network’s Ten’s primary channel.

The prime-time match between the Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars attracted an average national audience of 422,500 viewers, peaking at 629,000. This was a 59% increase on the WBBL|02 season average, making it the biggest average audience for a regular WBBL match. The first match televised on Saturday, between the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Renegades, saw an average national audience of 278,500, peaking at 426,000.

Overall, the first day average audience of 350,500 represented a 46.6% increase on the season average for Rebel WBBL|02.

On the field, fans witnessed a host of significant records broken at both venues with a massive 2,023 runs scored across the 6 matches over the weekend.

Sydney Thunder’s 6-200 in the opening match of the season stood as the highest recorded score in Rebel WBBL history for just a few hours before Sydney Sixers superstars Ashleigh Gardner and Ellyse Perry powered their side to a massive 4-242. This was the highest ever total compiled in either the women’s or men’s Big Bash competitions.

Gardner’s 114 off 52 balls, which featured a world record 10 sixes, is the highest score by an individual in a women’s domestic T20 competition, the fastest WBBL century (47 balls), and was just the third century hit in WBBL history.

Gardner also reached 50 runs in record time (22 balls), before the Melbourne Stars’ South African recruit, Lizelle Lee, equaled the record in the next innings. The Sydney Sixers-Melbourne Stars match aggregate of 398 also exceeded the previous best total in a WBBL match.

The Adelaide Strikers also set a WBBL franchise high score of 3-183 against the Hobart Hurricanes in their match on Saturday, before the Strikers’ Suzie Bates added to the big hitting of the weekend on Sunday, notching up 102 runs in her team’s 83-win over the Hurricanes.

The crowd numbers, record television ratings, incredible on-field performances, and great public interest in the weekend continues the positive trend in women’s cricket following the successful 2017 Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes series.

Families at North Sydney Oval also enjoyed visits from stars of the KFC Big Bash League as part of the Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers family days on Saturday and Sunday, including the likes of Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson, John Hastings, Peter Nevill and more.

The Rebel Women’s Big Bash League opening weekend was supported by huge promotion from Cricket Australia, the Big Bash franchises, Network Ten, Rebel and Nickelodeon, further underpinning Cricket Australia’s commitment to women’s cricket and goal to cement the WBBL as a global leader in women’s sport.

Commenting of the great success of the opening weekend of Rebel WBBL|03 Cricket Australia Head of Big Bash, Kim McConnie, said: “It has been amazing to see the response from the public to the opening weekend of WBBL|03 and it has set the tone for what should be another incredible season.

“The atmosphere at North Sydney Oval was electric, with so many kids coming along with their families to enjoy the record-breaking on-field performances and family-friendly entertainment in and around the ground.

“It was also wonderful to see that hundreds of thousands more fans across the country enjoyed the Big Bash action from the comfort of their homes thanks to Network Ten’s fantastic broadcast. Ten has been a great supporter of the WBBL for the first two seasons of the competition and we are excited to be working with them again for WBBL|03.

“The success of the weekend is thanks to the efforts of many involved in Australian cricket and is testament to our ambition of making the WBBL as the best women’s sporting competition in the world.”

Network Ten’s Dave Barham said: “It has been exciting to work with Cricket Australia on another successful opening weekend of the WBBL and to have seen such strong ratings in our Saturday matches gives me great confidence for the remainder of the summer of Big Bash.”