In a desperate last-minute ploy to save the BBL final, Cricket Australia have decided to move the highly-anticipated curtain-raiser to Melbourne.
In a desperate last-minute ploy to save the BBL final, Cricket Australia have decided to move the highly-anticipated curtain-raiser to Melbourne.

Cricket Australia’s shock last-minute call

THE highly-anticipated "Bushfire Cricket Bash" exhibition match will no longer take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground due to the forecasted rain in Sydney.

Up to 50mm of rain is predicted to fall on Sydney this Saturday, and Cricket Australia have decided taken action by relocating the event, most likely to Junction Oval in Melbourne following the Australian Women's T20 match against India.

Saturday's charity match - which will feature former cricket legends Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting - was meant to serve as a curtain-raiser for the Big Bash final.

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The fundraiser is also under threat by the loss of star power, some players considering pulling out at the last minute.

The charity event sold out in less than 48 hours, with plenty of Sydney spectators eager to witness the historic double-header. Those who purchased tickets will be contacted by Ticketek regarding refunds.

Although thousands of cricket fans in the New South Wales capital will be disappointed by the last-minute decision, the priority for CA is to ensure the charity match goes ahead in support of the Australian bushfire appeal.

Furthermore, by moving the Bushfire Cricket Bash from the SCG, curators will have extra time to prepare the pitch ahead of the BBL final.

Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting will be the two captains for the Bushfire Charity Bash
Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting will be the two captains for the Bushfire Charity Bash

The 10-over contest will be part of a massive day of giving to relief efforts and recognising the ongoing work of volunteers and firefighters.

Former Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden spoke about the importance of the exhibition match on Wednesday.

"We all had such a great time playing for Australia … Australia meant, and does mean, a lot to us," Hayden said.

"Everyone was rushing back, whether that was in Melbourne or in Sydney, it didn't really matter. Both those states were heavily affected by the bushfires."

If Saturday's final is cancelled due to weather, the Sydney Sixers will be crowned BBL champions. Each side must face five overs to constitute a result.

The Sixers will be crowned BBL champions if Saturday’s match is called off
The Sixers will be crowned BBL champions if Saturday’s match is called off

Paceman Josh Hazlewood described five-over matches as a "lottery", admitting he would rather have the final cancelled than shortened.

"If you've got five overs, a batter hits a couple of balls out of the ground it's game over just about or one bowler bowls a good over it's the same result," Hazlewood said.

"It is a bit of a lottery but that's what it comes down to sometimes.

"The one thing we're worried about is getting one of those five, six, seven-over games.

"We either probably want it completely washed out or get the full game in.

"I think second place would be more worried than us."

Bushfire Cricket Bash squad: Shane Warne (c), Ricky Ponting (c), Adam Gilchrist, Alex Blackwell, Andrew Symonds, Brad Fittler, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Brian Lara, Dan Christian, Nick Riewoldt, Elyse Villani, Grace Harris, Holly Ferling, Justin Langer, Luke Hodge, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Phoebe Litchfield, Shane Watson, Yuvraj Singh.