Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder will host Big Bash League finals matches in Canberra this week because of travel restrictions surrounding their home city.
The two Sydney teams qualified for home finals in week one by finishing first and third respectively.
However, border closures have forced Cricket Australia to schedule their matches at Manuka Oval instead of their regular home venues in Sydney, which has not hosted a BBL match all season.
It is understood the Sixers are still a chance to host the final at the SCG on February 6 if restrictions are eased.
But first they must earn the right by beating Perth Scorchers in Saturday’s first-versus-second ‘qualifier’ final.
On Sunday, the Thunder will take on the winner of Friday’s ‘eliminator’ clash between Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers at the Gabba.
“Manuka Oval has been nominated by the Sixers and Thunder as the venue for their home finals this weekend due to the limitations around travel for teams in and out of Sydney due to current state border restrictions,” CA said in a statement.
“This decision gives fans of both Sydney-based clubs the best chance to attend and see their teams live.”
CA said decisions regarding venues for week two of the finals series will be made “in due course” as it monitors any changes to border restrictions.
The Scorchers may yet be able to host a home final at Optus Stadium because of CA’s quarantine plan with the WA government.
Teams that travel to Perth from states that are considered “low-risk” COVID-19 jurisdictions – Queensland, NSW and Victoria – will likely be allowed to train and play in quarantine.
Scorchers captain Ashton Turner said on Saturday his team is prepared to play anywhere this year and feels fortunate just to be playing cricket during the pandemic.
“We know that this year there are extenuating circumstances and we understand that,” Turner said.
“But if there’s no big obstacles, we’d love to be playing in Perth.”
Seven BBL matches were moved earlier this season – five from Sydney and two from Melbourne – because of border restrictions.
Sydney has not hosted a match all season because of the city’s coronavirus outbreak in December.