Cricket ACT’s centenary celebrations have received a major boost with Manuka Oval to host the BBL|12 season opener.

Sydney Thunder will host Melbourne Stars on Tuesday, December 13, with Canberra also allocated a second match between the Thunder and Melbourne Renegades on Thursday, January 19.

Being allocated the season opener is a welcome reward for the community after Manuka was used extensively to ensure the BBL season could still be finished when participants were forced into hubs during the pandemic.

It follows last week’s announcement the Thunder will host Melbourne Renegades in the first WBBL game in Canberra for three years on Tuesday, November 15.

Sydney Thunder’s star batter and former ACT Comet, Jason Sangha, said the side is excited to return to their official second home.

“Manuka has been a fantastic place for us to play cricket – it’s always been a beautiful wicket, a nice and fast outfield,” said Sangha.

“The support we receive in Canberra is brilliant, and all of us are looking forward to being able to interact with our supporters after each match at Manuka Oval by signing autographs and posing for selfies.

“It will be tremendous for us to be able to do that after the last couple of crazy seasons we’ve gone through due to the COVID restrictions.”

Head of Thunder, Andrew Gilchrist, said Canberra deserved its mantle as the Trevor Bayliss-coached team’s second home.

“The locals provide us with great support, and there’s no doubt at all that it is our second home,” said Gilchrist.

“We’ve played down there for a number of years. We love travelling to Canberra, and Canberra loves having us. The facilities at Manuka Oval are first-class, something everyone saw when Canberra pretty much hosted an entire BBL season there a few years ago.”

The full BBL12 draw is set to be released on Thursday.

Tickets for this summer’s Thunder WBBL and BBL matches go on-sale to the public at 2pm, August 18 (AEST).

Canberra will also host three international matches this season involving the men’s and women’s Australia teams.

Cricket ACT will hold a gala luncheon as part of its centenary celebrations in conjunction with the men’s T20I between Australia and England on Friday, October 14.

Tickets for international games go on sale to the Australian Cricket Family on Monday, July 18 and to the general public on Friday, July 22.

CANBERRA BBL|12 GAMES

Tues, December 13 – Thunder v Stars (season opener)

Thurs, January 19 – Thunder v Renegades