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Friday, September 12, 2014

more cricket to follow - Champions League T20 in India (2014)

After the English tour, there is to be more Cricket (in India – not domestic !) - 2014 Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20), the 6th edition is to be held  in India from 17th Sept (the qualifiers will start on Sept. 13)   – ‘Champions League Twenty20’ an annual international Twenty20 cricket competition played between the top domestic teams from major cricketing nations. The competition was launched in 2008 with the first edition held in October 2009. The tournament is held between September and October for a period of two to three weeks.  The tournament features a qualifying stage and a group stage. The qualifying stage consists of four teams playing a round-robin tournament. The top two teams qualify for the group stage, which join the eight teams in the group stage. The group stage has the teams divided into two groups of five teams each. The group stage also follows a round-robin tournament format. The top two teams of each group then advances to semi-finals, with the top team of one group facing the second from the other. The winners of the semi-finals play the final to determine the winners of the tournament.

There are 4 teams fighting for 2 places : Lahore Lions (from Pak), Mumbai Indians, Northern Knights(New Zealand), Southern Express (Sri Lanka).  In Group A - Kolkata Knight Riders, Dolphins, Perth Scorchers, Chennai Super Kings, and in Group B : Kings XI Punjab, Cape Cobras, Hobart Hurricanes, Barbados Tridents.

The uncertainty over Lahore Lions' participation in the Champions League Twenty20 came to an end – they have been issued Indian visa.  Lions are led by Mohammad Hafeez and have other big names like Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad in their line-up. For the last five-six years, the Pakistan players are not playing in IPL and now this is a chance to play in similar conditions.    In the earlier versions, teams from Pakistan – Wolves and Sialkot Stallions failed to qualify for the main round. 

Lasith Malinga will represent Mumbai Indians at the Champions League T20 over the Southern Express side he led to the Super Fours title in Sri Lanka.  The decision to play for his IPL team means Malinga will not forego the payment equal to 10% of his IPL salary, made by IPL teams to the players who represent them in CLT20. As per the Team Participation Agreement of CLT20 2014, the decision on which team a player should represent is the sole prerogative of the player himself.  Despite the request to turn out for his IPL franchise, Malinga had asked SLC officials to distribute a % of the board's income from the CLT20 among the un-contracted cricketers in the Southern Express side.  The board will also receive $150,000 from Mumbai Indians, as the sum a foreign franchise must pay the home team of a player who represents the foreign side at the CLT20. As the Southern Express side is effectively owned by SLC, this sum will go to the board. Like Malinga, Corey Anderson, Kieron Pollard too  picked Mumbai Indians over Northern Knights, Barbados Tridents; George Bailey and David Miller chose Kings XI Punjab over Hobart Hurricanes and Dolphins; Pat Cummins and Jacques Kallis will play for Kolkata Knight Riders and not Perth Scorchers and Cape Cobras; and Dwayne Smith will turn out for Chennai Super Kings and not Barbados Tridents.

So, Mahendra Singh Dhoni despite dismal performances in Overseas Tests, led the Team which did well in ODIs and have another go at CL for CSK.  Rohit Sharma is out due to injury and gave Kieron Pollard the opportunity to lead the outfit. There were some other contenders - Michael Hussey, Harbhajan Singh ... but Pollard, with not so correct temperament got  the nod. Pollard’s success in getting the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title for Barbados Tridents perhaps clinched it. That will limit the option of MI as far as foreign players are concerned but anyway Pollard has all along been a certainty in the team. 

In 2012 CLT20 held in South Africa, Sydney Sixers defeated Highveld Lions; but the defending champions failed to qualify for 2013.  In 2013 finals, in a re-match of the opening game, the Mumbai Indians won the title defeating  Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Sept. 2014.

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