Johannesburg: After 20 days of high voltage cricket ended in title triumph for the West Indies, it will be an opportunity for some of the Indian boys, who missed the semifinal berth in the ICC World T20, to redeem themselves when the Champions League Twenty20 kicks off here tomorrow.
The league will witness four Indian Premier League franchisees — this season’s IPL winners Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI), Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) — vying for the coveted title.
However, the action will start with the qualifying round, which begins with the match between Sri Lanka’s Uva Next and England’s Yorkshire, both of whom are making their debut in the cash-rich tournament.
The encounter between Thilina Kandamby’s men and Andrew Gale’s unit will be followed by the clash between Auckland Aces and Sialkot Stallions, who are also laying their claim in the championship for the first time.
A total of six teams, that will be contesting to make their entry into the main tournament, have been segregated in two pools with the top team from each group advancing to the next stage.
While Pool 1 consists of New Zealand’s Auckland Aces, England’s Hampshire and Pakistan’s Sialkot Stallions, Pool 2 includes Trinidad & Tobago, Uva and Yorkshire.
The Indians though will not be seen in action before the main tournament, which kicks off on 13 October, when Gautam Gambhir-led KKR take on Delhi Daredevils.
Daredevils have still to prove themselves in this championship and it will also be an opportunity for their new skipper Mahela Jayawardene to redeem himself after he lost the final of the World T20 Championship to the Caribbean side.
The 35-year-old was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the side after Virender Sehwag reportedly requested to be relieved from the burden of captaincy to concentrate on his batting.
Jayawardene, however, stepped down as the captain of the Lankan T20 side after losing to the West Indies and it remains to be seen how he handles this team against the world’s top T20 playing sides.
KKR, on the other hand, will be eager to maintain their winning momentum and will be out there to prove that their victory in the IPL was no fluke but a well deserved result.
The side boasts of some of the big names like Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis, apart from a good mix of Indian players in their ranks and will definitely look to better their previous show in the tournament.
Both teams have tasted success in this championship earlier, with CSK winning the 2010 edition and MI lifting the trophy a year later.
Apart from the top-four IPL teams, the championship will also witness South Africa’s Highveld Lions and Titans and Australia’s Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers in the main round.
Teams: Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Highveld Lions, Titans, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers.
Qualifiers: Pool 1: Auckland Aces, Hampshire, Sialkot Stallions; Pool 2: Trinidad & Tobago, Uva Next, Yorkshire.