The Twenty20 format took the cricketing world by storm as the glitz, glamour and glory of the format has given rise to a number of domestic Twenty20 leagues across the world. Some of the include India (Indian Premier League), Australia (Big Bash League), South Africa (Ram Slam T20 Challenge) and other smaller leagues like the Sri Lankan Premier League (SPL), West Indies (Caribbean Premier League), etc.
The Champions League Twenty20 2013 brings together the top teams from all these leagues who will then compete to win the grand finale. The tournament is scheduled to take place between 17th September to 6th October 2013 and will be held in the Indian sub-continent.
The Twenty20 format can be played in less than 4 hours and hence has captured an even wider audience who prefer a fast paced action pack game which guarantees a result. The Champions League Twenty20 will have a global audience because teams from India, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will be taking part.
The Champions League is a high profile tournament as only the best teams from across the world are eligible to participate. Hence, those teams that qualify are already guaranteed a participation fee of $500,000. The total prize money that will be distributed during this tournament will be $6 million. The break up will be as follows. The winner of the tournament will walk away with a cheque for $2.5 million while the runners-up will take home $1.3 million. The teams that get knocked out during the semi-finals will get $500,000 each and even the teams that get eliminated during the group stage will get a cheque of $200,000.
The Champions League Twenty20 is not an official ICC sponsored tournament but is backed by the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India), CSA (Cricket South Africa) and ACB (Australian Cricket Board) as well as a number of other smaller boards. The tournament will have 10 teams taking part, who will be grouped into two lots. Group A will consist of the Rajasthan Royals (India), Mumbai Indians (India), Highveld Lions (South Africa), Perth Scorchers (Australia) and a 5th team that is to be decided. Group B will consist of the Chennai Super Kings (India), Titans(South Africa), Brisbane Heat(Australia), Trindad and Tobago (West Indies) and a 5th team that will be decided shortly.
The tournament is scheduled to take place in the cricket crazy nation of India. The conditions will be typical sub continental conditions; hot, humid and dry. However, the pitches will be extremely batting friendly, making it an ideal venue for Twenty20 cricket. The stadiums, the facilities and hype around the tournament will be of the usual high standard as India is now used to hosting high profile cricket matches. Yet, it remains to be seen how the crowds respond.
The Indian Premier League took place during the month of April and June and the stadiums were packed to capacity. Towards the end of the tournament, the league was rocked with match fixing and spot fixing allegations and a number of prominent players and officials were either arrested or came under the scanner. This scandal has clearly dented the confidence of the cricketing public in India and a many fans have slowly backed away from coming to the venues and even watching these matches on television.
However, cricket is a religion in India and while the public are harsh and emotional with their decisions, it does not take them long to forgive and forget. That is exactly what the tournament organizers are counting on. They hope that the Indian public will attend these matches in large numbers and also follow the same on television. Only time will tell if the Indian public will show interest in this year’s Champions League Twenty20 or will they say enough is enough and turn their interests elsewhere.
England have consistently chosen to decline participation in the tournament stating that the dates for the tournament clashes with its own county championship. The refusal to take part in this tournament means that a number of English players do not get the opportunity to take part and make quick money, giving the ECB a cause for concern, as a number of players have threatened to leave the ECB and hire themselves out as freelance contractors. Pakistan will also not take part in the tournament and one of the main reasons behind this is due to the political situation between India and Pakistan.
In Twenty20 it is extremely difficult to predict the winner because just about every match goes down to the wire. Then you add the super over and it becomes an extremely difficult game to predict, probably one of the reasons why the Twenty20 format is sought after by bookies as the momentum swings from over to over, giving it an ideal platform for betting.
The 2012 edition which took place in South Africa saw the Sydney Sixers take on the Highveld Lions in the final and in the end it was the Sydney Sixers who won the match comfortably. They are the defending champions but the tournament favorites for 2013 will have to be the Chennai Super Kings. Playing on home soil, the Chennai Super Kings is captained by MS Dhoni who commands huge crowd support at home. Dhoni has been captain marvel who has successfully led the Indian team and his Chennai Super Kings Franchise to a number of high profile tournament victories.
Chris Gayle: There is probably no other batsmen who is more destructive in Twenty20 cricket right now than Christopher Gayle. He loves the sub-continent and always puts on a show. Of late, Chris Gayle has been a lot more consistent and has the power to single handedly win a match for his franchise.
MS Dhoni: He is arguably the greatest one day and Twenty20 finisher going around at the moment. Captain cool often leaves things till the last over and then takes on the responsibility of finishing the match himself. He not only has the ability to clear the fence at will but his ability to read the game is what makes him even more threatening.
Kieron Pollard: The hard hitting West Indian is highly sought after by franchises from across the world. He will most likely play for the Mumbai Indians where he is considered to be one of the key players in the squad. Pollard usually comes in at the death overs and is a bowler’s nightmare.
Glenn Maxwell: Mr. Big Show was purchased for $1 million by the Mumbai Indians but hardly played in this year’s IPL. Maxwell has talent and given the opportunity, he has the ability to win matches with his big hitting.
Shane Watson: The mercurial all rounder might have had his share of bad luck in test cricket but put him in the Twenty20 arena and he shines. He opens the batting for the Rajasthan Royals and when he hits them, they stay hit.
R Ashwin: Considered to be one of the most economical bowlers in the history of Twenty20 cricket, Ashwin will use both guile and flight to take wickets and restrict the run rate. Highly experience in this format of the game, he is trusted to bowl at the death and take wickets.
Lasith Malinga: Malinga is considered to be a Twenty20 specialist because of his unique ability to bowl yorkers at will. Malinga generally does not bowl during the opening overs and is saved for the death overs. His slingy action, pace and well disguised slower ball, make him extremely hard to pick.
Dwayne Bravo: Bravo surprised everyone at this year’s IPL when he was trusted to bowl four overs on the trot and right at the end in most of the matches for the Chennai Super Kings. He ended up being the tournaments highest wicket taker with his mix of slower balls and yorkers.
Dale Steyn: Arguably the best fast bowler in the world, Steyn is hostile, experience and hard to get away to the boundary. There are days when he can be off the radar but he is likely to take wickets opening the bowling and wrap up the tail towards the final overs.
Kevon Cooper: The West Indian was a star performer for the Rajasthan Royals with the ball. His captain Rahul Dravid often called upon him in the midst of pressure situations and Cooper delivered just about every single time. He does not bowl quick but he has a skiddy action and can bowl yorkers consistently.
A number of players get hired by different franchises across the world and end up representing more than one franchise. Hence their names could be featured in one, two or even three squads. However, they have to reach an agreement with their respective franchises and can only represent one team during the CLT20 Tournament. The current squads are as follows:
Trinidad & Tobago: Dwayne Bravo, Ross Taylor, Darren Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Aaron Finch, Samuel Badree, Kevon Cooper, Kevin O’Brien, Sulieman Benn, Adrian Barath, Delorn Johnson, Nicholas Pooran, Yannick Cariah, Miguel Cummins, Justin Guillen.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c/wk), Srikkanth Anirudha,Baba Aparajith,Ravichandran Ashwin,Subramaniam Badrinath,Dwayne Bravo, Akila Dananjaya,Faf du Plessis,Ben Hilfenhaus,Jason Holder,Michael Hussey,Imtiaz Ahmed,Ravindra Jadeja,Shadab Jakati,R Karthikeyan,Nuwan Kulasekara,Ben Laughlin,Ronit More,Albie Morkel,Chris Morris,Dirk Nannes,Suresh Raina,Ankit Rajpoot, Wriddhiman Saha (wk),Vijay Shankar,Mohit Sharma and Murali Vijay.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Menaria,Brad Hodge,Kevon Cooper,Shane Watson,Shaun Tait,Shreevats Goswami,Siddharth Trivedi,Stuart Binny, Dishant Yagnik,Owais Shah,Kusal Janith Perera,Samuel Badree,Fidel Edwards and James Faulkner
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar,Ambati Rayudu,Amitoze Singh,Dhawal Kulkarni,Dinesh Karthik,Harbhajan Singh,Philip Hughes,Munaf Patel, Pawan Suyal,Pragyan Ojha,Dwayne Smith,Jalaj Saxena,Suryakumar Yadav,Rishi Dhawan,Yuzvendra Singh Chahal,Abu Nechim Ahmed, Kieron Pollard,Aiden Blizzard,Lasith Malinga,James Franklin,Nathan Coulter-Nile,Mitchell Johnson,Glenn Maxwell,Aditya Tare,Jacob Oram and Rohit Sharma.
Perth Scorchers: Marcus North (Captain), Tom Beaton, Michael Beer, Paul Collingwood, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ryan Duffield, Ben Edmondson, Herschelle Gibbs, Brad Hogg, Simon Katich, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Joe Mennie, Nathan Rimmington, Luke Ronchi.
Brisbane Heat: James Hopes,Joe Burns,Dan Christian, Ben Cutting,Peter Forrest,Cameron Gannon,Ryan Harris,Chris Hartley,Nathan Hauritz, Mitchell Johnson,Chris Lynn,Alister Mcdermott,Luke Pomersbach,Kemar Roach,Dale Steyn,Daniel Vettori and Shane Watson
Highveld Lions: Alviro Petersen,Temba Bavuma,Gulam Bodi,Zander de Bruyn,Quinton de Kock,Neil McKenzie,Pumelela Matshikwe,Chris Morris,Dirk Nannes,Ethan O’Reilly,Aaron Phangiso,Dwaine Pretorius,Sohail Tanvir,Jean Symes and Thami Tsolekile
Titans: Jacques Rudolph,Farhaan Behardien,Henry Davids,Marchant de Lange,Cornelius de Villiers,Herschelle Gibbs,Heino Kuhn, Eden Links,Ethy Mbhalati,Albie Morkel,Scott Styris, Roelof van der Merwe, Martin van Jaarsveld and David Wiese