Sportsdesk | September 16, 2013
Cricket’s Champions League Twenty20 begins on Monday in Mohali, India, with four teams taking part in a qualifying round, before eight sides are split into two groups and compete to make the final on October 6. The tournament, though less glamorous than the Indian Premier League, is now into its fifth year and growing stronger every year.
There will be no English teams in the tournament as the tournament clashes with the finale of the County Championship. English teams also missed out in 2010. Indian teams get three automatic spots in the tournament and a qualifying slot. South Africa (2), Australia (2) and West Indies (1) each have spots too but sides from New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have to qualify.
The Faisalabad Wolves will be the first Pakistani team to play on Indian soil since before the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Misbah-ul Haq, the Pakistan national captain who plays for Faisalabd, hopes the decision to allow his team to play will open up more cricket opportunities between the two nations. “I feel cricket must go on,” Misbah told AFP. “Giving a Pakistani team clearance is a positive sign and I hope this will help open more doors for Indo-Pak cricket.”
Australian big hitter David Warner has registered the two highest scores in the Champions League. He hit 135 not out and 123 not out in 2011 for New South Wales. Daniel Harris of South Australia has the third top score with 108 not out, also in 2011.
The tournament is certainly lucrative — the total prize money is US$6 million (Dh22m). The winners get $2.5m, runners-up $1.3m, semi-finalists $500,000 and those eliminate in the groups take home $200,000. On top of that each team receives a participation fee of $500,000.
Australia and India have twice seen their teams win the tournament. New South Wales Blues triumphed in the first edition in 2009. Since Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Sydney Sixers have each put their name on the trophy.