SA gears up for Champions League T20
11 September 2012
South Africa will host the 2012 Champions League T20 (CLT20), the richest club cricket tournament in the world, in October, and the government is fully behind the event.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, speaking to reporters at a post-Cabinet meeting in Pretoria on Friday, said the 20-over format, which has proved a big drawcard for cricket fans, would attract huge crowds in South Africa.
The event will run from 9 to 28 October. Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban and SuperSport Park in Centurion will host semi-finals, while Johannesburg's Wanderers Stadium will be the venue for the final.
South Africa has already proved itself to be an excellent host of international T20 tournaments. It hosted the first World Twenty20 in 2007, the Indian Premier League in 2009, and the CLT20 in 2010. All three events were characterised by massive and colourful support.
Fourteen teams from eight countries will do battle for the honour of being crowned the champion T20 team of the champion teams of the world's leading cricket nations. Matches will take place in Centurion, Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
South Africa will be represented by first-timers the Titans and the Highveld Lions. There are four Indian Premier League sides, including defending champions, the Mumbai Indians, the Chennai Super Kings, the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Delhi Daredevils. Australia's representatives, the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers, will be playing in the CLT20 for the first time.
Trinidad and Tobago will represent the West Indies, the Auckland Aces will fly New Zealand's flag, while Pakistan's Sialkot Stallions will make their tournament debut. England's qualifiers are the Yorkshire Carnegie and the Hampshire Royals, while Uva Next represents Sri Lanka.
Eight teams have pre-qualified for the group stages, those being the South African, Indian and Australian sides as members of the founding countries of the CLT20. The other six teams will play off in two three-team pools for two places, one in Group A and one in Group B.
The composition of the teams will be interesting because many of the players will have to choose between their domestic teams and other sides they may play for, in the Indian Premier League, for example.
The CLT20 should have taken place in 2008 for the first time, but a week prior to the tournament terrorist bomb attacks in Mumbai killed 164 people and led to the event being cancelled, so 2009 became the first year the CLT20 was held.
It was played in India and Australia's New South Wales Blues became the first champions of the CLT20. They lost only one of their seven matches on the way to the title, which they clinched with a convincing 41-run win over West Indian representatives Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2010, South Africa hosted the CLT20. Like the Blues before them, the Chennai Super Kings lost only one match on their way to the title. Facing South Africa's Warriors in the final, the IPL side produced a top-notch performance to win by eight wickets with an over to spare.
Last year, the tournament returned to India. The Mumbai Indians, second in their group, produced the results that mattered in the knockout stages to become the third winners of the CLT20. In an all-Indian final, they ran out 31-run victors over the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
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