Who’ll win the Champions League Twenty20?

Brett McKay Columnist

16 Have your say

    Deccan Chargers' Scott Styris, right, leads teammates as the run into the crease to celebrate their victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket match at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, May 24, 2009. Deccan Chargers won by 6 runs. AP Photo/ Themba Hadebe

    Deccan Chargers' Scott Styris, right, leads teammates as the run into the crease to celebrate their victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket match at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, May 24, 2009. Deccan Chargers won by 6 runs. AP Photo/ Themba Hadebe

    With an enormous US$2.5 Million winner’s cheque as the main prize, the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) tournament is easily the biggest provincial cricket competition in the world, and after two aborted attempts, it will finally get under way in the Indian call-centre capital of the world, Bangalore, this Thursday night.

    Originally touted as the logical companion to the Indian Premier League when launched in June 2008, the CLT20 endured an organisational-forced delay to its initial September 2008 schedule.

    It then had to be postponed a second time in December 2008 when terrorist attacks in Mumbai forced teams already in transit to do a quick u-turn.

    The CLT20 will be run over 16 days, with games played in Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad, and culminate with the Final for the over-sized cheque on Friday October 23.

    Four pools of three teams will result in eight teams progressing to a “League” stage, which in turn will produce two semi-finals before the Final.

    The twelve teams come from seven countries, comprising the top three IPL teams, both T20 finalists from each of South Africa, Australia and England, as well as the T20 winners from New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

    Let’s take a quick glance at the sides.

    Despite losing South African captain Graeme Smith to injury during the ICC Champions Trophy (no relation) in the Republic last week, Pro20 winners the Cape Cobras will still field a couple of trump cards in the form of Herschelle Gibbs and JP Duminy.

    I’d expect the Cobras to be toward to pointy end of CLT20 proceedings.

    Even without calling on Herschelle Gibbs as they were entitled, IPL champions the Deccan Chargers will surely go into the tournament as one of the favourites.

    With players the calibre of Symonds, Gilchrist, Styris, Laxman, Vaas and Fidel Edwards, it’s hard not to like what the Chargers are likely to serve up.

    If they don’t win the CLT20, they won’t be far away.

    Another team rocked by the injury of a key player (AB de Villiers) in the last week, the Delhi Daredevils have the major benefit of playing in front of 50,000 screaming home fans.

    Chock full of international stars still, including Sehwag, Gambhir, Vettori, Collingwood and Shah, the Daredevils also had to shell out the cash to Victoria for the services of Dutch-Australian left-arm quick Dirk Nannes.

    To add to the drama, Nannes will face his Victorian team-mates first up early Saturday morning (AEDST).

    The Diamond Eagles, despite being among the more consistent of the South African sides in recent seasons, might struggle a little bit in this company, given they have no currently-contracted South African internationals.

    Captain and former South African middle order bat Boeta Dippenaar and wicketkeeper-bat Morne van Wyk will be the keys for a young side who were the Pro20 runners-up.

    New South Wales, as the reigning Australian T20 Big Bash champions, will be under pressure to do well in the CLT20, and despite losing the likes of Haddin and Bracken to injury, will still boast internationals Warner, Hughes, Lee, Hauritz, Clark and Bollinger in their side, as well as captain Simon Katich.

    Warner and Hughes opening will be looking to set up big totals and at the same time remind Australian selectors of their talent.

    New Zealand champs the Otago Volts cannot easily be discounted, and will have Black Caps Redmond, Broom, Butler, and the McCullum brothers in their line-up, as well as Shane Warne’s favourite English player Dimitri Mascarenhas.

    Undoubtedly Mascarenhas and Brendan McCullum will be looking for a big tournament, and if they can fire, Otago could cause plenty of surprises.

    IPL runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore would dearly loved to had a fit Kevin Pietersen, but even without him, captain Anil Kumble will still be able to call on the likes of internationals Taylor, Praveen Kumar, Dravid, Uthappa, Steyn, Boucher and Kallis from a pretty strong squad. Definitely a team to watch in this competition.

    Somerset will heavily rely on veteran openers Marcus Trescothick and captain Justin Langer if they’re to get through to the final stages of the tournament.

    That said, Somerset still have a pretty handy side that was able to surge to the final of the 2009 Twenty20 Cup, and they could well cause some headaches for more fancied opposition.

    England’s best hopes for the CLT20 will rest with T20 Cup champions Sussex, who also boast some internationals including West Indian allrounder Dwayne Smith, Pakistan quick Yasir Arafat, Indian leggie Piyush Chawla, as well as current England all-rounder Luke Wright.

    Sussex will be hoping for a repeat of their T20 Cup success, where momentum carried them to the title despite not topping their group.

    Trinidad & Tobago come in to the CLT20 courtesy of taking the T20 cash from billionaire Allen Stanford, just before the US Securities and Exchange Commission stepped in to do the same.

    With the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Darren Ganga and Denesh Ramdin leading the way, Trinidad & Tobago will be hoping their impressive domestic T20 record translates to the international stage.

    Victoria will go into the CLT20 with very high hopes, having won the first three Australian T20 Big Bash series, and losing the final in the fourth.

    Brad Hodge remains one of the best T20 batsmen in the world (as much as that pains me), and will be well supported in a very strong team by captain Cameron White, David Hussey, Andrew McDonald, Shane Harwood and Peter Siddle.

    As good a contender as any of the leading sides.

    The ingeniously named Wayamba Elevens round out the CLT20 field, as the winners of Sri Lanka’s Inter-Provincial T20 series.

    Led by former international Jehan Mubarak, Wayamba will be capable of springing upsets with 10 other players with international experience including former national captain Mahela Jayawardene, spin genius Ajantha Mendis, and allrounder Farveez Maharoof.

    So from twelve teams, chockers with internationals and domestic stars, how do you pick a winner? Well, you don’t.

    Given T20 cricket is a lottery at the best of times, it’s nigh on impossible.

    However, in the spirit of making bold predictions, I’d expect the Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Victoria and the Cape Cobras to make the semis, with the “highly commended” awards going to New South Wales and the Delhi Daredevils.

    I can’t split Otago and Trinidad & Tobago as the “roughie” in a pretty tough field.

    So if you’re smart, you’ll keep your betting money well away from these teams. As a punter, I make a pretty good kiss of death.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • Roar Guru

      October 6th 2009 @ 4:33am
      Freud of Football said | October 6th 2009 @ 4:33am | ! Report

      Honestly and I don’t mean this with any disrespect to Brett McKay but, who gives a rats arse?

      I mean we are talking about the most insignificant of tournaments imaginable.

      * A 7 game ODI series between England and Aus after a 5 match Ashes series – bad timing and too long
      * A Champions Trophy in the 50 over format – you’ve already lost me
      * CLT20 – vomit

      The format (20 overs) is the wrong way to advertise the game to newer audiences, sure cricket might get some fleeting attention but you’re not going to make a lot of lifelong fans.

      The format of the tournament is ridiculous with a mish-mash of internationals-ipl teams and county/states and all this after the amount of cricket we’ve just had?

      Is it summer anywhere in the world right now? Answer: No – So why the hell are we going into yet ANOTHER cricket tournament on the back of what we’ve just had? This is a grab for cash, plain and simple and someone needs to control the ICC before cricket is actually killed.

    • Columnist

      October 6th 2009 @ 6:01am
      Brett McKay said | October 6th 2009 @ 6:01am | ! Report

      Freud, under normal circumstances, I’d completely agree with you, but as I’ve said on several threads regarding ODI and T20I cricket, this tournament could well be a pointer for the future of the short-form game.

      I still maintain that it’s T20 Internationals that can be done away with, with focus instead turned to the IPL and the CLT20. The prizemoney on offer means that the states/counties/provinces will take their various domestic comps very seriously now, and not the hit-and-giggle affairs they started out as.

      The CLT20 is a collection of the best domestic sides in the world. Try and tell the blokes that are yet to crack their national sides that this is a nothing tourament. For these guys, this is the biggest tournament of their lives..

      • Roar Guru

        October 6th 2009 @ 4:58pm
        Freud of Football said | October 6th 2009 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

        Ok perhaps I should have phrased that better as you are right, for “the states/counties/provinces will take their various domestic comps very seriously now” and that can’t be forgotten, if anything good can be taken from this tournament it will be one of the smaller clubs taking the prize money.

        That doesn’t make this any more of a spectacle though, it doesn’t change the fact we’ve just been flooded with cricket (needless cricket at that), it doesn’t change the fact this won’t be played in summer and it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of the players are “uninteresting”.

        Let’s be honest, tv crowds are drawn in to the big games, you aren’t going to get millions upon millions watching Kenya vs. The Netherlands and the same is going to happen when the “minnows” of this tournament face off. Sure some NSW Blues fans will probably tune in to see how their team goes but on the grand scale of it, this tournament is already heading for disaster.

        “Try and tell the blokes that are yet to crack their national sides that this is a nothing tourament.” – Again, hard to argue with your logic as I’m sure all those players knocking on the door would have that in mind but you’d have to say that they have enough opportunities to show the selectors what they are made of, a domestic season, then a county one on top, one more in a hybrid T20 format isn’t going to do them much good now is it?

        Further, how many of them are there? Kersi mentioned in his article that 47% of the players have already played at international level, so of the other 53% I can’t imagine there would be many “knocking on the door”, most players will be trying to reclaim a spot rather than gain their first. Either way this is a grab for cash the offering such a big purse for a nonsense tournament merely proves this.

      • Columnist

        October 6th 2009 @ 7:20pm
        Brett McKay said | October 6th 2009 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

        Freud, no need to rephrase, what you said about scheduling and meaningless cricket certainly isn’t wrong.

        You mention minnows of this tourament, but to be honest, I don’t know that any teams can be described that way. Even Tony Greig would have to concede that “these little Sri Lankans” have just as much chance at getting through to the semis as do an expected heavyweight like the Deccan Chargers. Also the first pool stage is only two games for each team. You could win one easily, and then get done in the last over in the next and you’re gone. The fact that it only goes for 16 days, with some days featuring two games also helps.

        As I said to Fred McGee below, I think it’s the “newness” of this tournament that’s caught my interest. It’s never been done on this level before. There’s no doubt it’s a made for TV product, and that’s where the money comes from. But the format allows this to be the case. You could never do it with one-dayers.

        Just on the players, and the number of internationals mentioned by Kersi, I actually had those numbers included in my first draft, but took it out before submitting to the Eds. Obviously Kersi and I read the same sites. That 47% would be lower now, with injuries and withdrawals, and also the 234 was the initial 18 or 19 man squads named (think they’ve all trimmed back to 14 or 15 for the tournament proper).

        To be honest, it’s actually the lesser names I’m looking forward to seeing, as this will be their first outing on this sort of stage (generally speaking). The IPL series’ have both made names of players from that next tier, so there’s no reason to think this won’t be the same. For those guys knocking on the door, this is a massive opportunity.

        Again, there’s nothing wrong with any of your arguments or logic here, it’s natural that different people have different points of view about the same thing. That’s why we all contrubute to The Roar in the end….

        • Roar Guru

          October 6th 2009 @ 8:05pm
          Freud of Football said | October 6th 2009 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

          I get the feeling that this is going to be crickets version of the FA Cup. Admitedly the clubs are from different countries but it seems to be that the idea is to let everyone play everyone else and see what happens and I’m sure the organisers have got their fingers crossed for some giant killings.

          As you know the FA Cup sees most of the lesser lights eliminated early on and a few cause upsets but its been more than 20 years since a team outside the top division won the tournament and I can see exactly the same happening here .

          The T20 format gives literally everyone a chance – as one over can have a huge bearing on the match – and as such it provides an uneven playing field in my opinion as even one of these “smaller” teams could win it.

          Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly don’t have a problem with this, in fact I’m hoping Trinidad & Tobago win it for the purse – however they would most likely be winning it not by playing excellent cricket but by luck.

          In such a short game and tournament, luck can carry a team to a title and that takes the skill out of it, it’s not really cricket when one over out of 20 is all that actually matters so if they applied the same principal to 50 over games it might be a little more interesting and more of a “genuine sport” than a “roll-of-the-dice game”.

          “To be honest, it’s actually the lesser names I’m looking forward to seeing” – The statement of a true sports fan. Unfortunately you will be the minority here, Indians (crickets biggest audience) aren’t going to be watching with bated breath to see how Otago fair, they want to see Andrew Symonds and Sehwag facing up to some “easy” First class sides and watch them belt the living suitcase out of them – that’s the draw of this tournament and as such I have no interest in it, it’s like watching Hayden play grade cricket – it just doesn’t seem fair.

        • Columnist

          October 6th 2009 @ 8:20pm
          Brett McKay said | October 6th 2009 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

          Freud, I like the FA Cup analogy, that is probably the best way to describe it.

          You’re quite right about the luck in T20 games. Having played a few T20 games now in the last few seasons, I’ve often said you can tell from about the 6-8 over mark how your innings will play out, and even the likely result. The worst of it is if you’re 5/30 in the 7th over batting first, it’s amazing how long it takes for 33 overs to be bowled to confirm the innevitablity. Mind you, I’ve also found that if a game goes the distance, it can be as tough and intense as any 50 over game.

          And that’s also why I used the word ‘lottery’ in the column..

    • October 6th 2009 @ 11:59am
      rljw said | October 6th 2009 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      Brett it is clear to me that any team with Andrew Symonds in it will win this comp. but i dont think you can count out NSW because they have the future of Australia cricket in their team Warner and Hughes, and you may think T 20 cricket is just a bit of fun, it is not, is should be played more than 1 dayers and tests because it is the future of cricket.

      also is their anyway people can watch this on TV?

    • October 6th 2009 @ 12:10pm
      Brett McKay said | October 6th 2009 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

      rljw, I certainly don’t count out NSW, you’ll note I had them and Delhi there behind my (loosely) predicted semi-finalists. If Symonds and Gilchrist bat anything like they did in the IPL, the Chargers will be a big chance.

      Also, I’m not quite sure where you got it that I think T20 is a bit of fun – in the comment immediately above yours I wrote “..the states/counties/provinces will take their various domestic comps very seriously now, and not the hit-and-giggle affairs they started out as.”

      I will strongly disagree with you though that more T20 should be played. Twenty20 is not the future of cricket at all, it may be a vehicle into new markets, but it is definitely not the direction the game should be heading. Undoubtedly broadcasters (particularly Indian broadcasters) will disagree, but saying T20 is the future of cricket is like saying a drive-thru Big Mac is the future of the resturant industry.

      Check out the official website for broadcasters (www.clt20.com), but if you’re in Australia, it will all be shown on ONE HD from 1:15am this coming Friday..

    • Roar Pro

      October 6th 2009 @ 12:38pm
      Fred Magee said | October 6th 2009 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

      Brett, as ever a great read. Unlike the IPL, I am looking forward to the Champions League -possibly because it is combining the franchise concept with the traditional representative teams (eg; NSW, Victoria). That and seeing that all these sides have won their domestic competitions, it is truly a best of the best. I am hoping NSW make a good show of it and the fact that they have most of the Australian players means that they shouldnt have an excuse.

      One question that your article raised…is Trescothick actually playing? Last time I read something about it, he is still a doubtful starter due to his illness.

    • October 6th 2009 @ 1:02pm
      rljw said | October 6th 2009 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

      Brett i misread the comment above, sorry. i think that if their is another Terriost attack in India ( god forbid) and the IPL has to be moved from India for a few years, then the financial backers of the teams might think twice about sponsoring there team. which will then put a end to the IPL.

      having read another article about how to improve one day cricket, i think they should keep it 50 overs but change it so each team can have only 9 fielders on the ground at one time and you can rotate the players when ever you want, and there is still 11 people on the team and 10 wickets but just less fielders. that way more runs would be scored and more boundaries hit. thats just a thought of mine

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