Champions League debutants kickstart qualifiers
October 9, 2012
Start time 1330 (1130 GMT)
How they qualified
Yorkshire finished runners-up in the Friends Life t20 in August, losing the final to Hampshire by ten runs in Cardiff. Uva Next beat Nagenahira Nagas in the rain-hit final of the inaugural SLPL in Colombo.
Two teams with contrasting histories take on each other at Wanderers to flag off the qualifying round of the Champions League. Yorkshire, one of the proudest English counties with a rich legacy, play a team that was conceived just a few months ago. Uva Next, the winners of cricket's newest Twenty20 league - the Sri Lanka Premier League - is the only qualifier from Sri Lanka. Both teams have just two games to make an impression and progress to the group stages. A depleted Trinidad and Tobago is the third team in their pool.
A common factor linking the two sides is that they will be making their Champions League debuts. For Yorkshire, their tournament experience may end after just two games, because England have decided to withdraw from the Champions League after this season, owing to scheduling clashes with their own domestic calendar. Led by Andrew Gale, Yorkshire have no superstars, their most experienced player being the former England left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom. Jonny Bairstow, who is establishing himself in England's limited-overs squads, had to withdraw due to a wrist injury. They had three training sessions at Headingley inlate September and warmed-up with a 23-run win over Sialkot Stallions on Sunday.
Uva, led by Thilina Kandamby, have their share of star players, including Jacob Oram, Umar Gul and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. They weren't the most powerful side in the round robin stage of the SLPL, winning three games, losing two and making the semi-finals as the fourth team. They defeated the top-placed Wayamba United in the semis thanks to an all-round performance by Oram. Sri Lankan sides have underperformed in previous editions. Now thanks to a franchise-based system which allows them to field foreign players, Uva has a chance to improve the country's standing in this tournament. They warmed up with a six-wicket win over Hampshire on Sunday.
Players to watch
Uva's Dilshan Munaweera was the pick of the local players in the SLPL. The attacking right-hand opener was the highest run-getter in the tournament with 212 runs at a strike-rate of 144.21. His 44 in the final helped his side clinch the title. He was one of the new faces in Sri Lanka's World Twenty20 squad, but didn't get more than two games.
David Miller, the South African middle-order batsman who has featured in his country's limited-overs squads, was Yorkshire's highest run-getter in the Friends Life t20 with 390 runs in 12 games at a strike-rate of 153.54. He was also the second highest run-scorer in the tournament. Yorkshire signed Miller as their Twenty20 overseas player in June.
"We've got clear game plans and the guys should all enjoy themselves. We've got absolutely nothing to lose from this tournament. No one is expecting a lot from Yorkshire. A lot of teams have got their stars but we are a very strong team and we believe that we can take anyone on."
Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo