Bangalore to host CLT20 final
Mohali, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Raipur will host the sixth edition of the Champions League Twenty20, to be played from September 13 to October 4. Kolkata Knight Riders, the IPL winners, will face 2010 CLT20 champions Chennai Super Kings on September 17 at Hyderabad in the main draw opener. The qualifiers will be played at Raipur from September 13 to 16.
The tournament has retained its last year's format with 12 teams vying for a total prize money of $6 million, according to a CLT20 media release. Barring the team from West Indies, the winner of the ongoing Caribbean Premier League, the remaining 11 teams have been confirmed. The tournament will see four teams from India, two each from Australia and South Africa and one each from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and New Zealand.
Lahore Lions, Northern Districts and South Express, the domestic T20 champions from Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka respectively, along with IPL's fourth-placed team Mumbai Indians, will face each other in the qualifying stage. The top two teams from the stage will progress to the main draw, which will be divided into two groups of five each.
Mumbai Indians, if they qualify, will move to Group B. The schedule makes it evident that the organisers would prefer four IPL teams to be divided equally in the main draw. While Knight Riders and Super Kings are placed in Group A, Kings XI Punjab, who will be making their their CLT20 debut, are in Group B.
Of the 29 games to be played in the three weeks in September, Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur, the home of Chhattisgarh cricket, will stage eight matches, including all six qualifying games. This will be another opportunity for the Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh, which hosted two IPL games in 2013, to make a case for being granted with the full-member status of the BCCI.
"This is a huge achievement for Chhattisgarh cricket," CSCS president Baldev Singh Bhatia said. "No affiliate or associate member had hosted an IPL game till we did so last year. And now the BCCI has entrusted us with bigger responsibility by allotting the highest number of matches, including those of the visiting team from Pakistan.
"Hosting such prestigious matches will hopefully take us closer to attaining the full-member status and thereby ensuring that the local cricketers from the state are rewarded for their hardwork with a place in the Ranji Trophy."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo