The final of the 2011 Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament will be played in October in Chennai, a venue that has become a fortress for last year’s winners and reigning Indian Premier League champions, the Chennai Super Kings.
Associated Press/Themba Hadebe
The Chennai Super Kings celebrated winning the 2010 Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa last September.
The Super Kings, led by India’s World Cup winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, were unbeaten at home in IPL4, culminating in a crushing victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the May 28 final.
Home advantage is an important factor, yet the Super Kings were good enough to win last year’s Champions League in South Africa. The franchise has benefited from consistency in selection, a solid team ethic and strong leadership, and would be a good bet to retain the title, especially given the year that M.S. Dhoni has been having.
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The 2011 Champions League – which pits T20 sides from around the world against each other – will feature a total of 13 teams, expanding from last year’s 10 because of a new qualifying stage in Hyderabad from Sept. 19-21.
The qualifiers will involve six teams – Kolkata Knight Riders, Trinidad and Tobago, Auckland Aces and one yet to be confirmed team from Sri Lanka and two from England.
The top three teams at the end of the qualifiers will advance to the main tournament, which will be held in Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai from Sept. 23 to October 9.
There they will join the seven teams that have already qualified. These include the three best teams from this year’s IPL – Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians – as well as New South Wales Blues, who won the inaugural tournament in 2009, the South Australian Redbacks, and South Africa’s Cape Cobras and Warriors.
The 10 teams will be divided into two groups of five and the top two from each group will progress to the semi-finals. Chennai will also host one of the semi-finals, while the other will be played in Bangalore.
This will be the third installment of the annual T20 cricket tournament, which is a joint initiative between the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa.
Chennai this year became the first team to retain the IPL, and it could very well extend that record-breaking form to the Champions League too.
Follow Will Davies on Twitter @WillMHDavies.
Via: India Real Time