Teams from India, Australia, South Africa, Newzealand, Pakistan, Srilanka, West Indies take part in this either through direct entry (by meeting the selection criteria) and some teams are made to play through the qualifiers. In this edition of CLT20, four teams will be playing the qualifiers to fill in two spots available- one in each group.

Sunrisers Hyderabad – India Sunrisers Hyderabad made an entry into the IPL only this season as a replacement for Deccan Chargers. This team surprised everyone with their performance in this summer. Sunrisers used to defend modest totals with the aid of some world class bowling. The Hyderabad based franchise managed to scrap through into the eliminator, knocking out Royal Challengers Bangalore and was eventually defeated by Rajasthan Royals. For a team employed with new coaching team and new Identity, their performance was extra ordinary.

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As only top 3 teams get a direct entry, Sunrisers will be playing the qualification stage. In the absence of Kumar Sangakkara, who is set to play for Kandurata Maroons, India’s opening batsman- Shikhar Dhawan will be leading the side. The team is well equipped with fast bowlers- Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma, spinners- Amit Mishra and Karan Sharma, and all-rounder who are capable of doing both the roles to perfection in the form of Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy and JP Duminy. This team can go a long way in the tournament if they are consistent enough with the bat, which they failed to do in the summer. Hope the sun rises! Otago Volts – Newzealand Nicknamed the Volts, the kiwi first class team will make the second appearance in the Champions league. Previously, they entered the group stage in the 2009 season. Otago Volts are the defending champions of the HRV T20 Cup which gave them the ticket to Champions league.

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Derek Boorder, the wicket keeper batsman will be the skipper of the team. The Icon players of this team are Brendon McCullum, the devasting batsman and his brother Nathan McCullum. Brendon McCullum was the leading run scorer for the side and second overall with 372 runs from 9 matches including an unbeaten century. This team also has the all-round services of Ryan ten doeschate ‘tendo’ of the Netherlands. Jimmy Neesham is in good form both with the bat and the ball. The buildup towards the tournament was good winning three out of three games in srilanka. Faisalabad Wolves – Pakistan The wolves made some news even before the tournament start because the VISAs were not granted for the Pakistan players considering security reasons. However, they are granted VISAs after some lobbying by BCCI.

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This is the first edition of Champions League T20 which will be featuring a franchise from the Pakistan. The winners of Faysal Bank Super eight T20 Tournament is lead by Misbah Ul Haq who as I write is in Zimbabwe for the test match series against the African Minnows. Saeed Ajmal will feature in the Faisalabad wolves team and also in the fantasy teams and it will be interesting to see how he approaches this format of the game at this point of time. The unexplored talents of this side like Asad Ali will prove to be an advantage for them but it will be tough for them to qualify into the main draw considering the superiority of their challengers. Fingers crossed. Kandurata Maroons – Srilanka The Srilankan franchises playing in the CLT20 have always failed to put up neither any signs of superiority over other teams in any stages or any signs of being a dark horse. However, I believe, the Maroons side is the best T20 team from Srilanka. Lead by Lahiru Thirimanne, this team has the perfect blend of youth and experience. Kumar Sangakkara has been morally forced to play for this side by the nation’s cricket board and he will be putting up his heart and soul into play. Upul Tharanga, Thilina Kandamby, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis are some of the Lankan cricketers who have the experience of playing in the Indian wickets. Dhammika Prasad and Kaushal Lokurachi have been excellent in the recent past. I strongly believe this team will be making it to the main draw.

Schedule:

Date & Time

Fixture

Venue

Sep 17, 04:00pm IST

Otago Volts vs. Faisalabad Wolves

Mohali

Mohali

Mohali

Mohali

Mohali

Mohali

Sep 17, 08:00pm IST

Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Kandurata Maroons

Sep 18, 04:00pm IST

Otago Volts vs. Kandurata Maroons

Sep 18, 08:00pm IST

Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Faisalabad Wolves

Sep 20, 04:00pm IST

Faisalabad Wolves vs. Kandurata Maroons

Sep 20, 08:00pm IST

Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Otago Volts

Live on ESPN, STAR SPORTS