Meet the Champions League T20 qualifiers

Updated: 18 September 2011 15:41 IST

Three berths remain for the main draw of the Champions League. Six teams will fight for them. Here's how the qualifiers stack up

Meet the Champions League T20 qualifiers
©

Three berths remain for the main draw of the Champions League. Six teams will fight for them. Here's how the qualifiers stack up

Auckland Aces

How they made it:
Winners of the HRV Cup

Captain:
Gareth Hopkins

Headliner:
Martin Guptill

Auckland have been among the best Twenty20 outfits in New Zealand, having made the finals in four of the six seasons since the format's inception in domestic cricket. They qualified for the 2011 Champions League by avenging their loss to Central Districts in the 2009-10 HRV Cup final. While Andre Adams was the clear leader of the bowling attack in 2010-11, claiming 13 wickets at an economy-rate of just over 6.00, Auckland had no stand-out performer with the bat. Their scores were built around Jimmy Adams, Colin Munro, Lou Vincent and Colin de Grandhomme, all of whom scored in the region of 200 runs. Auckland are not short on international experience, with Chris Martin, Kyle Mills and Daryl Tuffey completing their pace attack, and Martin Guptill bolstering the batting. However, the effectiveness of spin-twins Bruce Martin and Ronnie Hira on slow tracks could hold the key to their campaign.

Trinidad & Tobago

How they made it: Winners of the Caribbean T20

Captain: Daren Ganga

Headliner: Darren Bravo

T&T were the surprise package of the inaugural Champions League in 2009, strutting to the final on the back of a cavalier, flair-filled brand of cricket. That tournament launched Kieron Pollard into Twenty20 stardom; perhaps this edition will do the same for one of the raft of exciting young batsmen in the side. T&T may be without their two biggest names - Pollard and Dwayne Bravo - but retain a dozen players who were part of that barnstorming run in 2009, giving them a side that has experience of both big matches and Indian conditions. While the batting contains some of the best young Caribbean talent - Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons - the bowling has the much-improved Ravi Rampaul backing a spin-heavy attack.

Kolkata Knight Riders

How they made it: Placed fourth in IPL 2011

Captain: Jacques Kallis

Headliner: Yusuf Pathan

After three disappointing IPL seasons, a new-look Kolkata Knight Riders put in a commendable performance in the tournament's fourth edition and made it past the group stage for the first time, only to be thwarted by Mumbai Indians in the Eliminator. They are faced with the challenge of qualifying for the main draw of the Champions League T20 without full-time leader Gautam Gambhir, and Eoin Morgan, who are both out with injuries. However, stand-in captain Jacques Kallis is more than capable of providing solidity with the bat - as he showed in the IPL, scoring 424 runs at 35.33 - while Yusuf Pathan, Ryan ten Doeschate and Brad Haddin, who will be available if they qualify for the main draw, will handle the big-hitting requirements. Manoj Tiwary's resurgent domestic season earned him a comeback into the Indian team, and he will continue to control the middle order. Shakib Al Hasan and Iqbal Abdulla formed a miserly spin duo in the IPL and are set to continue that trend in the Champions League. The game-breaker, though, is likely to be Yusuf whose fearsome hitting can decide games in a matter of minutes.

Leicestershire

How they made it: Winners of the Friends Life t20

Captain: Matthew Hoggard

Headliner:
Abdul Razzaq

Bottom of the County Championship by a country mile, but kings of English Twenty20. Leicestershire were underdogs going into Finals Day, but that's the way they like it, and they overcame a star-studded Somerset team in the final. Before that, however, they had to win a dramatic Super Over semi-final against Lancashire with Will Jefferson the hero. They aren't a team of superstars, but James Taylor is destined for an England career while Matthew Hoggard retains his nous though he has lost a few yards in pace since his England days. Abdul Razzaq provides the power-hitting ability, and Claude Henderson some vital experience. Then, of course, there is Paul Nixon. He has announced his retirement but the team keeps winning so he keeps playing.

Ruhuna


How they made it:
Winners of the SLC Inter-Provincial Twenty20 tournament

Captain:
Mahela Udawatte

Headliner:
Dinesh Chandimal

Ruhuna's progress to the Champions League was hard fought; they had to bowl out of their skins to outlast Kandurata in the semi-finals of the Inter-Provincial tournament, before edging out defending champions Wayamba in a Super Over slug-fest in the final. Wayamba endured forgettable runs in the first two editions of the Champions Leagues, and Ruhuna will hope to pull one back for Sri Lanka. It won't be easy though; they will be without Suraj Randiv, the highest wicket-taker in the domestic tournament, who has opted to play for Chennai Super Kings. Their biggest name, Sanath Jayasuriya, has hardly knocked a ball in the lead-up to the event. However, Ruhuna have a raft of dangerous hitters such as the captain Mahela Udawatte, Tillakaratne Sampath and Janaka Gunaratne in their midst. The prime-mover of the batting, though, could be the 21 year-old Dinesh Chandimal who has impressed in his first season of international cricket. The bowling will be tested in Randiv's absence, and Chanaka Welegedara could be their go-to man in India, should they qualify for the main draw.

Somerset


How they made it:
Runners-up in the Friends Life t20

Captain:
Alfonso Thomas

Key player:
Peter Trego

Defeat in the CB40 final at Lord's, two days before the start of the Champions League, enhanced Somerset's reputation as the bridesmaids of county cricket. It was their fifth second place finish across all formats in two seasons. "I'm out of answers," Marcus Trescothick, their captain, said. They will now be expected to compete in India with the shortest of turnarounds, a mighty tough ask. To make matters harder they are without three key players: Trescothick, who doesn't travel overseas anymore, Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler. The latter two are on England duty and leave big holes in the line-up, though they might appear later if Somerset qualify. Alfonso Thomas will need to use all his experience to lead the side and his bowling - bolstered by IPL experience - will be vital. Peter Trego is an allrounder to keep an eye on while Steve Snell, the wicketkeeper, was playing Minor Counties cricket last month.

Related Articles
CAB Moves Supreme Court Against Committee Of Administrators
CAB Moves Supreme Court Against Committee Of Administrators
PCB To Invite Bangladesh For Bilateral Series in December
PCB To Invite Bangladesh For Bilateral Series in December
Virat Kohli To Receive Polly Umrigar Award, R Ashwin to Get Dilip Sardesai Award
Virat Kohli To Receive Polly Umrigar Award, R Ashwin to Get Dilip Sardesai Award
Show Comments
Advertisement