The 2011 Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) schedule was announced on Thursday. The tournament features a record 13 teams from around the world with a chance to claim the most prestigious prize in domestic T20 cricket.
The tournament returns to India this year with matches in Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata, as well as a qualifying event in Hyderabad. The main tournament will run from 23 September-9 October with the Qualifier immediately beforehand from 19-21 September.
The tournament starts in Bangalore on September 23 with a Group B clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Warriors at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, the second time that the venue has hosted the CLT20 opener.
Seven teams have attained automatic qualification for the event, while a six-team qualifying event will determine the final three participants.
The format of this qualification is such that the six teams will be divided into two pools and the top team from each pool will qualify for the group stage.
The group stage of the main tournament follows the same format as that of the 2010 edition. The 10 teams will be divided into two groups for a round robin phase before the top two teams from each group progress to the semi finals.
The Qualifier will be held in Hyderabad at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, while Kolkata's iconic Eden Gardens, Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium and Chennai's M. A. Chidambaram Stadium will host group stage matches.
Bangalore and Chennai have been awarded a semi final on Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8 respectively, with Chennai also selected to host the 2011 CLT20 Final on Sunday October 9.
Chennai Super Kings, the defending CLT20 Champions, have been drawn in Group A along with Cape Cobras (South Africa's Pro20 Series Champions), 2009 Champions New South Wales Blues and Mumbai Indians.
Group B contains Royal Challengers Bangalore (2010 IPL Runner-Up), Warriors (2010 CLT20 Runner-up) and South Australian Redbacks (Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash Champions). The remaining spots will be filled from the Qualifier.
Group A action gets underway the from September 24, with a double header in Chennai with Cape Cobras and NSW Blues in the early match followed by an IPL battle between MS Dhoni's all-conquering Super Kings and Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians.
Teams that emerge from the Qualifier won't start their group stage matches until 25 September, giving them time to regroup and prepare for their campaign.
The seven teams already qualified have consistently shown over the past three years that they are the world's elite. Among them are former CLT20 Champions and Finalists, as well as teams that have proved their pedigree at home and on the CLT20 stage.
The addition of the qualifier adds another dimension to this year's tournament. While half the teams will go home disappointed before the group stage, the three that qualify will be match-hardened and a legitimate contender after surviving CLT20's unique pressure.
Key features of the 2011 CLT20 Format and Match Schedule
- 6 Teams divided into 2 Pools of 3. Three Teams to advance to Group Stage
- Top team from each Pool after round robin matches qualifies for Group Stage
- Next highest ranked Team in terms of points, then run rate, also qualifies
- 10 Teams divided into 2 Groups of 5
- Top 2 Teams from each Group advance to the Semi Finals
- 23 Matches in total (same as 2009 and 2010)
- Group A - Chennai Super Kings, Cape Cobras, NSW Blues, Mumbai Indians, 1st Pool B Qualifier
- Group B - Royal Challengers Bangalore, Warriors, South Australian Redbacks, 1st Pool A Qualifier, Next Highest Ranked Qualifier
- 7 Double Headers
- Semi Finals in Bangalore and Chennai
- Final in Chennai
- Kolkata Knight Riders (India)
- Trinidad and Tobago (West Indies)
- Auckland Aces (New Zealand)
- Sri Lanka (To be confirmed)
- England 1 (To be confirmed)
- England 2 (To be confirmed)
- South Australian Redbacks (Australia)
- NSW Blues (Australia)
- Warriors (South Africa)
- Cape Cobras (South Africa)
- Chennai Super Kings (India)
- Royal Challengers Bangalore (India)
- Mumbai Indians (India)
- 3 x Qualifier (Teams to be confirmed)
About Champions League Twenty20
CLT20 is an initiative of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa. The tournament is a platform where the world's best domestic T20 teams get the opportunity to pit their skills against each other. The tournament is broadcast around the world by ESPN Star Sports, who is also the commercial rights holder for the event.
2009 - NSW Blues
2010 - Chennai Super Kings