THE chances of a South African team winning this year’s Champions League T20 have been greatly enhanced following a decision to play the tournament in South Africa later this year.
A member of the tournament’s technical committee, Sundar Raman, confirmed yesterday via Twitter that South Africa would be the host in October for the second time in three years. Johannesburg, Centurion, Cape Town and Durban were named as the venues for the fourth edition of the tournament, which was held in India last year. South African T20 champions the Titans and last season’s runners-up, the Lions, will represent South Africa in the $6-million (R51- million) tournament.
The winning team will pocket $2.5-million (R21-million).
The last time the Champions League was held in South Africa, in 2010, the Eastern Cape’s Warriors excelled in reaching the final, only to lose to Chennai Super Kings at the Wanderers.
The Titans and Lions will be buoyed by the fact that they will get to contest the tournament in conditions familiar to them. The decision to move the tournament from India to South Africa was driven by a number reasons, including the Indian monsoons and a five-day festival in the east of the country.
Originally, The Times of India reported the event would take place in India from October 10-28 over five venues – Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and New Delhi.
The governing council of the Champions League had met last month in an attempt to finalise the format and venue of this season’s tournament, but were unable to reach a decision until yesterday’s announcement.
One confirmed change from last season is the inclusion of Sialkot Stallions, Pakistan’s domestic champions, which could go some ways to repairing frayed sporting relations between India and its neighbour.
The tournament is a joint initiative between India, South Africa and Australia. The other teams to have made it to at least the qualifying stage of the tournament are: Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians (all IPL), Auckland Aces (New Zealand), Trinidad and Tobago (West Indies), Sydney Sixers, Perth Scorchers (Australia), Titans, Lions (South Africa). The representatives from Sri Lanka and England have yet to be decided.