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Rediff.com  » Cricket » IPL teams face stiff test as CLT20 enters main draw

IPL teams face stiff test as CLT20 enters main draw

Last updated on: October 12, 2012 19:07 IST

After their not-so-memorable outing in the just-concluded ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka, it will be a test of character for Indian players in the Champions League Twenty20, which commences on Saturday.

There are four Indian Premier League teams in the fray in the cash-rich tournament, including defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and this season's IPL winners Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The other two IPL sides are Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Daredvils (DD).

It will be interesting to watch the desperation of the Indian cricketers, who are eager to erase the scars of their Super Eights elimination in the Twenty20 World Cup.

- CLT20 PICS: Auckland, Yorkshire advance

While KKR and DD have been placed in Group A, the other two IPL teams -- MI and Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK -- are in Group B, raising the hopes of an all-India clash in the semis, as the top two teams from each group qualify for the knock-out stage.

CSK's MS Dhoni and Stephen FlemingHowever, it's not going to be easy for the Indian clubs as they will be up against some of the world's best T20 outfits.

With Titans and Highveld Lions, both from South Africa, enjoying home advantage, the task is going to be even more massive.

Apart from the two African teams, the championship also hosts Australia's Perth Scorchers, which boasts of players like Shaun Marsh and Herschelle Gibbs in their ranks.

The other Aussie side in fray is Sydney Sixers, and with the presence of Shane Watson and young pace sensation Mitchell Starc, and skipper Brad Haddin in their line-up, the Sixers definitely look a side watch out for.

The tournament will also witness Auckland Aces and Yorkshire, who both made it to the main draw after topping their respective pools in the just-concluded qualifiers.

The Indian challenge in the tournament starts with a battle between the two IPL biggies -- KKR and Daredevils.

While the Gautam Gambhir-led KKR will be out there to prove that their victory in IPL V was no fluke, Daredevils, under new skipper Mahela Jayawardene, would like to stamp their authority on the tournament in which they have so far remained the underachievers.

The Daredevils boast of some big names, like David Warner and Kevin Pietersen in their ranks; and with Virender Sehwag being declared fit for the tournament, the Delhi side definitely has what it takes to be the champions.

The tournament will also be an opportunity for Sri Lanka's Jayawardene to redeem himself after his side lost in the final of the World T20 Championship to the West Indies earlier this month.

The 35-year-old was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the side after Sehwag opted out of the job to concentrate on his batting.

Jayawardene, however, stepped down as captain of Sri Lanka's T20 side after losing to the West Indies and it remains to be seen how he handles the new responsibility.

KKR, on the other side, possesses a healthy mix of Indian and foreign players.

Jacques Kallis and Brendon McCullum have been phenomenal for KKR and the team has really done well under Gambhir.

The other Indian franchisees to look out for in the championship are the Dhoni-led CSK and Harbhajan Singh-led Mumbai Indians.

Both the teams have tasted success in this championship earlier, with CSK winning the 2010 edition and Mumbai lifting the trophy a year later.

Teams:

Group A: Auckland Aces, Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders, Perth Scorchers, Titans

Group B: Chennai Super Kings, Highveld Lions, Mumbai Indians, Sydney Sixers, Yorkshire

Saturday's matches:

Titans v Perth Scorchers (1700 IST)

KKR v Delhi Daredevils (2100 IST).

Photograph: Getty Images

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