Trinidad and Tobago will bowl off their first match of this year’s Champions League on September 22 against the Australian side, the Brisbane Heat.
Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the tournament by winning the Regional Twenty20 Cricket Tournament and have qualified directly into the competition for the first time. Despite winning the regional tournament previously, their two prior entries into the lucrative competition have been through a qualification process.
The tournament starts on September 21 with India Premier League champions Mumbai Indians taking on Rajasthan Royals at the latter’s Sawai Mansingh Stadium home facility in Jaipur. The pre-tournament qualifiers start on September 17 with the Pakistan team Faisalabad Wolves taking on New Zealand team Otago Volts.
Trinidad and Tobago are drawn in a tough group B that also includes Chennai Super Kings – the losing 2013 IPL finalists, Australia’s Big Bash champions – the Brisbane Heat, South African side – Titans and a team from the qualifying process. The group A teams are Mumbai Indians, Highveld Lions – the South Africa T20 champions, Big Bash runners-up the Perth Scorchers, Rajasthan Royals and a team from the qualifiers.
The Caribbean entrant is expected to field a strong line-up with the likes of Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Shannon Gabriel, Samuel Badree, Denesh Ramdin, Jason Mohammed, Rayad Emrit, Adrian Barath, all with West Indies senior team experience, likely to make the squad.
Trinidad and Tobago are also expected to be strengthened by the presence of their ace off-spinner Sunil Narine, whose IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders are not in the tournament, as well as pacer Ravi Rampaul whose Royal Challengers Bangalore of the IPL also did not make the tournament. Rampaul’s participation is however conditional on his recovery from injury which has kept him out of the ongoing One-Day International series against Pakistan.
However, Trinidad and Tobago will likely be without the services of the dynamic trio of Dwayne Bravo [Chennai Super Kings], Kieron Pollard [Mumbai Indians] and Kevon Cooper [Rajasthan Royals] whose IPL teams will be involved in the tournament and for which they are expected to turn out.
Barbados and West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach is slated to be part of the Brisbane Heat squad for which he played during their successful Big Bash championship run, while dynamic all-rounder and Barbados Twenty20 captain Dwayne Smith will turn out for IPL champs Mumbai Indians. (WG)
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