If the Champions League Twenty20 2011 will have the prelude of the Champions League Twenty20 Qualifier 2011, the main tournament attempts to be a draw for Twenty20 enthusiasts around the cricket globe.
In its third edition, the Champions League Twenty20 2011 will see three teams qualify from the qualifying tournament that precedes the main tournament to join the seven teams that have already booked their place to make this edition of 2011 a ten team format.
Although three teams will have already featured in the six team mini tournament, the Champions League Twenty20 2011 will be on the lines of the same format as the previous edition wherein the seven teams and the three new teams will combine for the ultimate prize money and recognition.
The Chennai Super Kings will go into this tournament, like the IPL 4, as defending champions, having won the Champions League Twenty20 2010 edition. Eying a double in both tournaments, they will also have the opportunity to play yet again and more often in front of home crowds based on how they progress. Joining them will be the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Mumbai Indians from the IPL 4 season.
The CLT20 2011 will be played between three venues – Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai with Chennai getting the opportunity once more of hosting a Twenty20 final, this time it is the Champions League Twenty20 2011 final.
For the three teams that qualify, the road will be much longer because the Champions League Twenty20 Qualifier 2011 will conclude on the 21st of September only for the Champions League Twenty20 2011 to begin on the 23rd of September with the winner being crowned in the final in Chennai on the 9th of October.
From Australia, the New South Wales Blues, who won the CL T20 2009 edition, and the South Australian Redbacks make a comeback to the tournament while South Africa will see the domestic Twenty20 winners, the Cape Cobras, who have featured before, and finalists in the CLT20 2010, the Warriors, in the 2011 edition.
Yet again and not surprisingly there is no room for the Pakistan Twenty20 champions to feature in the tournament. The Sialkot Stallions were expected to feature in the CLT20 2008 before the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai saw the tournament being called off altogether in what was supposed to its inaugural year to coincide with the IPL.
These seven teams will have the other three teams join them in a tournament that will again involve two groups of five teams each, wherein the top two teams from each group will face off in the semi final for the ultimate prize money.
For teams and players that do not get an opportunity in tournaments such as the IPL, the Champions League Twenty20 is the next best thing, out of their country. And they will certainly be itching to have another dig at it in the 2011 edition as the best from the cricket world compete against each other.