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Chennai to host inaugural Champions League final
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 25 - 10 - 2008

Australia's domestic Twenty20 winner Victoria will take on English champion Middlesex in the opening match of the inaugural Champions League on Dec. 3 in Mumbai. The tournament final will be played in Chennai on Dec. 10, instead of Mumbai.
The draw for the tournament, featuring the top Twenty20 sides from India, Australia, South Africa, England and Pakistan, was revealed in Delhi on Thursday. Besides Victoria and Middlesex, IPL runner-up Chennai Super Kings and South Africa's Titans are the two other teams in Group A.
Rajasthan Royals, the IPL champion, are in Group B, and will start their campaign at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium against South Africa's Dolphins. They will also pit their wits against Pakistan's Sialkot Stallions, who have won 16 games on the trot, and Western Australia.
The group games will be played in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai over four days, with Bangalore and Chennai hosting the semifinals.
The best Twenty20 performers in leagues around the world were also handed awards during the ceremony to unveil the draw. Rajasthan's Sohail Tanvir had the best bowling figures (6 for 14 against the Chennai Super Kings), while the Kolkata Knight Riders' Brendon McCullum won the award for the highest score (158 against Bangalore Royal Challengers).
Dolphins' Yusuf Abdullah had the best economy rate for the season (4.32), while Graeme Napier of Essex took home the award for the best batting strike-rate. His 326 runs in the Twenty20 Cup in England came at an astonishing strike-rate 195.2.
Shaun Marsh topped batting averages both in Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash and the IPL (616 runs at 68.4); Shane Watson of the Royals accepted the award on his behalf, with Marsh on his way to join the Australian Test squad, not due in India for another few hours.
Charl Langeveldt of the Cape Cobras had the best bowling strike-rate, his 18 wickets came at a rate of one every nine balls, but the bowlers taking part in December will be thrilled to do anything like as well with the wealth of batting talent on display.
Groups and schedule of the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League are as follows:
Group A: Victoria Bushrangers (AUS), Middlesex Crusaders (ENG), Pretoria Titans (RSA), Chennai Super Kings (IND).
Group B: Western Warriors (AUS), Sialkot Stallions (PAK), Natal Dolphins (RSA), Rajasthan Royals (IND).
Dec. 3: Middlesex Crusaders vs. Victoria Bushrangers, Mumbai; Rajasthan Royals vs. Natal Dolphins, Mumbai; Dec. 4: Sialkot Stallions vs. Western Warriors, Bangalore; Chennai Super Kings vs. Victoria Bushrangers, Mumbai; Dec. 5: Middlesex Crusaders vs. Pretoria Titans, Chennai; Sialkot Stallions vs. Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai; Dec. 6: Western Warriors vs. Natal Dolphins, Bangalore; Victoria Bushrangers vs. Pretoria Titans, Chennai; Chennai Super Kings vs. Middlesex Crusaders, Chennai; Dec. 7: Natal Dolphins vs. Sialkot Stallions, Bangalore; Rajasthan Royals vs. Western Warriors, Bangalore; Chennai Super Kings vs. Pretoria Titans, Chennai; Semifinals Dec. 8: Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up, Bangalore; Dec. 9: Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up, Chennai
Final: Dec. 10 in Chennai.
Jayasuriya in Sixes squad
Big hitting Sri Lankan all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya has been confirmed for the annual Hong Kong Cricket Sixes tournament, organizers said Friday.
The former 1996 Cricket World Cup winner will join an All Star team that includes West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Australian Justin Langer, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and English swing bowler Matthew Hoggard.
Jayasuriya, 39, now features only in Sri Lanka's one-day squad, where he has scored 27 centuries and 66 fifties in 421 one-day games, taking 310 wickets.
Australia and hosts Hong Kong are the remaining two teams in the Sobers Group while the Bradman Group will be contested by India, Pakistan, England and South Africa. The Hong Kong Cricket Sixes are scheduled from Nov. 8-9.

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