New Delhi: Reigning IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders will play Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural match of this year's Champions League Twenty20 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad on September 17.
The sixth edition of the Twenty20 tournament will be held in four Indian cities -- Hyderabad, Mohali, Bangalore and Raipur -- from September 13 to October 4. According to statement from BCCI -- the orgainsers of CLT20, the tournament will follow a format similar to the three previous editions, with a Group Stage preceded by a Qualifier.
Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni. File Pic
A total of 29 matches will be played in the competition. The Qualifier will start from September 13 with the main tournament, comprising 10 teams, scheduled to begin on September 17 in Hyderabad.
Apart from KKR and CSK, Group A will comprise Dolphins (winners of South Africa's domestic T20 competition), Perth Scorchers (Big Bash League winners), and a team from Qualifier.
Group B will feature Hobart Hurricanes (Big Bash League runners-up), the winner of the domestic T20 competition in the West Indies, Kings XI Punjab (runners-up in 2014 IPL), Cape Cobras (runners-up in South Africa's domestic T20 competition), and a team from the Qualifier.
Each side will play the other four in its group once, with the top two sides from each group going through to the semi-finals. "The Group stage matches will be played at Mohali, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Raipur. The Qualifier will be played at Raipur.
The CLT20 Governing Council has confirmed the teams that will compete for a total prize money of USD 6 million," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said. The Qualifier, to be played from September 13 to 16, will feature four teams - Mumbai Indians (fourth-ranked team in IPL 2014), Northern Knights (winners of New Zealand's domestic T20 competition), Southern Express (winners of Sri Lanka's domestic T20 tournament) and Lahore Lions (Pakistan's domestic T20 competition champions).
In the Qualifier, all teams will play each other once, with the top two advancing to the Group Stage. The top team from Group A will play the second-ranked team from Group B, and vice versa, in the semi-finals, both of which will be played at Hyderabad on October 2. Bangalore will host the final on October 4.