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The Champions League Twenty20 — History and Records

Champions League Twenty20 Logo

The Champions League Twenty20 was a cricketing event that lived short in terms of years but left a memorable impact on the whole cricket world. Indeed, the journey of such an event expanded the tournament concept within contemporary leagues. Leagues such as the IPL and the CSA T20 added multi-nationality players in their newly emerged T20 domestic leagues.

Every domestic reigning T20 team participated in the Champions League Twenty20. The five successful years of the CLT20 were during the surging popularity of T20 cricket. However, Indian fans and T20 teams were the influencing factors that made it a memorable event.

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The Birth of the Champions League Twenty20

During the late 2000s, T20 cricket became the new choice for modern cricketers. However, every nation had its own T20, thus these cricketers had a very limited performing zone.

Cricketing experts of the time wanted to design a global event that could add a more animated, intense, and rewarding aspect to T20 cricket. Luckily, ICC approved the proposal but only a few of the cricketing boards came forward to jointly make that possible.

The BCCI alongside Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa coordinated and hosted the first tournament in 2008, but it was canceled due to the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. As the tournament gained popularity; English, Pakistani and Caribbean T20 leagues, too, sent their league toppers to the mega event.

The Excitement And Glamour around the Champions League Twenty20

Such leagues are never far from being part of the cricketing world. The opening ceremony of the CLT20 almost appeared as if a festival was being celebrated. Celebrities and cricket legends came together to promote the event.

In the media world, the CLT20 remained in the headlines for a few weeks. Multinational sports televising companies such as ESPN, Star Sports, and Ten Sports spent millions of dollars on tournament viewership rights. Shah Rukh Khan, the owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders at the time, was chosen as the brand ambassador of the Champions League Twenty20 2010.

However, the tournament failed to gain substantial viewership and sporting support. Only India was able to host the tournament because the viewership of the CLT20 was significantly higher than the other administrative countries. At one point, the tournament also appeared to be the subordinate of the IPL.

The Inaugural Champions League Twenty20 Season

The first season was postponed from 2008 to 2009 when India hosted the first edition of the tournament. Cricket pundits had mixed reviews for the event. During the first year, they often cited that the event was a failure at maintaining the distinction between actual cricket and entertainment.

After all, the success of the first edition had laid the foundation for the upcoming years. The credit for providing a global stage to rising local talents goes to the inaugural season of the tournament. The inaugural season was hosted by India because had the most active T20 cricket fans and every new player loves such an involved crowd.

The Success of the Champions League Twenty20

In terms of business, the CLT20 failed to cover the costs that had been put into its creation. Additionally, the tournament was not very popular in both Australia and South Africa. However, it was under the influence of the BCCI, so it continued to take place until it was finally dissolved.

Thankfully, the CLT20 introduced some of the magnificent talents of T20 cricket. A few of them were Sunil Narine, JP Duminy, and Dwayne Bravo who succeeded at big, both for their national T20 side and domestic T20 side.

The Format of the Champions League Twenty20

When it comes to format, the Champions League Twenty20 was somewhat inconsistent and was unable to find the perfect method for the format. In basic form, the CLT20 worked on the idea of a round-robin and knockout stages playing style.

However, a system that could have allowed different teams to enter on equal measures was never proposed. The board continued to add and substitute a number of teams on different occasions. For instance, from 2011 to the end, 4 Indian domestic teams were included in the tournament while other nations only had 2 teams.

However, the tournament featured 12 domestic teams from seven countries. Their qualification was decided by their respective performances in domestic Twenty20 tournaments. The twelve teams were divided into four groups. And thus, table toppers of every group faced each other in the knockout stage. The winners of knockouts stages faced each other in the tournament finals.

The Summary of the Champions League Twenty20

2008 Champions League Twenty20

India was supposed to host the 2008 Champions League Twenty20 from December 3 to December 10. The tournament was postponed to 2009 due to the bombing attacks happening in Mumbai one week before the event.

2009 Champions League Twenty20

India hosted the 2009 Champions League twenty20, the 1st edition of Champions League Twenty20, from October 8 to October 23. The 12 participants were from the West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, England, India, and Australia. The New South Wales Blues emerged as the winners of the event by defeating Trinidad and Tobago.

Most runs: JP Duminy

Most wickets: Dwayne Bravo

Player of the tournament: Brett Lee

2010 Champion League Twenty20

South Africa was the host of the 2010 Champions League Twenty20. This event was held between 10 September and 26 September and 10 teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, and India were participating. There were 23 matches and the tournament ended with Chennai Super Kings winning the final against the Warriors.

Most runs: Murali Vijay

Most wickets: Ravichandran Ashwin

Player of the tournament: Ravichandran Ashwin

2011 Champions League Twenty20

The 3rd edition of the Champions League Twenty20, the 2011 Champions League Twenty20, was hosted by India and held between 19 September and 9 October. There were 13 participants and 29 matches. The Mumbai Indians defeated the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final match and became the winner of the tournament.

Most runs: David Warner

Most wickets: Ravi Rampul

Player of the tournament: Lasith Malinga

2012 Champions League Twenty20

South Africa hosted the magnificent Twenty20 tournament between 9 October and 28 October in 2012. The 4th edition of Champions League Twenty20 is significant because it was the first Twenty20 cricket tournament to feature a team from Pakistan. There were 29 matches and the Sydney Sixers won the tournament.

Most runs: Michael Lumb

Most wickets: Mitchell Starc

Player of the tournament: Mitchell Starc

2013 Champions League Twenty20

The 2013 Champions League Twenty20 was hosted by India between 17 September and 19 October. The Sydney Sixers, as the defending champions, failed to qualify. After 29 matches between 12 participants, the Mumbai Indians won the tournament for the second time after defeating Rajasthan Royal in the final.

Most runs: Ajinkya Rahane

Most wickets: Pravin Tambe

Player of the tournament: Dwayne Smith

2014 Champions League Twenty20

India hosted the 2014 Champions League Twenty20 held between 13 September and 4 October of 2014. Mumbai Indians failed to qualify as the defending champions. In the final match, the Chennai Super Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders and won the tournament for the second time.

Most runs: Suresh Raina

Most wickets: Sunil Narine

Player of the tournament: Suresh Raina

Records of the Champions League Twenty20

Every sporting event is known for the history and records it leaves behind. As every domestic team eyed on the ultimate T20 glory, they often produced historical performances that became part of our record books.

Team Records

Chennai Super Kings alongside Mumbai Indians won the tournament two times each. India hosted the tournament a record-breaking 4 times. Otago and Chennai Super Kings share the record for highest team score (242) in the CLT20. Chennai Super holds the record for playing the most matches (24) in the CLT20.

Batting Records

SK Raina had been the most successful run-scorer of the CLT20 with 842 runs in 24 matches. On the other hand, David Warner scored the highest individual score (135* from 69 balls) of the tournament.

SK Raina, MEK Hussey, and Henry Davids jointly share the record for the most half-centuries (5) in the tournament. The Muscleman Pollard holds the record for hitting the most sixes (49) in the CLT20.

Bowling Records

Caribbean mystery spinner Sunil Narine took 39 wickets in 20 matches with a personal best bowling figure of 4/9. Pawan Negi took 5/22 in 4 overs which was the best performance by any bowler in an inning.

The greatness of Sunil Narine expands as he also holds the record for the highest strike rate (11.7), most economical bowling (4.68), and best average (9.20).

Conclusion

We must define such sporting events according to their contribution to T20 cricket. And in that case, the Champions League Twenty20 brought the best teams to the best stage of the 20-20 league cricket.

As we see now, the pass that allows big international players to play in multiple domestic leagues should be credited to the invention of the CLT20 which made it all happen. The event is long gone, but the positive impact and animated culture of T20 cricket will be the best impression of the CLT20.


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Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.