T&T lose berth right
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Hyderabad, October 16, 2009. Trinidad and Tobago have just lost their fifth wicket, with 80 runs to get and seven overs to go against New South Wales. Enter Kieron Pollard. You probably know what happened next. Eighteen balls, 54 runs, five fours, five sixes, a sequence of Moises Henriques deliveries that went for a surreal 4, 4, 6, 6, 0, 6, 4, 6, 6. A few months down the line, Pollard was a Mumbai Indian.
Two years later, T&T featured in another edition of the Champions League T20. Their squad didn't contain Pollard, who wore the Mumbai jersey, but didn't lack eye-catching performers. In six matches, the hitherto little-known Sunil Narine bowled 24 overs and took 10 wickets while conceding just 105 runs at an economy rate (4.37) that would qualify as 'miserly' in the sportswriters cliché book of 50-overs cricket. A few months down the line, Narine was a Kolkata Knight Rider.
At Centurion on Wednesday, T&T begin another CLT20 campaign, without Pollard or Narine, who will instead turn out for their IPL franchises. They will also lack Dwayne Bravo, who would have turned out for the Chennai Super Kings had he not suffered a thigh strain. T&T will have to negotiate a round of qualifying matches to gain entry into the tournament's main draw. Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai — as well as Delhi Daredevils, the fourth IPL team in the competition — have no such hurdle to cross.
Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai finished second, third and fourth in the IPL. T&T are Caribbean Twenty20 champions. Other teams in the CLT20 qualifiers include Auckland Aces, Sialkot Stallions, Hampshire and Uva Next. Each of these teams won their domestic T20 competition.
The CLT20 main draw will comprise four teams from India, two from Australia, two from South Africa and two qualifiers from the rest of the cricketing world. Ten teams, of whom only five — or possibly just three — are actually 'champions'.
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