West End Redbacks' brilliant unbeaten run in home domestic competition secures a place in this year's tournament
Mumbai/Melbourne, 12 January 2010 - South Australia's West End Redbacks have become the first team to qualify for the 2010 Airtel Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) after earning the right to host the final of Australia's KFC Twenty20 Big Bash tournament.
The Redbacks' 23-run win over the PKF Tasmanian Tigers at Adelaide Oval tonight was their fourth straight in the competition. With one match remaining until the finals, the Redbacks can't be toppled from top spot and have earned the right to not only host the final of the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash but also take their place at the 2010 Airtel Champions League Twenty20.
Lalit Modi, Chairman Airtel Champions League Twenty20, said: "South Australia's Redbacks are the deserving first recipients of a place in the 2010 Airtel Champions League Twenty20. They have been the most exciting team in Australia's KFC Twenty20 Big Bash tournament and are worthy members of the elite group that will compete in this year's tournament of champions."
"The inaugural Airtel Champions League Twenty20 energised domestic cricket around the world and captured the fans' imagination with its skill, drama, excitement and international appeal.
"With the Redbacks now safely qualified, we eagerly await the confirmation of the remaining 11 teams who will make up the 2010 Airtel Champions League Twenty20 global family."
Michael Brown, Cricket Australia Acting CEO, said: "The West End Redbacks have been the standout performer in the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash and thoroughly deserve the chance to compete on the world stage at the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 later this year.
"The Redbacks' unbeaten KFC Twenty20 Big Bash campaign has now given them the chance to test their skills against the best of the best and follow in the footsteps of the New South Wales and Victoria teams who performed so well in the inaugural tournament last year.
"The addition of international stars into this year's KFC Twenty Big Bash has added a new, exciting dimension to the tournament. The addition of these players to Australia's evenly-balanced, high-quality interstate Twenty20 competition has delivered record crowds and ground-breaking television audiences around the country."
The dominant performances of the Redbacks has been in large part due to the form of 2009 CLT20 sensation Kieron Pollard. The big-hitting Trinidad & Tobago all-rounder burst into the spotlight with some of the most eye-catching displays at the 2009 CLT20 and he has continued that form for South Australia in the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash.
Pollard and Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's ICC World Twenty20-winning captain, are the Redbacks' two permitted international imports. Two of Twenty20's biggest names have combined seamlessly with local stars to drive the Redbacks to four straight wins.
The second of Australia's representatives in the 2010 edition of the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 will be decided after the preliminary final of the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash on 19 January. Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and last year's inaugural Airtel CLT20 champions, New South Wales, are all still in the running to finish either second or third and grab a place in the preliminary final.
The final of the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash will be played at Adelaide Oval on Saturday 23 January.
The dates for the 2010 Airtel Champions League Twenty20 will be announced soon.