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Challengers to meet Cobras in T20 Champions League opener
Bangalore: Twelve teams from seven countries will be seen in action in Cricket's biggest extravaganza when the inaugural edition of the USD six million Champions League Twenty20 tournament begins here.

Indian Premier League II finalist Royal Challengers and South African Cape Cobras will start the proceedings with a high voltage inaugural match of the Twenty20 event at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here.

Hosts India, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago are the seven countries from which twelve teams will turn out to vie for honours in the 15-day event which was postponed last year after 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.

Royal Challenger skipper Anil Kumble will be back in the field after a long gap and he would look to stump his authority right from the start.

The Challengers would like to exploit the home conditions with Jacques Kallis already making it clear that knowing the conditions will benefit the home team.

However, with most of players not playing together often, regrouping the team again would be a challenge for Kumble.

In contrast, Cobra will play in an alien conditions as most of the players would be touring India for the first time but they would have the advantage of playing together for the whole year.

For Challengers while stars like Kallis, Mark Boucher and Dale Steyn will be seen in action, it will also an opportunity for 18-year-old Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who replace Jesse Ryder in the squad, to make himself counted.

For Cobra, Herschelle Gibbs and JP Duminy will be the face and the onus will be on the two batsmen to shoulder the burden against a quality spin attack spearheaded by Kumble and South African all-rounder Roelof van der Merwe.

Duminy hit five half-centuries en route his 373 runs in IPL 2 and the Cobras will hope the lefthanded produces the same form once again.

Gibbs, too, was in tremendous form scoring four 50s, including one in the final, to take Deccan Chargers to their maiden IPL win.

It will also be interesting to see, some of South African imports like Kallis padding up against his compatriots and their knowledge about the Proteas will surely come in handy for the home team.

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