The Northern Knights and the Southern Express open up the CLT20 2014 show on Saturday afternoon, with both teams looking to get off to the best start possible in Raipur.
Where to Watch Live
The opening game of the CLT20 2014 is scheduled for a 4 pm IST (11.30 am BST, 6.30 am ET) start with live coverage on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD1. The match can also be watched via live streaming online HERE. Catch the action in the UK and Europe on Eurosport, while viewers can also watch online through a live stream HERE.
Viewers in the US can catch all the action on ESPN, with the option available for live streaming HERE. Canada viewers will be able to view the game on Sportsnet or live online HERE. Middle East and North Africa viewers go HERE to watch the match online, while the match can be live streamed in South Africa and Sub Saharan HERE.
Rest of the world viewers can catch all the math action via online live streaming HERE.
The Chattisgarh International Stadium is set to witness six exciting matches in the qualifying rounds as the Northern Knights from New Zealand, Southern Express from Sri Lanka, Mumbai Indians from the IPL and Lahore Lions from Pakistan vie for the last two remaining places in the CLT20 2014 main draw.
While most of the attention will be on the India vs Pakistan clash between the Mumbai Indians and Lahore Lions later in the day, the Northern Knights and the Southern Express will be keen to get the ball rolling with a thrilling match.
Both teams have pretty decent squads littered with international players, with the Knights looking at the likes of Kane Williamson, Daniel Flynn, BJ Watling, old pro Scott Styris, fast bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi to do the damage and give them enough wins to book that much-required place in the CLT20 2014 main draw.
"It is exciting to be here in India and play the Champions League T20 after winning the T20 competition back home," said Punjab-born Sodhi to CLT20's official website. "Coming to India to play with your domestic side is a huge privilege.
"It is really great to play with the bunch of guys you started playing your cricket who are there with me in India now. It is quite sentimental in a way and exciting at the same time. A lot of us haven't travelled to this part of India at all. It is nice to be able to see different sort of cultures and play cricket at the same time. It is quite refreshing."
Of course, the Sri Lankan side Southern Express will be more familiar with the Indian conditions, and they too have a pretty decent lineup, with the likes of Kusal Perera, Farveez Maharoof, Dilruwan Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Jehan Mubarak and Angelo Perera all able to call on their international experience.
However, the Southern Express have been dealt a blow after Tillakaratne Dilshan pulled out of the squad due to personal reasons. This is the second big miss for the Southern Express, after they lost skipper Lasith Malinga, who decided to play for the Mumbai Indians.
"Not having Malinga is a bit of a blow for us as he was a part of the team in Colombo," team manager Shane Fernando was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. "As far as Dilshan is concerned he didn't attend the practice and played games.
"Obviously he is big player and a great batsman. But we have a good balanced side and are looking to do well in the championship."
The Northern Knights, who also go by the name of Northern Districts, will be without one of their own influential players as well, though, with Daniel Vettori pulling out of the side due to family reasons.
"Clearly we're very disappointed that we've lost a world-class player for this world event, but we're very supportive of the position he's taken," Northern Knights chief executive Peter Roach said.
"He's certainly indicated a willingness to keep playing cricket and keep playing for us, which is great. We look forward to having him whenever he's available, as we did last year and he was obviously an integral part of us making the Champions League with his performances last year."
Squads: Northern Knights: Ish Sodhi, Jono Boult, Brad Wilson, Kane Williamson, Daniel Flynn (capt), BJ Watling, Graeme Aldridge, Anton Devcich, Tim Southee, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Daniel Harris, Scott Styris, Trent Boult, Mitchell Santner.
Southern Express: Kusal Perera, Danusha Gunatilake, Angelo Perera, Jehan Mubarak (capt), Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Ishan Jayaratne, Farveez Maharoof, Kasun Madushanka, Yasoda Lanka, Charith Jayampathi, Sachith Pathirana, Sandaken Lakshen, Tillakaratne Sampath.