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Mumbai, Apr 12 (IBNS) The Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) will return to India for the third time in five years in 2013 after the dates and format for this year's tournament were confirmed by the CLT20 Governing Council.
The world's premier domestic T20 competition will be played from 17 September to 6 October.
The tournament will follow a similar format to the two previous editions with a Group Stage preceded by a Qualifier. A total of 29 matches will be played in the tournament by the best domestic T20 teams from around the world.
As well as finalising the timing and format, the CLT20 Governing Council has also confirmed the teams that will compete for a total prize money of US$6million.
Trinidad & Tobago, who were the runners-up in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2009, have earned direct entry into the Group Stage this year after playing in the Qualifier in 2011 and 2012.
With some of the world's best T20 players, they are a deserving entrant in the main draw after winning the Caribbean T20 championship for a third straight time earlier this year.
The CLT20 Governing Council has been advised by the England and Wales Cricket Board that its teams are not available to participate in this year's tournament.
"The CLT20 will return to India this year. It will be the third time India will host the tournament in five years, after 2009 and 2011. The competition, which will again feature leading cricketers from across the world and some of the established legends of world cricket, will be watched and followed by equally passionate fans," N. Srinivasan, Chairman, CLT20 Governing Council, said.
The Qualifier will feature four teams - the fourth-ranked team from the Pepsi IPL 2013, Otago Volts (New Zealandís HRV Cup champions), and the winners of the Sri Lanka and Pakistan domestic T20 competitions.
The teams will play each other once, with the top two advancing to the Group Stage.
The Group Stage will feature 10 teams.
Group A will comprise the winner and third-ranked team in the Pepsi IPL 2013, Highveld Lions (winner of South Africa's RAM SLAM T20 Challenge), Perth Scorchers (KFC T20 Big Bash League runner-up), and the top team from the CLT20 2013 Qualifier.
Group B will comprise Brisbane Heat (KFC T20 Big Bash League champion), Trinidad & Tobago (West Indies T20 champion), the runner-up in the Pepsi IPL 2013, Titans (RAM SLAM T20 Challenge runner-up), and the second-ranked team from the CLT20 2013 Qualifier.
The top team from Group A will play the second-ranked team from Group B, and vice versa, in the semi-finals. The winners of the semis will play in the CLT20 2013 Final on 6 October.
The venues of the CLT20 2013 will be decided at the end of the Pepsi IPL 2013, once the top three teams in that tournament are known.