Jonathan Wells played a smart cameo towards the end to take Hobart Hurricanes over the line © Getty Images (File Photo)

By Freddie Wilde

Sep 28, 2014

The Hobart Hurricanes qualified for the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in Mohali on Sunday with a six wicket victory over the Barbados Tridents, whose own semi-final chances, along with the Cape Cobras’ and Northern Knights’ were ended by the Hurricanes victory.

The Hurricanes, who won the toss and elected to field, chased down the Barbados Tridents’ 113 with ten balls remaining. Shoaib Malik, who was instrumental in helping the Tridents qualify for the Champions League, was today instrumental in knocking them out having opted to play for the Hurricanes who he played for in last season’s Big Bash League (BBL) — Malik’s unbeaten 38 steadied a nervy chase for the Australian side and carried them past the target.

Malik’s contribution in the Hurricanes’ victory is indicative of the misfortune that has befallen the Barbados Tridents – the team most emblematic of the uneven playing field at the Champions League T20. For not only have the Tridents missing Malik, but they’ve also missed their captain Kieron Pollard who chose to play for the Mumbai Indians, and their opener Dwayne Smith, who is playing for the Chennai Super Kings.

Of course, such is the oscillating and confused nature of the modern landscape of international cricket, the logistics of organising any kind of domestic tournament in which teams and players remain stable is almost impossible, but the concept of especially Smith and Pollard, whose home team is the Tridents, knocking them out, sits uneasily. While leaving the choice of who each player represents with the player is an admirable and empowering decision; with the money available in the Indian Premier League (IPL) it is a situation which creates an uneven playing field at the Champions League, diluting the integrity of the tournament and its standing. Simply forcing players to play for their local team would go a long way to legitimising the tournament as a truly global competition and indeed one regarded as the pinnacle of club cricket.

Of course, Barbados did replace the crucial trio with Sri Lankan Dilshan Munaweera, Zimbabwean Elton Chigumbura, and New Zealander James Franklin — a worthy and adequate set of replacements, but nowhere near in the same class as Smith, Pollard and Malik and throughout their campaign the gulf in class was conspicuously evident.

Barbados, like the Sunfoil Dolphins and Perth Scorchers have just seemed short of star quality and international class throughout their campaign. The Tridents will have a chance to bolster their squad at next year’s Caribbean Prermier League draft, although having won the CPL they will get last choice of each draft round, but more importantly considering the nature of the Champions League, teams like the Tridents, the Dolphins and the Scorchers need to work on bolstering their own local talent, for whichever star player they sign, chances are they’ll run for the money when forced to choose between an IPL side and an alternative.

The Champions League isn’t fair, until it is, teams like the Barbados Tridents need to adapt or die.

Brief scores:

Barbados Tridents 113 all out in 19.4 overs (Jonathan Carter 42; Ben Hilfenhaus 2 for 14, Xavier Doherty 4 for 27) lost to Hobart Hurricanes 117 for 4 in 18.4 overs (Aiden Blizzard 21, Shoaib Malik 39; Akeal Hosein 2 for 25) by 6 wickets.

Man of the match: Xavier Doherty

Full scorecard

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Freddie Wilde is a freelance cricket writer. You can follow him @fwildecricket)