Royals to start Champions League campaign against Dolphins

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New Delhi, Oct 23 (UNI) The Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Rajasthan Royals will take on South African Twenty20 winners Dolphins at Bangalore on the opening day of the inaugural six million dollar Champions League Twenty20 tournament that kicks off on December 3.

Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals have been drawn in Group B which has Nashua Dolphins, Western Australia Warriors and Pakistan's Sialkot Stallions.

Mahendra Dhoni Singh's Chennai Super Kings which finished runners-up in the inaugural IPL will take on Victoria Bushrangers, Middlesex Crusadors and Nashua Titans in the Group A league phase.

The draw ceremony was held here today at a star-studded function which has some of the big names of the game.

The matches have been restricted only to three venues - Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. Champions League Chairman Lalit Modi said the Western Zone venues have been intentionally kept out of the tournament.

''The venues in the western part of the country were excluded because of the dew factor and if it would have been in the month of June-July, I think Delhi and Kolkata would have definitely got a chance to host the matches,'' Modi said.

The tournament will conclude on December 10 and the final will be played in Chennai.

Chennai Super Kings' captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he was confident of a good showing in the tournament.

''I think a lot of international players who had to leave the IPL midway will join us and hopefully we would play well and win the tournament,'' Dhoni said.

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