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Sydney Sixers have won the 2012 Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) , marching through the tournament without losing a game. The Sixers beat Highveld Lions in the final by ten wickets, chasing down a weak target of 124 in only twelve and a half overs - as sound a thrashing as top-level Twenty20 cricket has seen.
Sixers will be happy with their massive win, and with the US$2.5 million winners' cheque. Apart from diehard fans of the Sixers and of Australian cricket in general, the rest of the cricket world will not be so happy. Twenty20's most important role in world cricket is to promote the sport to potential new players around the world; an encounter virtually devoid of any thrills seems unlikely to have captured any casual observer's attention.
Lions have to take some responsibility for that. Their performance was extremely poor - at one stage in their batting innings, they were four wickets down for just nine runs - and only a composed fifty from Jean Symes got them past 100. The bowlers need to be right on top of their game to give Lions any chance, and they quite simply weren't up to the challenge, particularly against marauding English opener Michael Lumb. It also didn't help that they dropped two catches.
The Champions League T20 is a rather confused tournament. Few watch it, yet its prize money is unequalled. The format is unusual and changes from year to year. Given the increasing popularity of T20 franchises rather than provincial or state teams, a lot of players represent a team from outside their home country. None of this makes much sense to those inside the game, let alone those who happen across it as their first exposure to cricket.
Of course, one must remember that this match was a bit of a freak. Such a huge win is rare, as is such a poor performance by a team (Lions) that has reached a final. The main problem is that no-one is sure of CLT20's place in the international calendar, apart from the sponsorship opportunities and prize money it offers. Perhaps next year's edition will be a little more coherent.