Champions League place is Hampshire aim: Bransgrove

Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove has welcomed the prospect of a potential Champions League place for this year’s Friends Life t20 finalists.

Two counties have been invited to a Champions League qualifying tournament in Hyderabad from September 19-21, alongside four other teams that include the Kolkata Knight Riders, Trinidad & Tobago and Auckland Aces.

Hampshire were denied a Champions League place with Twenty20 Cup runners-up Somerset last year because the tournament clashed with the end of the county season. Instead they were invited to the Caribbean T20 in January, a tournament in which they reached the final before losing to Trinidad & Tobago.

They are now bidding to become the first county to retain the domestic t20 title and are currently well placed to qualify for the quarter-finals as South Group winners. A possible Champions League place provides an extra incentive.

Bransgrove said:  “In a perfect world we’d have more preparation time but would we take it? We’d bite your hand off and we’ll be doing everything we can to try to get there.

“We’ve started the season with a two-point impediment so we’ll have to do better than most to stay in the top two so that we have a home quarter-final.

“But we’d obviously like to go on and win it and go to the Champions League. There’s no limit to our ambition but I don’t want to speak too far ahead of myself.”

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