A matchup featuring West Indies stars and team mates Daren Sammy, Chris Gayle and Andre Russell will open the inaugural edition of Global T20 Canada. according to the schedule released on Tuesday for the first professional Twenty20 cricket league in North America.
Sammy’s Toronto Nationals will face Vancouver Knights with Chris Gayle and Andre Russell on June 28 in the first match of the 22-fixture schedule that will ultimately crown a champion on July 15 at Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City, Ontario, just north of Toronto.
Other schedule highlights include Australian captain Steve Smith making his league debut in the opener with Toronto and squaring off against his country mate David Warner and Winnipeg Hawks on July 2. Canada Day long weekend will provide fans an opportunity to see all of the league’s marquee players with six matches over three days.
“With the calibre of talent coming to Canada, fans will see top international stars in every match from the opener through to the final,” said Gurmeet Singh, Chairman of Global T20 Canada.
Six franchise teams will vie for the championship – Toronto Nationals, Vancouver Knights, Edmonton Royals, Montreal Tigers, Winnipeg Hawks and Cricket West Indies Representative Team, comprised entirely of players from the Caribbean.
The schedule includes matches spread across two rounds and playoffs. Matches in the first round, to be played from June 28 to July 8, will be in a round-robin format with each team playing every other team once, for a total of 15 matches.
Through the first two rounds, teams will earn two points for a win and zero points for a loss. Only the top four teams advance to the playoffs.
The schedule has two matches on weekend days and holidays, with start times of 11 a.m. EST and 4 p.m. EST. Weekdays will have single matches with a 4 p.m. EST start time. Three off days are built into the schedule on July 3, 9 and 13.