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Lightning aiming for Finals day return

The winner of this evening's Twenty20 Cup quarter-final between Lancashire and Middlesex at the Brit Oval could be just one step away from participating in the lucrative Champions League which is due to be held in India this autumn.

Australia, India, South Africa, England and, possibly, Pakistan are due to supply two teams each for the money-spinning event, although the involvement of the English counties remains in doubt if any of their players have been involved in the rebel Indian Cricket League.

Providing that problem can be sorted out to the satisfaction of the Champions League organisers, the two sides who contest the Twenty20 Cup Final at the Rose Bowl on July 26 will already have earned themselves the right to compete for prize money the like of which is beyond the dreams of county players in domestic cricket.

At present, the winners of the Champions League are due to receive $5million, enough to put a bit of pressure on the fielder under the skier that would win the final for his team.

Even if the ICL issue prevents there being English representatives in India this October, it is already clear that Twenty20 is going to change the face of both domestic and international cricket, and that defenders of Test and four-day cricket have a tough battle on their hands to preserve the preeminence of the longer forms of the game.

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