Monday, November 9, 2009

India to face B'desh in WC opener

India will open their 2011 World Cup campaign against Bangladesh in Dhaka on February 19 and host its first match of the mega-event the next day in Chennai.

Placed in Group B, alongside South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands, India will host 29 matches of the quadrennial tournament, including the final and a semi-final.

The first match on Indian soil will have New Zealand and Kenya locking horns in Chennai on February 20.

Denied hosting rights owing to security concerns, Pakistan will play all their group A matches in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, set to host the second biggest chunk of 12 matches in the event, will have their first game on February 20 with the hosts taking on Canada.

The Lankans are in group A, which also has defending champions Australia, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Bangladesh, which will host two quarter-finals, will have just eight matches in all to organise.

India's commercial capital Mumbai will host the final of the February-March event.
Mohali will host one of the semi-finals along with two other matches, while Ahmedabad will host a quarter-final and two other games.

Kolkata and Delhi will host one India and three other matches each. Jaipur has been left out of the list of venues with Nagpur, Chennai and Bangalore getting one India game each.

The 2011 event will be a week shorter than the 2007 edition, which was held in West Indies.

"The announcement of the match schedule for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is an exciting development as not only does it allow all our stakeholders to start planning their tours but it will also remind everyone that we are getting closer to the staging of the biggest event in world cricket, where the leading cricketers from all over the globe will battle it out for the top prize in the game," ICC Vice-President and Chairman of the Central Organising Committee Sharad Pawar said.

"The sub-continent offers some great facilities for the cricketers, spectators, sponsors and media, and with some brand new stadia to be built and others to be upgraded, the match schedule will allow the venues to focus on the task at hand to plan and implement their preparations," he added.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said advance scheduling would allow the hosts to plan their preparations well.

"The match schedule will allow the teams, commercial partners, spectators and media to commence with planning their tours. Preparation of venues and safety and security planning continues and I am confident that the host countries will showcase our great sport with its great spirit in the best possible light," he said. .

"The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 will be the ICC's next 50-over tournament after the highly successful ICC Champions Trophy 2009 in South Africa," Lorgat said.
"And with plenty of high-quality matches played since that event concluded last month, I'm convinced that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in the sub-continent will further cement the status of ODIs and once again illustrate one of cricket's greatest strengths," he added.

Tournament director Ratnakar Shetty promised a memorable World Cup.
"The sub-continent has hosted high-quality events in the past, including two ICC Cricket World Cups in 1987 and 1996, and we are committed to stage another world-class event in 2011, one which will be memorable and enjoyable for all," he said.
Shetty called on the local organisers to spruce up the venues in time.

"The announcement of the match schedule will mean that the venues hosting the matches will have to meet their timelines to ensure everything is ready for what we believe will be a superb spectacle and a great advertisement for the sport which has a huge following in the sub-continent," he said.

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