• Monday, December 04, 2023


Cricket World Cup to begin on October 5

India will take on Pakistan in Ahmedabad on October 15

Pakistan and India are due to clash in a high-voltage game in Ahmedabad on October 15. (ANI photo)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

THE Cricket World Cup will begin on October 5 with England facing New Zealand in Ahmedabad with the same venue hosting the final on November 19, organisers said on Tuesday (27), with the schedule for the showpiece event in India also confirming Pakistan’s participation.

The fixtures were revealed by the International Cricket Council during an event in Mumbai, less than four months before the start of the 50-overs tournament, with the delay partly due to the soured political relation between India and Pakistan.

India’s refusal to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup in August-September triggered the latest dispute between the bitter neighbours, who play each other only in multi-team events.

Pakistan responded by threatening to boycott the World Cup if they were not allowed to stage at least some matches of the Asia Cup on home soil.

The stalemate was finally resolved earlier this month when Pakistan agreed to split matches with Sri Lanka, where India will play their Asia Cup matches.

The arch-rivals meet in the tournament’s most anticipated match on October 15 in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium – the biggest cricket venue in the world by capacity.

India will begin their campaign a week earlier against five-times champions Australia in Chennai.

England’s opener against New Zealand is a rematch of the 2019 final in which they prevailed via a now-scrapped boundary count rule.

Among other key fixtures, 1992 champions Pakistan meet Australia in Bengaluru on October 20, while England take on South Africa the following day in Mumbai.

Australia face India at Chennai on October 8 and captain Pat Cummins was looking forward to the atmosphere.

“You know there’s going to be big crowds, but no bigger than playing India at home in a World Cup game, so that’s going to be exciting for us,” he added.

“It will be a huge challenge, they’re a top-class team but if you want to win a World Cup you’re going to have to be better than everyone else, so why not take on India straight up?”

The first semi-final will take place on November 15 in Mumbai with Kolkata hosting the second the following day. Both games, as well as the final, will be day-night fixtures.

There will be a total of 10 venues for the 10-team tournament – Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Dharamsala, Delhi, Chennai, Lucknow, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Apart from hosts India, the list of teams that have already qualified include Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa.

Two more sides will join them following a qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe, which will conclude on July 9.

Twice winners West Indies have appeared at every tournament since it was first staged in 1975 but defeat by the Netherlands in the qualifying event on Monday (26) leaves their chances hanging by a thread.


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