Cricket: India to launch World Cup defence against rivals Pakistan
- Updated: July 30, 2013
July 30, 2013: India will begin their title defence of the ICC Cricket World Cup against traditional rivals Pakistan in Adelaide after the two teams were drawn in Pool B of the 2015 event, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced.
The 2015 World Cup will be staged in Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.
India, who won the 2011 event when they defeated Sri Lanka in the final in Mumbai, and Pakistan have been drawn in Pool B with South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland* and a qualifier. Pool A features England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand and two qualifiers.
After facing Pakistan, India will play South Africa (in Melbourne on February 22), Qualifier 4 (Perth, February 28), West Indies (Perth, March 6), Ireland* (Hamilton, March 10) and Zimbabwe (Auckland, March 14).
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: “It only seems like yesterday that we won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in front of a passionate and supportive home crowd.
“The World Cup is a very special event for every cricketer because it only takes place every four years. Having tasted success in Mumbai in 2011, we’ll be working very hard to retain it.
“I’m keenly looking forward to the tournament and confident that we’ll do well. Our victory in this year’s ICC Champions Trophy has provided the team with a lot of confidence.”
The World Cup opens on February 14 with co-hosts Australia facing England in a mouth-watering encounter at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and New Zealand facing Sri Lanka in Christchurch. The MCG will host the final on March 29.
England captain Alastair Cook, whose side reached this year’s Champions Trophy final, said: “We have been improving steadily as a one-day side in recent years and are very much looking forward to the challenge of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
“We’ll be working hard in the coming months to ensure we give ourselves the best possible opportunity to go one step further in 2015. Playing cricket in Australia and New Zealand is always a fantastic experience and I have no doubt it will be another great occasion both for the teams and their supporters.”
A total of 49 matches will be played in the 44-day tournament across 14 venues in the two countries. Australia will stage 26 matches in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, while the 23 matches in New Zealand will be held in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington.
The tournament comprises 14 sides (10 Full Members and four qualifiers), as per their rankings on the Reliance ICC ODI Rankings table on December 31, 2012.
The top four sides from each pool will progress to the quarter-finals, followed by the two semi-finals and the final. All the knockout matches will have reserve days.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, who attended the event launch in Melbourne, said: “The ICC Cricket World Cup is the flagship tournament of the 50-over game. The 2015 tournament will mark 40 years since the first World Cup in 1975 and that history of great contests and heroes helps make the tournament what it is – the most sought-after prize in our increasingly global game.
“The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be returning to Australia and New Zealand after 23 years and will be staged on the back of two outstanding 50-over ICC events – the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and ICC Champions Trophy 2013.
“I’m absolutely confident that the success of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will further strengthen the status of 50-over cricket as a successful and viable format alongside Tests and Twenty20 Internationals.”
John Harnden, Chief Executive of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Local Organising Committee, said ticket prices would be announced later in the year, and that tickets would be affordable.
“We want as many fans as possible to be a part of this rare event,” Harnden said. “Australia and New Zealand have diverse communities who are passionate about their heritage and very passionate about cricket. We’ll be working hard in local communities to ensure they can follow their teams, attend matches and play a part in the event in 2015.”