Sports

World Cup to begin Oct. 5, India confirms Pakistan’s participation

  • Arch-rivals will meet in tournament's most anticipated match on October 15 in Ahmedabad
Published June 27, 2023

NEW DELHI: The Cricket World Cup will begin on Oct. 5 with England facing New Zealand in Ahmedabad and the same venue hosting the final on Nov. 19, organisers said on Tuesday, with the schedule for the showpiece 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 sour political relations 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 this month when Pakistan agreed to split matches with Sri Lanka, where India will play their Asia Cup matches.

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

However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) added a caveat saying they would still need government clearance for any tour to India, including World Cup match venues.

“We are liaising with our government for guidance,” PCB Communications Director Sami Ul Hasan said in a statement.

“This position is consistent to what we had told the ICC a couple of weeks ago when they shared with us the draft schedule and sought our feedback.”

India begin their campaign on Oct. 8 against five-times champions Australia in Chennai.

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

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

Australia captain Pat Cummins said he was looking forward to the atmosphere at the match with India in Chennai.

“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 said.

“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 Nov. 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 teams that have 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 leaves their chances hanging by a thread.

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Tulukan Mairandi Jun 27, 2023 04:17pm
Pakistan is very grateful. Thank you India
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Ali Asghar Jun 27, 2023 06:15pm
@Tulukan Mairandi, Thulu Mairandi enjoying his occupied country India's degradation in front of ICC thinking it's superiority...lol
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