DUBAI — The International Cricket Council’s Cricket World Cup 2015 will be staged in Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29 and India will begin its title defence against traditional rival Pakistan in Adelaide on February 15, the ICC announced today.
The West Indies have been drawn in the tough Pool B that not only includes defending champions India, but also has Pakistan which recently defeated them 3-1 in an ODI series at home, as well as the powerful South Africans.
India, which won the 2011 event when it defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the final in Mumbai, will complete its group fixtures against Zimbabwe at Eden Park, Auckland, on March 14. In the group, India will also play South Africa (in Melbourne on February 22), Qualifier 4 (in Perth on 28 February), West Indies (in Perth on March 6) and Ireland* (in Hamilton on March 10).
Looking ahead to the tournament, 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.
“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 recent victory in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 has provided the team with a lot of confidence, and I am sure this experience will help us in our preparations for the World Cup in 2015.”
The tournament opens on February 14 with co-hosts Australia and New Zealand playing their first matches on the opening day of the tournament in front of their home crowds, while the Melbourne Cricket Ground will host the final on March 29.
New Zealand will square off against 1996 champion Sri Lanka in the tournament opener in Christchurch, while later on the same day, under the Melbourne Cricket Ground floodlights, four-time former champion Australia will go head-to-head with arch rival England.
New Zealand will also host Australia when the two neighbouring countries lock horns in Auckland on March 28.
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, whilst the 23 matches in New Zealand will be held in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington.
The 14 sides (10 full members and four qualifiers), as per their rankings on the Reliance ICC ODI Rankings table on 31 December 2012, have been divided into two pools:
Pool A: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Qualifier 2, Qualifier 3
Pool B: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland*, Qualifier 4
ICC president Alan Isaac, who attended the event launch in Wellington, said: “I’m delighted to be part of this historic occasion as today we officially start the countdown to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, an event that, over the past 40 years, has become a truly global event.The top four sides from each pool will progress to the quarter-finals, followed by the two semi-finals and the final. All the knock-out matches will have reserve days.
“ICC events have established a unique place in the cricket calendar, and, as we’ve seen at our most recent events in Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom, players, sponsors, media, fans and supporters from all around the world want to be part of the spectacle.
“Sport is synonymous with life in Australia and New Zealand, and both countries boast some of the best facilities in the world. With the World Cup returning to these shores for the first time since 1992, I am sure it will be an event to remember,” Isaac said. (ICC release)