India, Bangla in World Cup opener

Nov. 9: India launch their 2011 World Cup campaign against Bangladesh in Dhaka on February 19 — the opening fixture of the event — and the country will host its first match on the next day in Chennai, the International Cricket Council announced here on Monday. Placed in Group B, alongside South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands, India will host 29 out of a total of 49 games of the quadrennial tournament, including the final and a semifinal.

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

The Lankans are in Group A, which also has defending champions Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya. Bangladesh, which will host two quarterfinals, will have eight matches in all to organise.

The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will host the final of the February-March event while Mohali will host one of the semifinals along with two other matches. Ahmedabad gets to host a quarterfinal and two other games. Kolkata and Delhi will host one India and three other matches each while Nagpur, Chennai and Bengaluru get one India game each. The 2011 event will be a week shorter than the 2007 edition, which was held in the Caribbean.

"The announcement of the match schedule for the ICC 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," ICC vice president and organising committee chairman Sharad Pawar said.

The fixtures are set up in such a way that Pakistan — denied hosting rights owing to security concerns — get to play all their group matches in Sri Lanka. Said Pawar, "I am confident that the cricket-loving population will welcome any country and there is no exception."

Age Correspondent



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