The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the schedule of matches for the upcoming Cricket World Cup scheduled to start in for February 2015 and jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The announcement was made by the ICC official twitter account just as two simultaneous launch events took place at Melbourne in Australia and Wellington in New Zealand.
Per the announced schedule, the tournament will kick off on February 14, with New Zealand taking on Sri Lanka in Christchurch, and Australia taking on England at the MCG in Melbourne.
The final match of the world cup will be played in Melbourne on March 29.
Pakistan, placed in pool B, will get their campaign underway in Adelaide on February 15 against arch rivals and defending champions India in a day and night encounter.
World cup a tourism boost
The ICC chose to host two simultaneous events to mark the launch of the world cup. The one in Melbourne was attended by the Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd who voiced hope that the tournament will bring tourism and trade along with the fans.
“This is one of the biggest events in world sport,” Rudd said.
“It will attract cricket fans from around the globe and also promote Australia and our close friend New Zealand internationally -especially in India and other parts of south Asia,” the Australian cricket board website reported him as saying.
Rudd was accompanied by former captains Ian Chappell (Australia), Kapil Dev (India) and Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) and cricketing legend Dennis Lillee.
In Wellington, the New Zealand prime minister John Key attended along with former great Sir Richard Hadlee and former captains Waqar Younis (Pakistan), Glenn Turner (New Zealand) and Stephen Fleming (New Zealand).
The 14 venues for matches have been distributed among Australia and New Zealand, with both countries hosting matches in seven of their cities.
Australian hosting cities include: Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane. While the New Zealand cities which will be hosting matches include: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington.
While the pool matches have been evenly divided, Australia gets the big final and bulk of the quarter finals, but New Zealand gets to host one quarter final and one semi final.
Chief executive of the Local Organising Committee, John Harnden, said ticket prices would not be announced until later in the year but would be affordable.
“This tournament is about the best teams, the best players and their endurance and skills that will see only the best left standing. We want as many fans as possible to be a part of this rare event,” Mr Harnden said.
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 world cup is returning to Australia and New Zealand after 23 years. Then, an Imran Khan led Pakistan won the final against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“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,” Richardson said.
Pool A: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Qualifier 2 and Qualifier 3.
Pool B: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies Zimbabwe, Ireland and Qualifier 4
The full fixture list can be found here.