India will play Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka in Group B    PTI
India will play Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka in Group B PTI

India will begin their Champions Trophy title defence against arch rivals Pakistan as was announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday. The clash will take place at Edgbaston, Birmingham on 4 June 2017. The ICC’s top-8 ranked teams will feature in the tournament. The 8 teams have been divided into 2 groups, Group A and Group B. Group A will include Australia, New Zealand , England and Bangladesh. Group B on the other hand will include – India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The first match of the tournament will be between England and Bangladesh and will be played The Oval on 1 June. MS Dhoni-led Indian team had won the last edition of the tournament. ALSO READ: ICC announces groups for ICC Champions Trophy 2017

While announcing the schedule, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: The ICC Champions Trophy is a short and sharp event, which is followed and enjoyed by the spectators and players alike.”(as quoted by icc-cricket.com)

He further said – The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 is not just an ODI competition, it carries a great deal of value since it is being played just three months before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 qualification cut-off date. As such, every point earned here could be crucial.” ALSO READ: ICC Champions Trophy 2017: MS Dhoni, AB de Villiers, other captains extend support to tournament

The tournament will have 15 matches that will be played over 18 days at three venues. The Final will be held at The Oval on 18 June.

The schedule has been announced an year before the tournament is set to begin and Richardson felt it will provide teams enough time to shape up and prepare for the event, He said – The announcement of the ICC Champions Trophy schedule 12 months before the start of the event will provide sufficient time to all eight sides to plan for the tournament and arrive in England and Wales fully prepared and geared up so that they can collect enough points to directly qualify for the 2019 extravaganza.

He added – The ICC Champions Trophy will also be the first of three global tournaments the England and Wales Cricket Board will be hosting over the next three years. Immediately after the ICC Champions Trophy, the ICC Women s World Cup will be staged while the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, the pinnacle of the 50-over format, will be held in 2019″. The schedule of the matches is as follows:

Date Match Venue
Jun-01 England v Bangladesh (d) The Oval
Jun-02 Australia v New Zealand (d) Edgbaston
Jun-03 Sri Lanka v South Africa (d) The Oval
Jun-04 India v Pakistan (d) Edgbaston
Jun-05 Australia v Bangladesh (d/n) The Oval
Jun-06 England v New Zealand (d) Cardiff
Jun-07 Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (d/n) Edgbaston
Jun-08 India v Sri Lanka (d) The Oval
Jun-09 New Zealand v Bangladesh (d) Cardiff
Jun-10 England v Australia (d) Edgbaston
Jun-11 India v South Africa (d) The Oval
Jun-12 Sri Lanka v Pakistan (d) Cardiff
Jun-14 First semi-final (A1 v B2) (d) Cardiff
Jun-15 Second semi-final (A2 v B1) (d) Edgbaston
Jun-18 Final, The Oval (d) The Oval
Jun-19 Reserve day (d)

Note: (d) refers to Day games and (d/n) refers Day-Night clashes.