The six venues for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 have been confirmed with Christchurch to host the summit clash on March 7.

Auckland’s Eden Park will host a bumper opening weekend, Hamilton and Tauranga will be the semi-finals venues while Hagley Oval in Christchurch has been given the final. Dunedin and Wellington are the other two venues with hosts New Zealand slated to play across all the six venues.

ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup CEO Andrea Nelson said the goal was to ensure all the 31 matches are played in the best possible venues. “Our goal was to ensure all 31 matches will be played at the best venues, encompassing a geographic spread that ensured as many Kiwi sports fans as possible get to engage with the tournament,” Nelson was quoted as saying in an ICC media release on Thursday.

“It was great to see the enthusiasm from so many cities bidding for a chance to welcome the best players in the world to their back yard. We’re absolutely thrilled with the outcome of that robust process and the cities that are now locked in,” she said.

The announcement, made at Auckland’s Kohimarama Beach, was followed by a game of beach cricket featuring India superstar Mithali Raj; newly appointed New Zealand women captain Sophie Devine and teammates Suzie Bates and Amelia Kerr, Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls and 2000 World Cup winners Emily Drumm and Rebecca Rolls.

Mithali said women’s cricket is finally getting access to the centre stage and the trend should continue. “Playing for your country is always a special feeling and we’re all very excited to play in the beautiful country of New Zealand. Women’s cricket is slowly getting access to centre stage so it’s important that we continue to grow this interest around the world,” she said.

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney, said the event would highlight the massive increase in global engagement with women’s cricket. “ICC is committed to growing the women’s game and this event is another step forward on that journey and part of our continued investment in the game to provide a global platform for the world’s best players. Women’s cricket has huge potential for growth and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 gives us a fantastic opportunity to realise that,” he said.