India to open 2012 ICC World T20 campaign

India have been placed alongside defending champions England and a qualifier in Group A Getty Images

Colombo: Sep 21, 2011

India will open their 2012 ICC World Twenty20 campaign against one of the two qualifiers at the R Premadasa Stadium here on September 19 next year, according to the schedule of the tournament announced by the international body on Wednesday.

India, who won the inaugural edition of the tournament in South Africa in 2007, have been placed alongside defending champions England and a qualifier in Group A.

India will next face England at the same venue on September 23.

England, meanwhile, will also start its title defence at the R Premadasa Stadium exactly one year from today, September 21 next year, against one of the two qualifiers for the tournament, which will conclude on October 7.

Australia, chasing the one global trophy that has eluded them till now, will go head-to-head with the other qualifier in Colombo on September 19.

Sri Lanka, which lost to England in the semi-final of last year’s tournament in the West Indies, will open its campaign against Zimbabwe under lights in Hambantota on the first day of the tournament, September 18, before taking on South Africa at the same venue on September 22.

If Sri Lanka reaches the Super Eight, it will then go on to play in Pallekele before moving to Colombo if it qualifies for the knock-out stage.

Pakistan, which won the 2009 edition in England, has been grouped with New Zealand and Bangladesh, and will play their matches in Pallekele on September 23 and 25, respectively. Pallekele will also host the New Zealand-Bangladesh match on September 21.

Interestingly, if things go according to pre-tournament seedings then arch-rivals India and Pakistan will lock horns in a Super Eight match in Colombo on September 30.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Eights round, which will also be contested in two pools.

The first two in each pool will advance to the semi-finals.

Apart from announcing the schedule of the tournament, the ICC also unveiled the logo of the event, named “Modern Spin”.

Meanwhile, the group stages of the women’s tournament, to be held alongside the men’s event, will take place in Galle where host Sri Lanka will take on one of the tournament qualifiers on September 26, the first day of women’s matches.

On the same date, last year’s losing finalist New Zealand will meet the West Indies.

Australian eves will start their push for back-to-back trophies against India on September 27, the same day which will see 2009 winner England launch its campaign against the other qualifier.

A total of 42 matches, including 27 men’s and 15 women’s games, will be played over 20 days at four venues -? R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Pallekele, Hambantota and Galle, with R Premadasa Stadium hosting the final on October 7.

“The ICC World Twenty20 is now a marquee event in T20 cricket where nations challenge each other for the most coveted title in the shortest format of the game,” ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

“The previous editions in South Africa, England and the West Indies have smartly established the ICC World Twenty20 as a major global event that is not only exciting and entertaining but embraces both men’s and women’s cricket.

“Following the legacies and success of the recent ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, I am confident that the hosts, Sri Lanka, will deliver a world class event.

“I am happy that the men’s and women’s semi-finals and finals will once again be played on the same days at the same venues,” he added.

Apart from the 10 Test playing nations, the tournament will also include two teams qualifying from the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2012, which will be staged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from March 13-24 next year.

The ICC statement also said that the tickets of the event will be available for sale from March 1 next year.(PTI)