India to open 2020 T20 World Cup campaign against South Africa
Will India be favourites heading into the T20 World Cup next year? (AFP Image)

Winners of the inaugural T20 World Cup, India will face South Africa in their first match of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next year. India have been drawn in Pool B, which also features England, Afghanistan, along with Qualifiers 3 and 4. Hosts Australia will take on the current No.1-ranked T20I side Pakistan in the tournament opener.

The Indian women’s cricket team, semi-finalists of last year World T20, will face defending champions Australia in the Women’s T20 World Cup opener. India women have been pooled alongside Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Qualifer 1.

It is to be noted that first time in since the 2011 World Cup, India and Pakistan will not play each other in the group stage of an ICC tournament. It will also mark the first instance when the Women’s T20 World Cup will be a separate event altogether.

Men’s Group A Men’s Group B
Pakistan India
Australia South Africa
West Indies England
New Zealand Afghanistan
Qualifier 1 Qualifier 3
Qualifier 2 Qualifier 4

The T20 Women’s World Cup will begin February 21 and go till March 8, 2000 in Australia, followed by the men’s edition, taking place from October 18 to November 15. Both the finals will be played at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“We’re so excited to be able to let fans all around Australia and the world know when and where their teams will play, so they can start planning now,” ICC T20 World Cup Australia 2020 Local Organising Committee CEO Nick Hockley said.

“World Cups are all about bringing people together. We know that passionate fans of all generations and cultures will travel from near and far to support their teams and that they will receive the warmest of welcomes in our wonderful host cities.”

Women’s Group A Women’s Group B
Australia England
New Zealand West Indies
India South Africa
Sri Lanka Pakistan
Qualifier 1 Qualifier 2

Eight top women’s team, as per their finishing positions in the World T20 in West Indies last year will attain automatic qualification, whereas the remaining two teams will be determined through a qualifying tournament to be held later this year. As per the men’s edition, eight top-ranked teams as per December 31, 2018 have sealed their passage to the ICC tournament and the remaining four will be decided through the first qualifying round in the lead up to the Super 12 stage.

“Whenever we host an event in Australia we know we can guarantee the one billion cricket fans around the world a great show. The world’s best players. Outstanding venues. Noisy, passionate, knowledgeable fans. Exciting cricket. This is the perfect combination for a T20 World Cup and in 2020 we go one step further with two T20 World Cups in one year,” said ICC Chief Executive David Richardson.

“To hold two T20 World Cup finals at the world’s largest cricket stadium in front of 92,000 people with hundreds of millions more watching around the world is a particularly exciting prospect as we look to grow the fans around the world and make 2020 the year of cricket.”

The women’s final will be held on March 8, International Women’s day. The tournament will take place in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth with the SCG hosting both semi-finals on March 5. The most attendance for a women’s fixture across all sport in 90,185, during the 1999 women’s football World Cup between USA and Chile and the MCG will be hoping to better it on the day of the final.