India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening match of the ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup on October 24. (More Cricket News)
The T20 World Cup will be held between October 17 and November 14 in Oman and UAE.
“All the players are excited, motivated and enthusiastic, and view this tournament as an opportunity to showcase our prowess and re-establish our superiority in the shortest format of the game in conditions that suit us best” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said.
In Group 2, New Zealand will start their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan in a Super 12s match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on October 26 and play India three days later at the Dubai International Stadium, as the International Cricket Council unveiled the schedule today.
Apart from former champions India and Pakistan, New Zealand also have to contend with Afghanistan and two qualifiers from Round 1 in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage. Australia, England, South Africa and the West Indies along with two qualifiers form Group 1.
Sri Lanka, champions in 2014, Bangladesh, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands Oman, PNG and Scotland, feature in Round 1 of the 16-team tournament, being hosted by India in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.
Abu Dhabi will be the venue of the first semi-final on November 10 while the other semi-final (November 11) and the final (November 14) will be played in Dubai.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said, “After so much disruption to world sport due to the pandemic it feels like there’s a lot of excitement about this T20 World Cup. It’s always a highly competitive event with every team possessing match-winners who can turn games quickly.”
West Indies captain Kieron Pollard promised exciting cricket, the type that helped them defeat England in a pulsating final at the Eden Gardens in 2016 with Carlos Brathwaite blasting four consecutive sixes in the last over to turn the tables on 2010 champions England.
“We are excited to begin defence of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title later this year. T20 cricket is dynamic and the international scene is highly competitive, with players constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are expecting a spectacular event in the United Arab Emirates and Oman,” Kieron Pollard said, who will also feature in Indian Premier League for Mumbai Indians prior to the T20 World Cup.
“The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 schedule announcement brings us one step forward in our preparations for this much-awaited global tournament. We will utilise the build-up period by playing in home series against New Zealand and England and will not only aim to fine-tune our final outlook but also win as many matches as possible so that we can carry that winning form and momentum to the United Arab Emirates,” Babar Azam added.
On the high-octane India-Pakistan clash, former India opener Gautam Gambhir said, "In 2007 as well, when we went out to win the World Cup, our first game was against Scotland, which was washed out, but then practically, our first game was against Pakistan. And that is exactly what I mentioned it is important to play Pakistan in the early stages of the tournament, because what happens is – you don’t want to keep thinking about Pakistan, you can finish it off initially and concentrate on the entire tournament, and it is exactly the same for the fans and the country as well."
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands and Namibia
Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman
(Top two teams from each group advance to Super 12s)
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1 and B2.
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, A2 and B1.
(Top two teams from each group advance to the semi-finals)
17 Oct: Oman v Papua New Guinea, Muscat ; Bangladesh v Scotland, Muscat
18 Oct: Ireland v Netherlands, Abu Dhabi ; Sri Lanka v Namibia, Abu Dhabi
19 Oct: Scotland v PNG, Muscat; Oman v Bangladesh, Muscat
20 Oct: Namibia v Netherlands, Abu Dhabi; Sri Lanka v Ireland, Abu Dhabi
21 Oct: Bangladesh v Papua New Guinea, Muscat; Oman v Scotland, Muscat
22 Oct: Namibia v Ireland, Sharjah; Sri Lanka v Netherlands, Sharjah
23 Oct: Australia v South Africa, Abu Dhabi; England v West Indies, Dubai
24 Oct: A1 v B2, Sharjah; India v Pakistan, Dubai
25 Oct: Afghanistan v B1, Sharjah
26 Oct: South Africa v West Indies, Dubai; Pakistan v New Zealand, Sharjah
27 Oct: England v B2, Abu Dhabi ; B1 v A2, Abu Dhabi
28 Oct: Australia v A1, Dubai
29 Oct: West Indies v B2, Sharjah; Pakistan v Afghanistan, Dubai
30 Oct: South Africa v A1, Sharjah; Australia v England, Dubai
31 Oct: Afghanistan v A2, Abu Dhabi; India v New Zealand, Dubai
1 Nov: England v A1, Sharjah
2 Nov: South Africa v B2, Abu Dhabi; Pakistan v A2, Abu Dhabi
3 Nov: New Zealand v B1, Dubai; India v Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi
4 Nov: Australia v B2, Dubai; West indies v A1, Abu Dhabi
5 Nov: New Zealand v A2, Sharjah; India v B1, Dubai
6 Nov: Australia v West Indies, Abu Dhabi; England v South Africa, Sharjah
7 Nov: New Zealand v Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi; Pakistan v B1, Sharjah
8 Nov: India v A2, Dubai
10 Nov: Semi-final 1 (A1 v B2), Abu Dhabi
11 Nov: Semi-final 2 (B1 v A2), Dubai
14 Nov: Final, Dubai