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HomeSportsIndia begin campaign against Australia in Chennai on October 8- The Uncut

India begin campaign against Australia in Chennai on October 8- The Uncut

The Uncut

BENGALURU: The much-awaited 2023 ICC Men’s ODI World Cup schedule is finally out with the 2019 edition finalists England and New Zealand taking on each other in the opening game of the tournament at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5. Hosts India will begin their quest to end the trophy drought against Australia in Chennai on October 8.

With 100 days to go for the first match, the global cricketing body announced the schedule for the World Cup on Tuesday. The two semifinals are set to be played in Mumbai and Kolkata with the marquee event coming back to Ahmedabad for the finale on November 19. 

While the earlier draft indicated that Chennai would host one semifinal along with Mumbai, owing to the North-East monsoon which will bring a significant amount of rainfall in the latter part of October and early November, the game was moved to Eden Gardens in Kolkata in the last minute. In addition to the ten venues, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram will host the warm-up games from September 29 to October 3. 

The 10-team tournament — the last two slots are to be filled by the top two teams in the ongoing World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe — will follow the same format as that of the 2019 edition. The league stage will be round robin with each team playing against the rest once and the top four will qualify for the semifinals. 

Despite the Pakistan Cricket Board having expressed its wishes to change a few venues including the one against arch-rivals India, the proposed draft remains the same with the two sub-continental giants facing each other in Ahmedabad on October 15. India will play Afghanistan in Delhi (October 11), Bangladesh in Pune (Oct 19), New Zealand in Dharamsala (Oct 22), England in Lucknow (Oct 29), South Africa in Kolkata (Nov 5) and the two qualifying teams in Mumbai (Nov 2) and Bengaluru (Nov 11).

Barring the match against India, Pakistan will largely remain in the southern part of the country, playing two games each in Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Their remaining two clashes, including one against Bangladesh, are to be played in Kolkata. The interesting thing, however, is that if they qualify for the semifinal, they will play in Kolkata irrespective of where they finish. India, should they finish in top-four, will play their semifinal in Mumbai unless they are facing Pakistan which will be in Kolkata.

For far too long the fans and the cricketing fraternity have waited for the schedule — the previous two editions’ fixtures where released much ahead — to plan their travel and watch their favourite teams go about their glory hunt. The wait is finally over. And despite the fact that it is only a ten-team event, the tournament still promises to be an exciting one. 

If one needs any proof, the ongoing qualifiers are example of that. Netherlands and Zimbabwe are making a statement, fighting neck-to-neck with Sri Lanka. West Indies are on the verge of missing their first men’s ODI World Cup. And whichever two teams gets a seat at the table, they are going to run put on a show, giving other teams a run for their money, in what is arguably the pinnacle of white-ball cricket.

46 days. 10 venues. 48 games. Buckle your seatbelts. The countdown begins.

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