Mumbai, Dec 11 (IANS) Hosts India will clash against traditional rivals Pakistan in World Twenty20 2016 on March 19 at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh while the semi-finals will be played in New Delhi and here, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Friday.
The tournament will be staged across eight venues in India from March 8 to April 3. A total of 58 matches, including 35 men’s matches and 23 women’s matches, will be played during the 27-day tournament.
The final will be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 3. The women’s semi-finals and final will be followed by the men’s knock-out matches.
India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia are clubbed in Group 2 while South Africa, England, the West Indies and defending champions Sri Lanka are in Group 1.
Two qualifying teams will join the Super 10s (two groups of five teams) after the first stage of the tournament, which will be held in Dharamsala and Nagpur between March 8 and 13.
The eight teams competing in the qualifying stage have also been split into two groups. Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Ireland and Oman have been slotted in Group A, while Group B comprises Zimbabwe, Scotland, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.
The top team from Group A will join Group 2 of the Super 10s stage, while the qualifier from Group B will be clubbed in Group 1.
The top two sides from each group of the Super 10s will progress to the semi-finals.
India will take on New Zealand on March 15 in Nagpur in the opening match of the Super 10s stage. They will then face Pakistan on March 19, the qualifying team in the group on March 23 in Bengaluru and Australia in Mohali on March 27.
“India is a country where cricket is a religion and not many places can match the passion for the game like India. I am fully confident that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will deliver an outstanding world cricket event, just like the ICC Cricket World Cups in 1987, 1996 and 2011,” ICC chairman and BCCI president Shashank Manohar said here.
“I am sure stadiums like always will be full here for all the matches. With support of the government and others the tournament will be a success,” Manohar said.
The men’s event will carry a total prize money of $5.6 million — an 86 percent increase from the 2014 tournament — while the total prize money for the women’s event is $400,000 — a 122 percent hike.
ICC chief executive David Richardson named India as favourites to lift the trophy for the second time and first at home.
“As the tournament is happening in India, they are surely the favourites, considering the home conditions. But I will also say that it is an open competition and anyone on a given day can win,” he said.
“The World T20 is an event which puts the world’s best cricketers in the shortest format of the game against each other in a nation versus nation contest. The shortest format provides the perfect vehicle by which the ICC can further globalise the game, providing international exposure and opportunity to our top Associate and Affiliate members,” Richardson said.
“The World T20 event structure is designed to provide highly competitive matches throughout, with eight evenly-matched sides fighting it out in the first round and the best two then getting in the mix with the top eight ranked teams in the Super 10 stage where the intensity and competition will be of the very highest level,” the former South Africa cricketer said.