ICC World Cup 2015 launched: India and Pakistan grouped together

MUMBAI: Co-hosts of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Australia and New Zealand, have been drawn in the same group for the tournament, while title-holders India will face off against arch rival Pakistan, it was announced on Tuesday.


The first match of the prestigious one-day tournament will be held in Christchurch, the New Zealand city devastated by an earthquake in 2011, when the locals take on Sri Lanka on 14 February.


The day-night final match will be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 29 March.


Australia and New Zealand are grouped with England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and two qualifiers.


Title-holders India are pooled with Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and one other qualifying team.


The top four sides from each group will move on to the knockout stage.


49 matches will be played in 14 venues across the two host nations, with Australia staging 26 games at grounds in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.


New Zealand will host 23 games in seven cities, including Christchurch where international cricket is set to return for the first time since the 6.3-magnitude quake which killed 185 people in 2011.


Other New Zealand cities to host games are Auckland, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington.


Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who launched the tournament in Melbourne, said the contest would likely be watched by a global television audience of one billion.


Pool A


England, Australia (co-host), Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand (co-host), Qualifier 2 (TBD), Qualifier 3 (TBD)


Pool B


South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Qualifier 1 (Ireland), Qualifier 4 (TBD)

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