Melbourne [Australia], January 21 (ANI): The schedule for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 was announced on Friday. The Men in Blue will be locking horns against Pakistan in their first match of the tournament on October 23 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The Men's T20 World Cup 2022 is slated to be held in Australia between October 16- November 13 and it will be played across seven venues -- Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Geelong, Hobart and Perth.
A total of 45 matches will be played across Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, ensuring the same national footprint as the postponed 2020 event.
In the First Round, 2014 champions Sri Lanka and Namibia will play the opening match of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 at Kardinia Park, Geelong on Sunday, October 16. They'll be joined by two qualifiers in Group A. Two-time champions West Indies will also start in the First Round, joined in Group B by Scotland, and two qualifiers in Hobart.
In the Super 12, hosts Australia are in Group 1 with world number one England, New Zealand, Afghanistan plus the winner of Group A and the runner-up in Group B from the First Round. Group 2 features India, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, plus the winner of Group B and runner-up in Group A from the First Round.
Hosts and defending champions, Australia will play New Zealand in the opening match of the Super 12 at the SCG on Saturday, October 22 in a re-match of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 Final. The Black Caps will also face England at The Gabba on 1 November in a re-match of their epic semi-final encounter at the 2021 event.
Two of world cricket's biggest rivals will go head-to-head at the MCG, with India taking on Pakistan on Sunday, October 23. It will be the first World Cup clash between the two nations at the MCG and comes before two more fierce rivals, Australia and England, meet at the same venue on Friday, October 28.
The state-of-the-art Perth Stadium will host a huge Sunday double-header on Sunday, October 30 with South Africa taking on India in the evening match. Earlier in the day, Pakistan will be in action against the runners-up from Group A.
The seven venues to host matches are Adelaide Oval, The Gabba, Kardinia Park Stadium, Bellerive Oval, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Perth Stadium and Sydney Cricket Ground.
The semi-finals will be played at the SCG and Adelaide Oval on November 9 and 10, respectively. The final will be contested under lights at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 13.
Defending champions Australia and runners-up New Zealand plus England, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Afghanistan and Bangladesh as the next highest-ranked teams have gained direct entry into the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022.
Sri Lanka, West Indies, Scotland, and Namibia have qualified but will start the event in the First Round. The four remaining spots at Australia 2022 will be filled via the ongoing qualification pathway, culminating in two global qualifying tournaments in early 2022.
International Cricket Council CEO Geoff Allardice in an official release said: "T20 is the global growth format for cricket and the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 will play a huge role in inspiring our next generation of players and fans as the world's best players descend on Australia and showcase the very best of our sport. The release of fixtures is always a great moment in the delivery of a World Cup as fans start to get excited about opening games, head to heads, and knock-out stages.""This schedule offers so much, from the 2014 Champions Sri Lanka opening the event, to our defending champions Australia starting with a rematch of the 2021 Men's T20 World Cup Final against New Zealand and of course India taking on Pakistan at the MCG. We know that hundreds of thousands of passionate cricket fans will turn out to support every single one of the 16 teams across all seven of our host cities which is what makes it so special for the players. You only need to cast your mind back to the brilliant ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia to know that this is going to be a wonderful event for players and fans alike," he added. (ANI)