2023 World Cup: India begin hunt for elusive ICC trophy against Australia

Ahmedabad to host final; Mumbai & Kolkata semi-finals

ICC World Cup (photo courtesy ICC)
ICC World Cup (photo courtesy ICC)
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Gautam Bhattacharyya

The buzz around the ICC 50-overs World Cup, to be held in India again after 12 years, reached a notch higher as it started a 100-day countdown with the much-anticipated release of fixtures in Mumbai on Monday. No prizes for guessing that Ahmedabad, now the de facto headquarters of Indian cricket with the highest capacity stadium, will be hosting the final while Mumbai and Kolkata will stage the two semi-finals.

The fleeting images of M.S. Dhoni & Co holding the glittering trophy aloft on a magical April night at the Wankhede have become a part of cricketing folklore now as the Men in Blue had been enduring a drought of an ICC trophy for exactly 10 years now. It will be fascinating to see who will be the last man standing at the Narendra Modi Stadium on November 19, but the air will be thick with anticipation for an Indian encore.

The last time Dhoni’s men did it, they ended a 28-year drought since the 1983 coup and as history has often shown – enjoying the host nation’s status is no guarantee for glory. Barely four years after the coup of Kapil’s Devils, India was edged out by England in the semi-finals while in 1996, the ambitions of Azharuddin’s men ended in a nightmare against eventual champions Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens.

CWC 2023 Fixtures (photo courtesy BCCI.tv)
CWC 2023 Fixtures (photo courtesy BCCI.tv)
BCCI.tv

Rohit Sharma’s men will open their campaign against Australia, the five-time champions, in Chennai on October 8. “It’s going to be a great experience playing in the World Cup at home. India won here 12 years ago, and I know fans nationwide can’t wait for us to take the field this time,’’ Rohit said in a statement.

“This World Cup is going to be very competitive as the game has become faster and teams are playing more positively than ever before. All this augurs well for fans worldwide, promising them many thrilling moments,’’ he said.

There was no twist in the tale with Ahmedabad getting some of the plum matches apart from the final, the marquee clash between India and Pakistan on October 15 taking the cake. It’s no secret really that Pakistan Cricket Board’s request to swap the match from Ahmedabad to Eden Gardens in Kolkata (after the draft fixtures were submitted) were turned down by both ICC and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), respectively.

Fictures 5 October-19 November 2023 (photo courtesy BCCI.tv)
Fictures 5 October-19 November 2023 (photo courtesy BCCI.tv)
BCCI.tv

Mumbai and Kolkata, two of the historic venues, will now host the two semi-finals on November 15 & 16, respectively. There is however an interesting rider that if India and Pakistan qualify for the second semi-final, then Eden will play the hosts. Mumbai, however, will host India if they face any other team.

The 10 venues in the fray are Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune. Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram will join Hyderabad in hosting the practice games.

Eight teams have qualified for the 46-day event through the Cricket World Cup Super League while the final two spots will be taken by the finalists of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier taking place in Zimbabwe. The tournament retains the round-robin format of last time with all teams playing against each other for a total of 45 league matches.

Team India holding the 2011 World Cup (photo courtesy ICC)
Team India holding the 2011 World Cup (photo courtesy ICC)
ICC

Geoff Allardice, the ICC Chief Executive, said: “Hundreds of millions of fans around the world will be part of what we hope will be the greatest ever Men’s Cricket World Cup and we know in India the teams will enjoy a unique electric atmosphere concluding with the winners lifting the trophy in the biggest cricket stadium in the world in Ahmedabad.”

“The fervour and passion for cricket in India is unique. I am sure fans both here and abroad would be looking forward to the tournament’s return to India for the first time since 2011, when our team became the first to lift the trophy on home soil,’’ remarked Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary.

The ICC had, on Monday, launched their customary Trophy Tour in a spectacular style, launching 120,000 feet above the earth, before landing at Narendra Modi Stadium.


The countdown for the showpiece has certainly begun!

Schedule

(Venue-wise break-up)

Ahmedabad

5 October – England vs New Zealand
15 October – India vs Pakistan
4 November – England vs Australia
10 November – South Africa vs Afghanistan
19 November – Final

Hyderabad

6 October – Pakistan vs Qualifier 1
9 October – New Zealand vs Qualifier 1
12 October – Pakistan vs Qualifier 2

Dharamsala

7 October – Bangladesh vs Afghanistan (Day Game)
10 October – England vs Bangladesh
16 October – South Africa vs Qualifier 1
22 October – India vs New Zealand
29 October – Australia vs New Zealand (Day Game)

Delhi

7 October – South Africa vs Qualifier 2
11 October – India vs Afghanistan
15 October – England vs Afghanistan
25 October – Australia vs Qualifier 1
6 November – Bangladesh vs Qualifier 2

Chennai

8 October – India vs Australia
14 October – New Zealand vs Bangladesh (Day Game)
18 October – New Zealand vs Afghanistan
23 October – Pakistan vs Afghanistan
27 October – Pakistan vs South Africa

Lucknow

13 October – Australia vs South Africa
17 October – Australia vs Qualifier 2
21 October – Qualifier 1 vs Qualifier 2 (Day Game)
29 October – India vs England
3 November – Qualifier 1 vs Afghanistan


Pune

19 October – India vs Bangladesh
30 October – Afghanistan vs Qualifier 2
1 November – New Zealand vs South Africa
8 November – England vs Qualifier 1
12 November – Australia vs Bangladesh (Day Game)

Bengaluru

20 October – Australia vs Pakistan
26 October – England vs Qualifier 2
4 November – New Zealand vs Pakistan (Day Game)
9 November – New Zealand vs Qualifier 2
11 November – India vs Qualifier 1

Mumbai

21 October – England vs South Africa
24 October – South Africa vs Bangladesh
2 November – India vs Qualifier 2
7 November – Australia vs Afghanistan
15 November – Semifinal 1

Kolkata

28 October – Qualifier 1 vs Bangladesh
31 October – Pakistan vs Bangladesh
5 November – India vs South Africa
12 November – England vs Pakistan
16 November – Semifinal 2

Note: If the West Indies qualify, they will be Q1 irrespective of where they finish in the Qualifiers.

If Sri Lanka qualifies, they will be Q2 irrespective of where they finish in the Qualifiers

If Pakistan qualifies for the semi-finals, they will play in Kolkata

If India qualifies for the semifinals, they will play in Mumbai unless playing against Pakistan, in which case they will play in Kolkata.

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