In­dia to take on Pak in their open­ing World Cup match

The Political and Business Daily - - RECREATION -

DE­FEND­ING cham­pi­ons In­dia will take on arch­foes Pak­istan in their open­ing match of the 2015 ICC cricket World Cup to be jointly hosted by Aus­tralia and New Zealand from Fe­bru­ary 14 to March 29.

Placed in the rel­a­tively easy Group B, In­dia, who won the 2011 event af­ter de­feat­ing Sri Lanka in the fi­nal in Mum­bai, will start their ti­tle de­fence on Fe­bru­ary 15.

In­ci­den­tally, In­dia have never lost to Pak­istan in any of their five World Cup clashes so far.

The In­di­ans will com­plete their group fix­tures against Zimbabwe at Eden Park, Auck­land (on March 14). In­dia will also play South Africa (in Melbourne on Fe­bru­ary 22), Qual­i­fier 4 (in Perth on Fe­bru­ary 28), West Indies (in Perth on March 6) and Ire­land (in Hamil­ton on March 10).

"It only seems like yes­ter­day that we won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in front of a pas­sion­ate and sup­port­ive home crowd," said In­dia cap­tain Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni, who guided the team to the 2011 tri­umph.

"World Cup is a very spe­cial event for ev­ery crick­eter be­cause it only takes place ev­ery four years. Hav­ing tasted suc­cess in Mum­bai in 2011, we'll be work­ing very hard to re­tain it.

"I'm keenly look­ing for­ward to the tour­na­ment and con­fi­dent that we'll do well. Our re­cent vic­tory in the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy 2013 has pro­vided the team with a lot of con­fi­dence, and I am sure this ex­pe­ri­ence will help us in our prepa­ra­tions for the World Cup in 2015," he added.

The tour­na­ment will open on Fe­bru­ary 14 with co-hosts Aus­tralia and New Zealand play­ing their first matches in front of their home crowds. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) will host the fi­nal on March 29.

New Zealand will square off against 1996 cham­pi­ons Sri Lanka in the tour­na­ment opener in Christchurch and later on the same day, un­der the MCG flood­lights, four­time for­mer cham­pi­ons Aus­tralia will go head-to­head with arch-ri­vals Eng­land.

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