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Wednesday February 21, 2024

India-Pakistan set for Oct 24 clash in T20 WC

By Agencies
August 18, 2021

NEW DELHI: Fierce rivals India and Pakistan will clash on October 24 at this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, the International Cricket Council said Tuesday as the delayed tournament’s fixtures were announced.

The 16-nation tournament — to be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman — will begin on October 17 with Oman taking on Papua New Guinea in the opener followed by an evening match between Scotland and Bangladesh in round one of the competition.

The top two teams from both group A and group B in the first round will advance to the so-called Super 12 stage, where the game’s heavyweight nations join the tournament. Australia will play South Africa and holders West Indies meet England in Group 1 matches on October 23 at the start of the Super 12, which will eventually decide the four semi-finalists.

But the spotlight will be on the Group 2 India-Pakistan contest in Dubai, with the two rival nations only meeting in multi-nation events due to tensions over Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory. The two Asian giants last met at the 2019 50-over World Cup in England, where India won — maintaining their unbeaten record against Pakistan in World Cups.

England, the 2009 winners, will take on Australia in another key clash on October 30 in Dubai. The tournament, which will be hosted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was originally meant to take place in Australia at the end of 2020.

But it was called off as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe. It was meant to be held in India this year, but was moved to the United Arab Emirates and Oman after the South Asian giant was hit by a massive surge in virus cases in April and May.

The matches will be held across four venues — the Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground. The final will be in Dubai on November 14 with a reserve day kept aside on November 15.

“Pakistan captain Babar Azam said: “The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 schedule announcement brings us one step forward in our preparations for this much-awaited global tournament. We will utilise the build-up period by playing in home series against New Zealand and England and will not only aim to fine-tune our final outlook but also win as many matches as possible so that we can carry that winning form and momentum to the United Arab Emirates.

“For Pakistan, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 is like a home event as the UAE has been our venue for more than a decade. We have not only nurtured our talent and developed our side in the UAE but have also beaten the top sides in these conditions to peak to number-one in the ICC T20I Team Rankings.

“All the players are excited, motivated and enthusiastic and view this tournament as an opportunity to showcase our prowess and re-establish our superiority in the shortest format of the game in conditions that suit us best.

“From a personal point of view, this will be my first ICC Major Event as Pakistan captain. I tasted success in 2017 and suffered disappointment in 2019 when we missed out on a semi-final spot by a fraction of a point despite beating both the finalists in league matches. I remain focused in inspiring my side with my performances so that we can become the first Pakistan side to win an ICC Major Event in Asia.

England captain Eoin Morgan said: “The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is going to be brilliant. The standard of T20 cricket around the world is improving exponentially and every nation has a chance of becoming World Champions.

It should be one of the closest and most competitive world tournaments to date and we can’t wait to get started.”