Cricket: India, Pakistan set for October 24 T20 World Cup clash

The two South Asian giants last met at 2019 World Cup in England, where India won, maintaining its unbeaten World Cups record against Pakistan.

Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - India v Pakistan
Merchandise for sale during India-Pakistan 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup at Manchester, UK [File: Action Images via Andrew Boyers/Reuters]

Fierce rivals India and Pakistan will meet on October 24 at this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, the International Cricket Council says as the delayed tournament’s fixtures are 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 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.

Defending champions West Indies are in Group 1 along with Australia, 2010 champion England and South Africa. India and Pakistan are joined by New Zealand and Afghanistan in Group 2.

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 claimed by both the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Virat Kohli’s India squad will have a packed schedule leading into the tournament [Glyn Kirk/AFP]

The two South 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 then scheduled to be held in India this year, but was moved to the UAE and Oman after the South Asian nation 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.

A Pakistani fan cheers for her team during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 match between India and Pakistan in England [File: Rui Vieira/AP]

The Super 12 round will run from October 23 to November 8 and the top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals to be played at Abu Dhabi on November 10 and at Dubai on November 11.

The final will be in Dubai on November 14 with a reserve day kept aside on November 15.

Virat Kohli’s India squad will have a packed schedule leading into the tournament.

India’s test squad is playing a series in England now and most players will return for the second half of the Indian Premier League, which is set to resume in the UAE next month after being suspended in May as COVID surged in India.

West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard said his team was excited to begin the defence of the title after a year-long delay in the tournament.

“We can’t wait to get started,” he said.

“West Indian cricketers have always played an exciting brand of cricket and I am sure our fans in the Caribbean and all over the world are highly anticipating seeing us in action.”

Source: News Agencies