Ahmedabad stadium to host India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup clash

The rivals will face off at the 132,000-seat Narendra Modi Stadium, which will also host the opening and final games.

India's Virat Kohli plays a shot during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne on October 23, 2022.
India and Pakistan will play each other for the eighth time in the 50-over ICC World Cup tournament [File: Martin Keep/AFP]

The much-awaited game between India and Pakistan at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 has been confirmed for October 15 at Ahmedabad, the site of the tournament’s opening and final games.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) released the schedule on Tuesday for the 50-over format tournament that begins on October 5.

The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India will host five games, including the opener between reigning champions England and New Zealand, and the championship decider on November 19.

“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,” ICC Chief Executive Officer Geoff Allardice said in a statement.

“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.”

An India fan holds up a banner during the match
The 2019 50-over World Cup clash between India and Pakistan drew 273 million viewers [File: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters]

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said their team would require clearance from Islamabad to play. “We are liaising with our government for guidance,” PCB Communications Director Sami Ul Hasan said.

“This position is consistent to what we had told the ICC a couple of weeks ago when they shared with us the draft schedule and sought our feedback,” he said.

Ten teams will feature in the 46-day tournament which is being held across 10 cities. Besides Ahmedabad, the cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune will host the games.

All venues will host five matches each except for Hyderabad, which will host three including two of Pakistan’s league games.

The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals, which will be played at Mumbai and Kolkata.

The ICC said Pakistan will not play any games in Mumbai. If Pakistan reaches the semifinals, it will play in Kolkata. If India qualifies for the last four it will play its semifinal in Mumbai, unless the match is against Pakistan.

India-Pakistan rivalry

The schedule was announced after weeks of delay due to Pakistan’s earlier refusal to travel to India, but a compromise was reached when Pakistan agreed to host a hybrid-model Asia Cup in September.

In recent years, India and Pakistan have only played against each other in international tournaments – usually at neutral venues – due to long-standing political tensions, most recently during the T20 World Cup in Australia last year.

India and Pakistan have not met on either side’s soil in a bilateral series since 2012. They have also not played a Test against each other since 2007, instead meeting only in the shorter versions of the game.

The two sides will play each other for the eighth time in a 50-over ICC World Cup tournament, with the last meeting between the two sides in 2019 – which India won by 89 runs.

Eight teams have directly qualified for the World Cup: India, Pakistan, England, New Zealand, Australia, Afghanistan, South Africa and Bangladesh.

Two more teams will be joining them from the qualifiers that are under way in Zimbabwe. The tournament has retained the round-robin format with all teams playing against each other. All but six of the 48 games will be day-nighters.

Source: News Agencies