ICC announces major India vs Pakistan plot twist if both qualify for ODI World Cup semi-final
India will be playing at nine venues while Pakistan's campaign is limited to only five venues - Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced the entire schedule for the impending Men’s ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 at an event in Mumbai. Ten teams will feature in what will be the biggest World Cup event ever with the tournament being played across 10 venues between October 5 and November 19. Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium will host the tournament opener and final. The other venues are Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune. Meanwhile, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram will be the venues for practice games along with Hyderabad.
The focus of the schedule announcement of was of course the date and venue for the marquee event - India versus Pakistan - which will be played in Ahmedabad on October 15. The Rohit Sharma-led side will head to the blockbuster match after facing five-time winners Australia in Chennai on October 8 and Afghanistan on October 11 in New Delhi. Pakistan, on the other hand, will open their campaign against the two qualifiers on October 6 and 12 in Hyderabad before taking on their arch-rivals.
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Overall, India will be playing at nine of the 10 venues in the 2023 World Cup while Pakistan's campaign is limited to only five venues - Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. ICC however added a major plot twist pertaining to the venue if India and Pakistan both make the semi-final.
According to the schedule released on Tuesday, Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium will host the first semi-final while the iconic Eden Gardens of Kolkata will stage the second semi-final. But there is a condition applied. With PCB's request to not play any of their World Cup games in Mumbai citing security concerns, ICC and BCCI have both decided that of Babar Azam-led side make the penultimate round, they will play their semi-final game only in Kolkata. And if India qualify for the semis, they will play in Mumbai unless playing against Pakistan, in which case they will play in Kolkata.
ICC also issued two other conditions for the World Cup schedule. If the West Indies qualify, they will be denoted as Qualifier 1 irrespective of where they finish in the Qualifiers tournament. And if Sri Lanka make it through, they will be Qualifier 2 irrespective of where they finish.