The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and International Cricket Council (ICC) jointly announced the much-awaited schedule of the ODI World Cup and the World Cup warm-up matches to be played in India later this year.
The tournament is set to take place from October 5 to November 19 with the opening game between the finalists of the last edition – England and New Zealand at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
The same venue is scheduled to host the grand final of the tournament on November 19. The semi-finals, meanwhile, will be played in Mumbai and Kolkata, at the Wankhede Stadium and Eden Gardens, respectively. Hosts India will start their campaign against five-time champions Australia at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on October 8.
Apart from Ahmedabad, nine other venues – Hyderabad, Dharamsala, Delhi, Chennai, Lucknow, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata will host several matches during the mega event. Hyderabad, meanwhile, will not host any India game.
Some of the top stadiums in the country missed out on hosting ODI World Cup matches, with the biggest miss being the PCA Stadium in Mohali.
The venue had hosted the semifinals between India and Pakistan in 2011, the last time India hosted the event. There was hope that Mohali would at least get a warm-up match, but the ICC soon confirmed the World Cup 2023 practice games fixtures and it was confirmed the iconic stadium would not feature in the tournament in any capacity.
The warm-up matches will help the teams get acclimatised to the conditions in the country and then compete for the ultimate trophy eventually. According to the World Cup warm-up schedule, a total of 10 matches will take place between the participants from September 29 to October 3.
ODI World Cup 2023 warm-up matches schedule:
|29/09/2023||Hyderabad||New Zealand vs Pakistan|
|29/09/2023||Thiruvananthapuram||South Africa vs Afghanistan|
|29/03/2023||Guwahati||Bangaldesh vs Qualifier|
|30/09/2023||Guwahati||India vs England|
|30/09/2023||Thiruvananthapuram||Australia vs Qualifier|
|02/10/2023||Guwahati||Bangladesh vs England|
|02/10/2023||Thiruvananthapuram||South Africa vs New Zealand|
|03/10/2023||Hyderabad||Australia vs Pakistan|
|03/10/2023||Guwahati||Afghanistan vs Qualifier|
|03/10/2023||Thiruvananthapuram||India vs Qualifier|
New Zealand might not have their skipper Kane Williamson for the entire World Cup but they always punch above their weight in the ICC events. These warm-up matches will certainly help them in order to get their combinations right before the main tournament. The Black Caps have two warm-up matches against strong teams that will keep them in good stead.
New Zealand will first face Babar Azam-led Pakistan on September 29 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad. Their second and final warm-up match is against South Africa at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on October 2. After this match, they will have to travel to Ahmedabad to feature in the opening match of the World Cup on October 5 against defending champions England.
England are certainly one of the top contenders to win the ODI World Cup in India. They have been playing aggressive cricket across all formats of the game and that has made them the favourites to win the tournament. England will face hosts India and Bangladesh according to World Cup warm-up schedule on September 30 and October 2 respectively. Both of their warm-up matches will be played at the Assam Cricket Association Stadium in Guwahati.
Pakistan haven’t yet confirmed if they will actually travel to India for the World Cup. But if the World Cup warm-up schedule is taken into consideration, they will play their warm-up matches against New Zealand and Australia on September 29 and October 3.
South Africa have gone through a lot of changes since the last World Cup took place. Nevertheless, they have some of the top-class players in their line-up and will be challenged by Afghanistan and New Zealand. Their two warm-up matches are scheduled to take place on September 29 and October 2, respectively in Thiruvananthapuram. They will then have to travel to Delhi to face Sri Lanka in their opening game of the World Cup on October 7.
Australia will start their World Cup campaign against hosts India on October 8 in Chennai. But before that, they will be facing Pakistan and one of the teams that made it through the qualifiers. According to the World Cup warm-up schedule, the two matches will be played on September 30 and October 3 in Thiruvananthapuram and Hyderabad respectively.
Compared to 2019, Afghanistan have certainly become a formidable unit in the ODI format. They have conditions in their favour in India, having spent a lot of time practising in the country. The World Cup warm-up schedule also gives them a good chance to be in good shape with matches against South Africa and one of the qualifying teams. The two teams that qualified teams for World Cup are Sri Lanka and the Netherlands but according the to schedule, it is not yet confirmed who will play whom at the moment. They play South Africa on September 29 at Thiruvananthapuram and a Qualifier in Guwahati on October 3.
Bangladesh experienced a lot of turbulence in their cricket recently with Tamim Iqbal retiring and making a U-turn within 24 hours recently. Nevertheless, even the Tigers are a force to reckon with in the 50-over format. They will be facing either Sri Lanka or the Netherlands and England in their two warm-up matches in the lead-up to the World Cup. Guwahati will host both their warm-up matches on September 29 and October 2, respectively.
Hosts India will be looking to end their ICC trophy drought after 12 years finally in the ODI World Cup later this year. India will be playing their first World Cup game against Australia on October 8 in Chennai. Their two warm-up games are scheduled against England and one of the qualifying teams on September 30 and October 3 respectively in Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram