Mumbai: In sharing the 2011 ICC World Cup pie, some venues have gotten luckier than the rest. The Maximum City’s Wankhede Stadium is currently getting an expensive facelift to host the prestigious final of the 2011 ICC World Cup on April 2. Another cracker of a contest that the stadium will be hosting is a Group B match between England and West Indies on March 17.
However, New Zealand and Canada, in a Group A league match, will get the honour of playing the very first match at the newly-renovated stadium on March 11.
Mohali, which is one of the finest venues in the world, gets to host the second semi-final on March 30, besides two other matches. On the other hand, Ahmedabad gets to host the second quarter-final on March 24, besides Zimbabwe’s two matches against Australia and New Zealand.
In all, India’s eight venues get to host 29 matches, including the final, a semi-final and a quarter-final. Sri Lanka will host 12 matches, including a semi-final and a quarter-final and Bangladesh will get eight games, including two quarter-finals and the opening ceremony.
Interestingly, of all the eight venues in India, Chennai has walked away with the highest number of top-notch matches. Of the four matches — maximum number allotted to any Indian venue — Chennai has got three blockbuster games.
Though it opens its World Cup campaign with a Group A match between New Zealand and Kenya on February 20, it goes on to host a match between two top teams of Group B — South Africa and England on March 6, which is incidentally a Sunday — a massive money spinning prospect.
It then goes on to host a match between top two contenders from Group A — New Zealand and Sri Lanka on March 18. A day later, again on a Sunday, Chennai gets to host a Group B India-West Indies encounter.
Nagpur, where India recently scored an emphatic victory over Australia, gets to showcase two big matches out of the four allotted to it. It hosts Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand on Feb 25 and follows it with a prized Group B encounter between India and South Africa on March 12 — a weekend.
Kolkata has also been fortunate enough to bag a marquee match between India and England, that too on a Sunday on Feb 27. Delhi is another venue that has got an interesting Group B encounter between South Africa and West Indies, which is scheduled for Feb 24. It also gets to host an India encounter against The Netherlands on March 9.
Besides Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur, Bangalore also gets to host four league matches.
India open their World Cup campaign against Bangladesh on Feb 19 in Dhaka. Out of the six league matches, this is the only away game for India. Of the three big encounters during the league stage, India will play West Indies in Chennai on March 20, England in Kolkata on Feb 27 and South Africa in Nagpur on Mar 12. In two more league matches, India will play Ireland in Bangalore on March 6 and Holland in Delhi on March 9.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka will host 12 matches at three venues, including the first semi-final on March 29 and the third quarter-final on March 25.
Bangladesh, the third hosting nation, will get the honour of hosting the inaugural ceremony and two quarter-finals and six league matches. Incidentally, the Bangladesh team gets to play all its league matches at home grounds.
Group A: Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya
Group B: India, South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland and Holland