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Dharamsala to Host Pak-Indo World Twenty20 Showdown

by AFP
Indranil Mukherjee—AFP

File Photo. Indranil Mukherjee—AFP

Rival teams will face off in group stages on March 19.

The sleepy hill-station of Dharamsala will host rivals India and Pakistan at next year’s cricket World Twenty20, while the final will be staged at Kolkata’s historic Eden Gardens, organizers said Friday.

The bitter foes will meet in the group stages on March 19 in remote Dharamsala in the Himalayan foothills whose stadium houses just 23,000 fans, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced in Mumbai. World cricket’s governing body said eight venues across India would host the showpiece event, which runs from March 8 to April 3, with Mumbai and New Delhi staging the semi-finals and Kolkata the final.

“The ICC and BCCI are fully committed and will work together to make this a memorable event,” said ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar, who also heads the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

India versus Pakistan is set to be one of the most anticipated clashes of the tournament but fans could find tickets hard to come by, with organizers overlooking larger stadiums in favor of Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama.

Eden Gardens, in comparison, can accommodate more than 60,000 spectators while Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, which is likely to have been ruled out because of security reasons, has a capacity of around 35,000. “We, as hosts, are fully prepared to organize one of the most entertaining spectacles in world cricket,” said BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, who is also president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, which runs the Dharamsala stadium.

India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia are placed in Group 2 of the second round Super 10s stage, the ICC announced. South Africa, England, West Indies and Sri Lanka are in Group 1. Two qualifying teams will join the Super 10s stage after the first round.

The second round gets under way with hosts India taking on New Zealand on March 15 in Nagpur, in the western state of Maharashtra. Defending champions Sri Lanka begin the defense of their title against a qualifying team on March 17 in Kolkata.

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