Windies to start World Cup 2011 against South Africa

MUMBAI, India -- West Indies will come up against South Africa in their opening match of the 2011 International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket World Cup. The ICC made the tournament announcement on Monday, which showed the Windies in Zone B alongside India, England, Bangladesh, Ireland and the Netherlands, the International Cricket Council announced Monday.

Bangladesh and 1983 winners India will go head to head in the opening match of ICC's flagship tournament on February 19 in Dhaka, two days after the same city stages the opening ceremony.

The tournament will be hosted in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The West Indies won the World Cup twice, in 1975 and 1979, under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd.

Defending champions Australia will begin the defence of their title against Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad, India on February 21. The Aussies are in Group A with, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya. The quarter-finals will be played in Dhaka on March 23 and 25, in Colombo on March 24 and in Ahmedabad on March 26 while the two semi-finals will be played in Colombo and Mohali on March 29 and 30. Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium will host the final on April 2.

A total of 49 matches will be played in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with India hosting 29 matches, including the final, a semi-final and a quarter-final, Sri Lanka 12 matches, including a semi-final and a quarter-final, and Bangladesh eight matches, including the opening matches, and two quarter-finals.

During the 43-day event spread over three countries, a total of 13 venues will be used. The 2011 event is a week shorter than the 2007 edition.

Looking ahead to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, ICC Vice-President and Chairman of the Central Organising Committee Sharad Pawar said: “The announcement of the match schedule for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is an exciting development as not only does it allow all our stakeholders to start planning their tours but it will also remind everyone that we are getting closer to the staging of the biggest event in world cricket, where the leading cricketers from all over the globe will battle it out for the top prize in the game.

“The sub-continent offers some great facilities for the cricketers, spectators, sponsors and media, and with some brand new stadia to be built and others to be upgraded, the match schedule will allow the venues to focus on the task at hand to plan and implement their preparations and ensure they are ready to welcome the world to this beautiful, historic and cricket-loving region in 2011.”

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: “This announcement is an important indicator of the excellent progress we are making towards our flagship event which brings together teams from all our Members in nation-versus-nation action. “The match schedule will allow the teams, commercial partners, spectators and media to commence with planning their tours. Preparation of venues and safety and security planning continues and I am confident that the host countries will showcase our great sport with its great spirit in the best possible light.

“The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 will be the ICC's next 50-over tournament after the highly successful ICC Champions Trophy 2009 in South Africa. And with plenty of high-quality matches played since that event concluded last month, I'm convinced that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in the sub-continent will further cement the status of ODIs and once again illustrate one of cricket's greatest strengths – that with Tests and Twenty20 Internationals alongside ODIs, we have three viable, vibrant and successful formats of the game at international level.”