The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be staged in Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29, and India will begin its title defence against traditional rivals Pakistan in Adelaide on February 15, the International Cricket Council announced on Tuesday.
India, which won the 2011 event when it defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the final in Mumbai, will complete its group fixtures against Zimbabwe at Eden Park, Auckland, on March 14.
In the group, India will also play South Africa (in Melbourne on February 22), Qualifier 4 (in Perth on February 28), West Indies (in Perth on March 6) and Ireland* (in Hamilton on March 10).
Looking ahead to the tournament, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: “It only seems like yesterday that we won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in front of a passionate and supportive home crowd.
“World Cup is a very special event for every cricketer because it only takes place every four years. Having tasted success in Mumbai in 2011, we’ll be working very hard to retain it.
“I’m keenly looking forward to the tournament and confident that we’ll do well. Our recent victory in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 has provided the team with a lot of confidence, and I am sure this experience will help us in our preparations for the World Cup in 2015.”
The tournament opens on February 14 with co-hosts Australia and New Zealand playing their first matches on the opening day of the tournament in front of their home crowds, while the Melbourne Cricket Ground will host the final on March 29.
New Zealand will square off against 1996 champion Sri Lanka in the tournament opener in Christchurch, while later on the same day, under the Melbourne Cricket Ground floodlights, four-time former champion Australia will go head-to-head with arch rival England.
New Zealand will also host Australia when the two neighbouring countries lock horns in Auckland on March 28.
A total of 49 matches will be played in the 44-day tournament across 14 venues in the two countries. Australia will stage 26 matches in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, whilst the 23 matches in New Zealand will be held in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington.
The 14 sides (10 Full Members and four qualifiers), as per their rankings on the Reliance ICC ODI Rankings table on 31 December 2012, have been divided into two pools:
Another key feature of the fixture was -- Melbourne won the right to hold the World Cup final again after 23 years. Sydney and Auckland will host semi-finals, just like the 1992 World Cup.
Pools (Based on teams’ rankings on the Reliance ICC ODI Rankings as on 31 December 2012):
Sat Feb 14: Sri Lanka v New Zealand , Hagley Oval, Christchurch (d); England v Australia , Melbourne Cricket Ground (d/n)
Sun Feb 15: South Africa v Zimbabwe, Seddon Park, Hamilton (d/n); India v Pakistan, Adelaide Oval (d/n)
Mon Feb 16: West Indies v Ireland, Saxton Oval, Nelson (d)
Tues Feb 17: New Zealand v Qualifier 3, University Oval, Dunedin (d)
Wed Feb 18: Bangladesh v Qualifier 2, Manuka Oval, Canberra (d/n)
Thurs Feb 19: Zimbabwe v Qualifier 4, Saxton Oval, Nelson (d)
Fri Feb 20: England v New Zealand, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington (d/n)
Sat Feb 21: Pakistan v West Indies, Hagley Oval, Christchurch (d); Australia v Bangladesh, Gabba, Brisbane (d/n)
Sun Feb 22: Sri Lanka v Qualifier 2, University Oval, Dunedin (d); South Africa v India, MCG, Melbourne (d/n)
Mon Feb 23: England v Qualifier 3, Hagley Oval, Christchurch (d)
Tues Feb 24: West Indies v Zimbabwe, Manuka Oval, Canberra (d/n)
Wed Feb 25: Ireland v Qualifier 4, Gabba, Brisbane (d/n)
Thurs Feb 26: Qualifier 2 v Qualifier 3, University Oval, Dunedin (d); Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, MCG, Melbourne (d/n)
Fri Feb 27 South Africa v West Indies, SCG, Sydney (d/n)
Sat Feb 28: India v Qualifier 4, WACA, Perth (d/n); Australia v New Zealand, Eden Park, Auckland (d/n)
Sun Mar 1: England v Sri Lanka, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington (d); Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Gabba, Brisbane (d/n)
Mon Mar 2: Rest
Tues Mar 3: South Africa v Ireland, Manuka Oval, Canberra (d/n)
Image: ICC President Alan Isaac announces the pool draws during the official launch of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
Photograph: ICC/Getty Images