Kolkata: Babar Azam, Pakistan’s main batsman and captain in all formats, is looking forward to inspire his team to winning their first major ICC (International Cricket Council) event in Asia - the T20 World Cup in the UAE in October-November. India and Pakistan will resume their traditional rivalry in a marquee Group 2 league game on October 24 in Dubai as the ICC announced the World T20 fixtures on Tuesday.
“The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 schedule announcement brings us one step forward in our preparations for this much-awaited global tournament. We will utilise the build-up period by playing in home series against New Zealand and England and will not only aim to fine-tune our final outlook but also win as many matches as possible so that we can carry that winning form and momentum to the United Arab Emirates,’’ said Azam, currently ranked No.2 batsman in the shortest format of the game.
Pakistan, champions of 2009 edition, and India - winners of the inaugural edition in 2007 and finalists in 2014, also have Afghanistan, New Zealand and two qualifiers from Round 1 to contend with in Group 2 while Group 1 comprises England, Australia, South Africa, the West Indies and two qualifiers from Round 1.
MORE ON T20 WORLD CUP
- T20 World Cup: India to face arch-rival Pakistan in Dubai on October 24
- T20 World Cup: Shane Bond to help New Zealand with tips on UAE conditions
- ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 schedule announced, India to square off against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai
- T20 World Cup: Aaron Finch on track to lead after knee surgery
Sri Lanka, champions in 2014, Bangladesh, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands Oman, PNG and Scotland, feature in Round 1 of the 16-team tournament, being hosted by India in the UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14.
Abu Dhabi will be the venue of the first semi-final on November 10 while the other semi-final (November 11) and the final will be played in Dubai.
“For Pakistan, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 is like a home event as the UAE has been our venue for more than a decade. We have not only nurtured our talent and developed our side in the UAE but have also beaten the top sides in these conditions to peak to No.1 in the ICC T20I Team Rankings,’’ Azam told ICC.
“From a personal point of view, this will be my first major ICC event as Pakistan captain. I tasted success in 2017 and suffered disappointment in 2019 when we missed out on a semi-final spot by a fraction of a point despite beating both the finalists in league matches. I remain focused in inspiring my side with my performances so that we can become the first Pakistan side to win an ICC Major Event in Asia.”
West Indian cricketers have always played an exciting brand of cricket and I am sure our fans in the Caribbean and all over the world are highly anticipating seeing us in action
Meanwhile, Kieron Pollard, captain of defending champions West Indies, said: “We are excited to begin defence of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title later this year. T20 cricket is dynamic and the international scene is highly competitive, with players constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are expecting a spectacular event in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
“We have a particularly interesting Super 12 group, which sees us come up against Australia, England and South Africa. We can’t wait to get started! West Indian cricketers have always played an exciting brand of cricket and I am sure our fans in the Caribbean and all over the world are highly anticipating seeing us in action.” The Caribbeans scored a thrilling last-over win over England in the 2016 final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said: “After so much disruption to world sport due to the pandemic, it feels like there’s a lot of excitement about this T20 World Cup. It’s always a highly competitive event with every team possessing match-winners who can turn games quickly.”
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands and Namibia
Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman
(Top two teams from each group advance to Super 12s)
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1 and B2.
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, A2 and B1.
(Top two teams from each group advance to the semi-finals)
17 Oct: Oman vs Papua New Guinea, Muscat (2 pm); Bangladesh vs Scotland, Muscat (6 pm)
18 Oct: Ireland vs Netherlands, Abu Dhabi (2 pm); Sri Lanka vs Namibia, Abu Dhabi (6 pm)
19 Oct: Scotland vs PNG, Muscat (2 pm); Oman vs Bangladesh, Muscat (6 pm)
20 Oct: Namibia vs Netherlands, Abu Dhabi (2 pm); Sri Lanka vs Ireland, Abu Dhabi (6pm)
21 Oct: Bangladesh vs Papua New Guinea, Muscat (2 pm); Oman vs Scotland, Muscat (6 pm)
22 Oct: Namibia vs Ireland, Sharjah (2 pm); Sri Lanka vs Netherlands, Sharjah (6pm)
23 Oct: Australia vs South Africa, Abu Dhabi (2 pm); England vs West Indies, Dubai (6 pm)
24 Oct: A1 v B2, Sharjah (2 pm); India vs Pakistan, Dubai (6 pm)
25 Oct: Afghanistan v B1, Sharjah (6pm)
26 Oct: South Africa vs West Indies, Dubai (2 pm); Pakistan vs New Zealand, Sharjah (6 pm)
27 Oct: England vs B2, Abu Dhabi (2 pm); B1 v A2, Abu Dhabi (6 pm)
28 Oct: Australia vs A1, Dubai (2 pm)
29 Oct: West Indies vs B2, Sharjah (2 pm); Pakistan vs Afghanistan, Dubai (6 pm)
30 Oct: South Africa vs A1, Sharjah (2 pm); Australia vs England, Dubai (6 pm)
31 Oct: Afghanistan vs A2, Abu Dhabi (2 pm); India vs New Zealand, Dubai (6 pm)
1 Nov: England vs A1, Sharjah (6 pm)
2 Nov: South Africa vs B2, Abu Dhabi (2 pm); Pakistan vs A2, Abu Dhabi (6 pm)
3 Nov: New Zealand vs B1, Dubai (2 pm); India vs Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi (6 pm)
4 Nov: Australia vs B2, Dubai (2 pm); West indies vs A1, Abu Dhabi (6 pm)
5 Nov: New Zealand v A2, Sharjah (2 pm); India v B1, Dubai (6 pm)
6 Nov: Australia vs West Indies, Abu Dhabi (2 pm); England vs South Africa, Sharjah (6 pm)
7 Nov: New Zealand vs Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi (2 pm): Pakistan vs B1, Sharjah (6 pm)
8 Nov: India vs A2, Dubai (6 pm)
10 Nov: Semi-final 1 (A1 vs B2), Abu Dhabi (6 pm)
11 Nov: Semi-final 2 (B1 v A2), Dubai (6 pm)
14 Nov: Final, Dubai (6 pm).