MCG to host 2015 Cricket World Cup final
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — England and Australia have been drawn in the same group for the 2015 World Cup, and the final will be played as a day-night match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with semifinals in Sydney and Auckland.
Tournament organizers announced Tuesday that New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and two qualifiers will join Australia and England in Pool A of the 14-team tournament.
South Africa, defending champion India, Pakistan, the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and a qualifier will compete in Pool B.
Australia and New Zealand will host 49 matches over 44 days during February and March 2015.
Other Australian venues for the tournament will be the Sydney Cricket Ground, Brisbane’s Gabba, the WACA in Perth, Adelaide Oval, Manuka Oval in Canberra and Bellerive Oval in Tasmania. Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson and Hamilton are among seven New Zealand host cities.
The final will be played at the MCG on March 29 while the semifinals will be played at Auckland’s Eden Park on March 24 and at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 26.
The quarterfinals, made up of the top four teams from each group, will be at Sydney, the MCG, Adelaide Oval and Wellington.
Australia opens its schedule at the MCG against England on Feb. 14. Australia’s other pool matches are against Bangladesh at the Gabba on Feb. 21, New Zealand at Eden Park on Feb. 28, a qualifier at the WACA on March 4, Sri Lanka at the SCG on March 8 and against another qualifier at Bellerive Oval on March 14.
The opening Pool A match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on Feb. 14 will be held at Hagley Park in Christchurch even though the ground is not yet an international venue and can’t be developed as one until it receives the approval of New Zealand’s Environment Court.
Christchurch has had no international cricket stadium since the February, 2011 earthquake which leveled much of the central city, killing 185 people. Local cricket officials proposed enclosing and developing the existing Hagley Oval but local opposition has been strong, leaving the Environment Court to make the decision on whether development can proceed.
Australia and New Zealand were co-hosts for the 1992 World Cup when the MCG had the final which saw Pakistan defeat England.
Former Australia batsman Mike Hussey, a member of the team which won its fourth World Cup in 2007, said the 50-overs format will be popular despite the recent drift in interest toward the Twenty20 game.
“It’s still very, very popular with all the crowds around the world and, from a playing point of view, I really love the game,” Hussey said of the 50-over version. “It caters for so many different types of players whereas, in T20 sometimes, if you’re not batting in the top three, you might not get much of a bat.
“Fifty-over cricket caters for spin bowlers, all-rounders, power players, guys who work the ball, run hard between the wickets, fast bowlers.”
AP Sports Writer Steve McMorran contributed to this story from Wellington, New Zealand.