Zim face Hong Kong in T20 opener

HARARE - Zimbabwe will take on Hong Kong in the opening match of the 2016 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 in Nagpur, India on March 16 according to the schedule released yesterday.

The two teams were drawn in Group B which also features Afghanistan and Scotland for the first round of matches.
Group A comprises Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland and debutants Oman.

Only the group winners will then progress to the Super 10 stage of the competition where the top eight ranked Tweny20 nations — Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and host India — will be lying in wait.

This means Dav Whatmore’s men do not have any room for error as they need to get their campaign off to a good start against Hong Kong if they are to progress to the Super 10 stage.

“Men’s defending champions Sri Lanka has been placed in Super 10 Group 1 along with South Africa, West Indies, England and the Group B winner.

“Sri Lanka will open their title defence against the Group B winner in Kolkata on March 17, and play West Indies in Bengaluru on March 20, England in New Delhi on March 26 and South Africa in New Delhi on March 28,” the ICC said in a statement yesterday.

“Host India, which won the inaugural tournament in South Africa in 2007, is in Super 10 Group 2 along with 2009 winner Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and the Group A winner.

“India will launch their campaign in Nagpur against New Zealand on March 15 and the go head to head with Pakistan in Dharamsala on March 19.

“Their other matches will be against the Group A winner in Bengaluru on March 23 and Australia in Mohali on March 27.”
ICC chairperson Shashank Manohar said: “India is a country where cricket is a religion and not many places can match the country’s passion for the game.

“I am fully confident that the Board of Control for Cricket in India will deliver an outstanding world cricket event, just like the ICC Cricket World Cups in 1987, 1996 and 2011.

“The ICC and BCCI are fully committed and will work together to make this a memorable event.

“I invite fans from across the world to witness fast-paced cricketing action on the field and enjoy the hospitality and culture of India, off it.”

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