England begin World Cup with Dutch

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England will face the Netherlands in their first 2011 ICC World Cup match, at Nagpur on February 22, before a showdown with joint hosts India in Kolkata five days later.

England already knew their Group B opponents - India, South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland and the Netherlands - after the draw was made a month ago.

Their third game sees a clash with Ireland in Bangalore on March 2, before South Africa in Chennai on March 6, Bangladesh in Chittagong on March 11 and West Indies back in Chennai on March 17.

The top four from each group go through to the quarter-finals with the other teams eliminated.

Bangladesh and India, two of the hosts along with Sri Lanka, meet in the tournament opener in Mirpur on February 19, the International Cricket Council has announced.

Nagpur

Nagpur in India will host England's 2011 World Cup opener against the Netherlands on February 22 the year after next

India - set to stage 29 of the 49 matches across eight venues including a quarter-final, a semi-final and the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai - will travel across the border for their first match on February 19.

Sri Lanka, the other co-hosts, will stage 12 matches - including a quarter-final and a semi-final - while Bangladesh will host the opening ceremony on February 17 and the remainder of the matches, including two quarter-finals.

The duration of the 2011 tournament will be a week shorter than the 2007 edition in the Caribbean.

Sri Lanka will unveil two new venues during the course of the tournament – Hambantota and Pallekele - and will take on Canada in their first match at Hambantota on February 20.

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara believes the two new venues would boost cricket in Sri Lanka.

“Everybody in Sri Lanka is excited about the new venues,” he said.

“From what I have heard of Pallekele, it’s a fantastic venue - and so is Hambantota.

“Pallekele is just outside Kandy, and Hambantota is situated close to a beach.

Kumar Sangakkara

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said: “Everybody in Sri Lanka is excited about the new venues" that will be used

“Sri Lanka is very focused on taking cricket to the out-stations, and these are the first steps in that long journey.

“I hope the support and enthusiasm will grow, and this will be an advantage in our World Cup campaign.”

Pakistan, who were stripped of their hosting rights because of security concerns, will play all their group matches in Sri Lanka and will need to travel to India only if they reach the knockout rounds.

Champions Australia will begin the defence of their title against India in Ahmedabad on February 21 and will play all their group matches in India - avoiding Sri Lanka, a country they refused to play in during the previous World Cup in the sub-continent.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat believes the World Cup will cement the status of the 50-over game - which some believe to be under threat following the advent of Twenty20 cricket.

“The match schedule will allow the teams, commercial partners, spectators and media to commence with planning their tours,” Lorgat explained.

“I am confident the host countries will showcase our great sport with its great spirit in the best possible light.

“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.”

2011 ICC World Cup schedule:

Saturday 19 Feb – Bangladesh v India, Dhaka
Sunday 20 Feb – New Zealand v Kenya, Chennai
Sunday 20 Feb – Sri Lanka v Canada, Hambantota
Monday 21 Feb – Australia v Zimbabwe, Ahmedabad
Tuesday 22 Feb – England v Netherlands, Nagpur
Wednesday 23 Feb – Pakistan v Kenya, Hambantota
Thursday 24 Feb – South Africa v West Indies, New Delhi
Friday 25 Feb – Australia v New Zealand, Nagpur
Friday 25 Feb – Bangladesh v Ireland, Dhaka
Saturday 26 Feb – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Colombo
Sunday 27 Feb – India v England, Kolkata
Monday 28 Feb – West Indies v Netherlands, New Delhi
Monday 28 Feb – Zimbabwe v Canada, Nagpur
Tuesday 1 Mar – Sri Lanka v Kenya, Colombo
Wednesday 2 Mar – England v Ireland, Bangalore
Thursday 3 Mar – South Africa v Netherlands, Mohali
Thursday 3 Mar – Pakistan v Canada, Colombo
Friday 4 Mar – New Zealand v Zimbabwe, Ahmedabad
Friday 4 Mar – Bangladesh v West Indies, Dhaka
Saturday 5 Mar – Sri Lanka v Australia, Colombo
Sunday 6 Mar – India v Ireland, Bangalore
Sunday 6 Mar – England v South Africa, Chennai
Monday 7 Mar – Kenya v Canada, New Delhi
Tuesday 8 Mar – Pakistan v New Zealand, Pallekele
Wednesday 9 Mar – India v Netherlands, New Delhi
Thursday 10 Mar – Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, Pallekele
Friday 11 Mar – West Indies v Ireland, Mohali
Friday 11 Mar – Bangladesh v England, Chittagong
Saturday 12 Mar – India v South Africa, Nagpur
Sunday 13 Mar – New Zealand v Canada, Mumbai
Sunday 13 Mar – Australia v Kenya, Bangalore
Monday 14 Mar – Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Pallekele
Monday 14 Mar – Bangladesh v Netherlands, Chittagong
Tuesday 15 Mar – South Africa v Ireland, Kolkata
Wednesday 16 Mar – Australia v Canada, Bangalore
Thursday 17 Mar – England v West Indies, Chennai
Friday 18 Mar – Sri Lanka v New Zealand, Mumbai
Friday 18 Mar – Ireland v Netherlands, Kolkata
Saturday 19 Mar – Australia v Pakistan, Colombo
Saturday 19 Mar – Bangladesh v South Africa, Dhaka
Sunday 20 Mar – Zimbabwe v Kenya, Kolkata
Sunday 20 Mar – India v West Indies, Chennai
Wednesday 23 Mar – First quarter-final, Dhaka
Thursday 24 Mar – Second quarter-final, Colombo
Friday 25 Mar – Third quarter-final, Dhaka
Saturday 26 Mar – Fourth quarter-final, Ahmedabad
Tuesday 29 Mar – First semi-final, Colombo
Wednesday 30 Mar – Second semi-final, Mohali
Saturday 2 April – Final, Mumbai

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