New Delhi: The iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata and historic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai are set to host the semifinals of the Men’s ODI World Cup, later this year.
Initially, Wankhede and MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai were near lock-ins as venues for the semifinal matches. However, last-minute change has been made in the much-awaited schedule and Eden Gardens in Kolkata has emerged as a strong favourite.
The latest development comes after a meeting of the state associations of host cities with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and International Cricket Council (ICC) officials on Monday, a Cricbuzz report said.
12 associations attended the meeting.
One of the reasons for moving a semifinal from Chennai to Kolkata was the potential weather in October-November in the Tamil Nadu capital city. The region experiences North-East monsoon in those months and the BCCI/ICC felt the city may not be the best option for a knockout game, the report added.
However, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) will get a few World Cup games. The state board’s representative was also at the meeting held in Mumbai. The associations were also informed about the operational functions expected of a host association.
The 12 venues for the World Cup are expected to be New Delhi and Dharamsala in the North Zone, Lucknow in the Central Zone, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Pune in the West, Kolkata and Guwahati in the East, and Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Thiruvananthapuram in the South.
Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram will only host warm-up games, while the other 10 centres will stage the 48 official World Cup matches, including the three knockout games.
As far as the demand from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to change the venues for their matches was concerned, the ICC turned down the request. So the original draft schedule stands, meaning the high-profile India-Pakistan match will be held in Ahmedabad, while Chennai and Bengaluru will host Pakistan against Afghanistan and Australia respectively.