WC hosts to play knockouts at home

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Published: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 11:46 [IST]
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The joint hosts of the World Cup - Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka - will get to have their teams play their knock-out matches at home venues regardless of their final positions in their respective groups. But if two of the host teams face each other in the knockout stage, then the team placed higher in the pre-tournament seeding, which was settled a year ago, will get preference.

For instance, if India progress to the quarter finals, they will play their match in Ahmedabad even if they draw Sri Lanka simply because they were better placed when the teams were seeded. As the world cup final is marked for India, it ensures that India will play at home in whatever knockout matches they progress to.

Bangladesh will play any other team at home, but will have to play the other hosts teams in the latter's backyard if they are to draw them at the quarter final stage.

The rules indicate that the match itinerary for the knock out stages will not be known until the outcome of the hosts' progress is clear. A source of the International Cricket Council (ICC) the knockout schedule has the potential to change the tournaments logistics and other organisational measures. "The knockout stages can't be sorted out until the last group game, which is India versus West Indies in Chennai on March 20. Everything will be clear only after that," the source said.

One quarter final will be held at Ahmedabad, one at Colombo and two at Mirpur. If all three hosts make it to the quarter-final stage, then the scheduling will be straightforward: Bangladesh will play it match at Mirpur, India at Ahmedabad and Sri Lanka at Colombo.

The league stage will feature two groups of seven each, with the top four from each progressing to the quarters. India and Bangladesh are in the same group, so they will not meet each other in the quarters.
The semi-finals are scheduled for Mohali an Colombo and the host teams will have the option of playing at home.

In the 1996 World Cup, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, didn't have a similar provision: the matches and venues were decided in advance. India finished third in their group, two points ahead of the fourth-placed West Indies. Had India finished fourth, they would have had to travel to Karachi to play the third quarter-final, against South Africa who finished first in their group. As it happened, India drew Pakistan in the second quarter-final which was pre-planned for Bangalore.

In the subsequent World Cups, Super Sixes and Super Eights took the place of the quarter-finals format. In 2007, the ICC ensured the schedule of the Super Eights wouldn't change in accordance with where the teams finished in the league stage, thus making it possible for the fans to book tickets for their teams' matches in advance.


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