India to open 2019 ICC World Cup campaign versus South Africa

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New Delhi: The Indian cricket team will play its first match of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup against South Africa on June 5 instead of June 2 as the Lodha Committee recommendation made it mandatory for the BCCI to maintain a 15-day gap between the IPL final and an international assignment.

“The 2019 IPL will be played between March 29 and May 19. But we need to maintain a 15-day gap and World Cup starts on May 30. Therefore as per 15 day gap we could have only played on June 5. Earlier, we were scheduled to start on June 2 but we couldn’t have played on that day,” said a BCCI official on conditions of anonymity.

The matter was discussed during the ICC Chief Executives Meeting at Kolkata on Tuesday. The tournament, which will be staged in England and Wales, will be played at 10 venues.

The tournament, to be played in England, will begin on May 30 and go on until July 14. The complete schedule is expected to be released by April 30.

India, who have never lost to Pakistan in World Cup, will square off against the arch-rivals on June 16 in Manchester. The announcement was made in Kolkata during the ongoing five-day ICC meet.

India, who won the World Cup in 2011 and reached the semi-finals in 2015, will be the hot-favourites for the title.

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