DUBAI, UAE (CMC):
The West Indies will open their title defence against India in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014.
The ICC yesterday announced the match schedules and ticket-sales plans for the Tournament, which will be staged from March 16 to April 6, 2014.
The West Indies' men will defend the title they won last year in Colombo, while Australia's women will aim to complete a hat-trick of titles after having won the previous two finals in Barbados and Colombo.
As many as 60 tournament matches (35 men's and 25 women's) will be played across Chittagong, Dhaka and Sylhet in the 22-day tournament. As in the past, the women's semi-finals and final will be held on the same day as the men's semi-finals and final, and at the same venue.
The format for the men's event in next year's tournament has been changed following an increase in teams from 12 to 16.
As the teams' seeding are based on the Reliance ICC T20I Team Rankings as on October 8, 2012, the top-eight sides following the conclusion of the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 will play directly in the Super 10 stage, while Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, which finished outside the top eight, will participate in the first round that will be held from March 16-21.
The first round of the men's event will include eight sides that will be divided into two groups of four teams each, with the table toppers progressing to the Super 10 stage.
In the first round, Group A will feature hosts Bangladesh alongside three teams that will qualify from the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2013, to be staged from November 15-30. Group B will include Zimbabwe, which will be joined by another three teams from the upcoming qualifiers. As such, the two groups will be finalised on November 30.
Group 1 - Sri Lanka, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Group B Qualifier 1 (Q1B)
Group 2 - West Indies, India, Pakistan, Australia, Group A Qualifier 1 (Q1A)
Reigning champions the West Indies will launch their title defence against India in an evening match on Sunday, March 23. Earlier on the same day, Pakistan will lock horns with Australia, which is looking for the only global title that has eluded it to date.
The prize money for the men's event will be US$3 million, with the winner receiving US$1.1 million and the losing finalist collecting US$550,000.
"The ICC World Twenty20 is the pinnacle of Twenty20 International cricket, as it brings together the world's best cricketers in a short and sharp nation versus nation tournament," said ICC General Manager - Commercial, Campbell Jamieson, who attended the fixtures and ticket-sales launch ceremony in Dhaka on Sunday.
"The successes of the previous editions in South Africa, England, the West Indies and Sri Lanka have proven the popularity of this tournament, and it is exciting that this event will now be staged in a country like Bangladesh which has a very proud cricketing tradition," he added.
The ICC World Twenty20 is the pinnacle of Twenty20 International cricket, as it brings together the world's best cricketers ...
in a short and sharp nation versus nation tournament