MIRPUR: Setting to rest all speculations, Haroon Lorgat, the CEO of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday made it clear that World Cup 2011 co-hosts, India would play their knock-out matches at home if they qualify for the quarterfinals.
Lorgat further specified that should two host nations come up against each other, the side placed higher in the pre-tournament seeding will get preference, which means India will play all its knock-out ties on home soil if they get past the preliminary stage. So will Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, unless they come up against India.
This effectively means the original schedule, according to which the specific World Cup quarterfinal matches were marked, will be changed depending on where the hosts finish. As per the schedule, the quarter-final matches are as follows: A1 v B4 (Mirpur), A2 v B3 (Ahmedabad), A3 v B2 (Mirpur) and A4 v B1 (Colombo).
But now, as per the decision, India will play their quarterfinal in Ahmedabad, irrespective of where they finish in Group B. The March 24 quarterfinal is between third-placed team in group B and the second team in group A.
So if India finish second, they will take on the third-placed team from Group A. But even if Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men do not finish third in Group B, they will still play in Ahmedabad against a side which will not know their venue till the last league match ends on March 20.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will play their final-eight match in Colombo on March 26, unless they face India. In such a scenario, India will get pre-tournament seeding preference and will play in Ahmedabad.
Similarly, Bangladesh will play their quarterfinal match at Dhaka on either March 23 or March 25 — first if they qualify, and secondly if they are not drawn up against either India or Sri Lanka.
ICC's host country rule will also hold good for the semifinal clashes in Colombo and Mohali on March 29 and 30 respectively.
Meanwhile, talking about ICC's decision to tinker with the format in 2015 edition of the World Cup, Lorgat said that the lower-ranked sides won't be a part of the 50-over game in future as it demanded more skills from the players.
Lorgat said the ICC has decided to cut down the number of teams in the 50-over World Cup to 10 from the current 14 and make the World Twenty20 tournament an affair involving 16 sides instead of 12.
"We have felt in the past few years that Twenty20 is the best format to develop the game world-wide and it provides a better environment for competition," Lorgat said. "The 50-over format is more skill-based and suitable for the top teams," he added. Lorgat also felt the World Cup had become too long in recent editions. "The previous event was longer than was perhaps comfortable," he said about the 2007 edition in the Caribbean, which featured 16 teams.
"We have shed some days in this particular event. In a 14-team format, this was the most compact way we could produce the event. Regardless of T20 cricket, World Cup is our flagship tournament. We want to ensure that all three formats survive," said Lorgat, who also confirmed that the format in this edition was made to help top teams come through the group stage.
India's knock-out punch: All matches at home - The Times of India
Very good news for India.
Was worried about facing Srilanka in the semi's In Srilanka.