Pakistan to begin ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign with India fixture

Monitoring Desk

Lahore: Babar Azam’s side will begin their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign on 24 October with the much-anticipated, high-octane clash against India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. This was revealed after the ICC today announced the fixtures of the global event.
The two neighbours will come face-to-face for the first time since their 2019, 50-over World Cup fixture at Manchester, and this will be the sixth time they will compete in the global T20 tournament.
Two days later, Pakistan, the champions of the 2009 edition, will play Kane Williamson’s New Zealand at the historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium, before returning to Dubai to play Afghanistan for the first time in a T20 World Cup on 29 October. Pakistan and Afghanistan have played only one T20I against each other, to date, which the former won in 2013.
In their last two matches of the Super 12 stage, which will feature top-eight ranked T20 teams and four teams who secure qualification from Round 1, Pakistan, who have played the most matches (36) in the UAE for an international side and have won 21 of them, will play the runner-up of Group A and winners of Group B on 2 and 7 November at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Stadium, respectively.
The two semi-finals will be played on 10 and 11 November, before the final on 14 November in Dubai. Pakistan featured in semi-finals of the first four editions. They played the final in the inaugural edition in 2007, before lifting the trophy at the iconic Lord’s in 2009.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam said: “The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 schedule announcement brings us one step forward in our preparations for this much-awaited global tournament. We will utilise the build-up period by playing in home series against New Zealand and England and will not only aim to fine-tune our final outlook but also win as many matches as possible so that we can carry that winning form and momentum to the United Arab Emirates.
“For Pakistan, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 is like a home event as the UAE has been our venue for more than a decade. We have not only nurtured our talent and developed our side in the UAE but have also beaten the top sides in these conditions to peak to number-one in the ICC T20I Team Rankings.
“All the players are excited, motivated and enthusiastic, and view this tournament as an opportunity to showcase our prowess and re-establish our superiority in the shortest format of the game in conditions that suit us best.
“From a personal point of view, this will be my first ICC Major Event as Pakistan captain. I tasted success in 2017 and suffered disappointment in 2019 when we missed out on a semi-final spot by a fraction of a point despite beating both the finalists in league matches. I remain focused in inspiring my side with my performances so that we can become the first Pakistan side to win an ICC Major Event in Asia.”