India to play rivals Pak in T20 opener

 The Indian team will open its campaign in next year’s World Twenty20 Championships against arch-foes Pakistan when the event is staged in Bangladesh from March 16 to April 6.

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 semifinals and final will be held on the same day as the men’s semifinals and final, and at the same venue, the ICC said in a statement.

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 T20I Team Rankings as on October 8, 2012, the top eight sides following the conclusion of last ICC World Twenty20 will play directly in the Super 10 stage and India is one such side.

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.

The prize money for the women’s event will be $180,000, with the winner collecting $65,000 and the losing finalist getting $25,000.

Groupings for Super 10 stage: 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). Women’s groups: Group A: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Ireland. Group B: England, West Indies, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh.

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