ICC World Cup 2015 declared open

NEW DELHI : In a two-act ceremony held at Christchurch in New Zealand and Melbourne in Australia, the 11th edition of the ICC World Cup 2015 was officially declared open on Thursday.

Fourteen nations are participating in the tournament. The first match will take place at the Hagley Oval between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on February 14 while India and Pakistan will slug it out in the much awaited match at Adelaide Oval on February 15.

The opening events were a mix of culture and traditions of the two host nations. It was a celebration of not just their culture and heritage but also passion for cricket. Three of New Zealand’s favorite cricketers, Richard Hadlee, Stephen Fleming and Brendon Mccllum made an appearance during the opening ceremony which was attended by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

Thousands of fans packed the Hagley Park to witness the launch of the first World Cup in 23 years in New Zealand and Australia. The event ended with a spectacular display of fireworks. In Melbourne, the opening ceremony was marked by a high-tech display of the World Cup mascot. Team India was given a typical Bollywood style welcome.

India is the defending champion of the World Cup but experts say the team appears to be out of form despite adapting well to the conditions in Australia. The other teams in the competition are Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Scotland and United Arab Emirates.

The 14 teams will play 49 matches in 14 venues spread across one and a half months from February 14 and March 29.

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