Christchurch to host WC 2015 Qualifier games
The ICC World Cup Qualifiers will be played across six venues on New Zealand's north and south islands, including Christchurch. The city's journey to host top-level cricket will take another significant step early next year when the Hagley Oval will host its first international match during the Qualifiers, which will be held between January 13 and February 1. The Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln, just outside Christchurch, will also host the final.
Christchurch has not hosted a major event since the devastating earthquake in February 2011. Severe damage was caused to the AMI Stadium and planning permission has now been granted for a new international cricket venue at Hagley Oval. It is due to host the opening game of the World Cup when New Zealand play Sri Lanka on February 14, 2015.
The ICC also announced the groups for the tournament. Group A consists of United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Canada, Hong Kong and Nepal, while group B includes Netherlands, Kenya, Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Uganda. The two finalists will take the last remaining spots in the World Cup draw. Ireland and Afghanistan have already qualified.
The group stage of the tournament will be held between January 13 and 23, followed by the Super Six stage between January 26 to February 1.
The schedule for the Super Six stage is based on rankings given to teams in the group stages (see sidebar). If the top three teams qualify for the Super Six stage, they retain their group-stage ranking irrespective of their position in the points table. However, if a team that is ranked fourth or fifth in the group stage qualifies for the Super Six, they will assume the ranking of the team they have displaced.