Pakistan to begin T20 defence with B’desh tie

LONDON: Pakistan will begin the defence of their World Twenty20 title in the Caribbean next year against Bang-ladesh in St Lucia on May 1, organisers announced on Sunday.

Pakistan, who beat Sri Lanka in last month’s World Twenty20 final at Lord’s, will complete their group phase programme at the same venue the following day against Australia. The West Indies will open the event in Guyana on April 30 against one of two qualifiers for the tournament.

If the West Indies, also in a group with England, reaches the second round Super Eight, they will then go on to play in St Lucia and Barbados, something that would see the hosts play in all three locations for the men’s tournament. India, the 2007 champions, will start their campaign against the other qualifier in St Lucia on May 1. The qualifiers, who will join the 10 full or Test nations in the Caribbean next year, will be drawn from the top two sides at a tournament due to be staged in the UAE in October. Next year will see Zimbabwe back in the World Twenty20. They were forced into withdrawing from this year’s tournament after the British Government said they would not grant them entry visas because of their disapproval of the policies of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

The World Twenty20 is intended to be held every

two years. But the

decision to hold the third edition of the tournament in 2010 was taken after

the 2008 50-overs-a-side Champions Trophy, due to be played in Pakistan, was postponed because of security concerns.