The co-host teams, Australia and New Zealand, will clash against each other in the opening match of the tournament on February 14. While the first match will be held on Australian soil, both the teams will face each other again later in the tournament on February 28 on New Zealand soil. Current world champions India will play their first match on February 15 against their arch rivals Pakistan. India will then play South Africa on February 22 in Melbourne, 4th qualifying team in Perth on February 28, West Indies on March 6 in Perth and Ireland on March 10.
The 49-match schedule will be followed over the period of 44 days and to be played on 14 different cricketing venues. Out of 49 matches, Australia will host 26 of them, while their neighboring country would host 23 matches.The venues for the matches to be held in Australia are: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, whilst those to be held in New Zealand will take place in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington.The 14 sides that will play in the tournament consist of 10 permanent member teams and four qualifier teams. 10 full member teams are decided as per the current ICC ODI Rankings. While Ireland has already qualified for the World Cup, the rest of the three qualifier teams are yet to be decided. Two pools have also been finalized for the initial league stage of the tournament. They are as follows:
Pool A: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, two qualifier teams.
Pool B: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland, one qualifier.
After the league stage, top four sides from both the pools would qualify for the knockout stage, first of them being the quarter-finals. Four winning sides from the quarter-finals will then compete in the semi-finals, followed by the clash between the two top teams in the Finals on March 29 at the MCG.
Current champions India are considered as hot favorites for the next World Cup as well. India had thrashed Sri Lanka by six wickets in the previous edition of the world cup finals held in India in 2011.