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Pakistan, India drawn in same Champions Trophy group

One of the standout group fixtures will be the clash between sub-continental rivals India and Pakistan in Birmingham, which has one of Britain's largest South Asian populations, on June 15. -File photo

LONDON: World champions India will open the 2013 Champions Trophy in England and Wales with a clash against South Africa in Cardiff on June 6 next year.

Meanwhile hosts England will begin the tournament by playing defending champions and old rivals Australia at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground.

The Champions Trophy, the “mini World Cup”, features the world's eight leading nations in 50-over cricket.

Next year Group A will include Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka while India, Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies will compete in Group B.

As well as Cardiff and Edgbaston, The Oval in south London will also stage Champions Trophy fixtures, with the final at Edgbaston on June 23.

One of the standout group fixtures will be the clash between sub-continental rivals India and Pakistan in Birmingham, which has one of Britain's largest South Asian populations, on June 15.

“This will be a terrific opportunity for fans to see the world's very best one-day sides in action over the space of less than three weeks and the fixture schedule has thrown up a host of exciting head-to-head contests,” said tournament director and former South Africa seamer Steve Elworthy, after the England and Wales Cricket Board released the fixtures on Tuesday.

Next year's edition will be the seventh and last Champions Trophy, with the tournament being replaced by the International Cricket Council's new World Test Championship instead.

Officials had hoped to launch the World Test Championship in 2013 but sponsor and broadcast agreements meant they had to continue with the Champions Trophy.

First played in 1998, the Champions Trophy has usually taken place every two years, filling the “gap” between World Cups, staged every four years.

But the 2008 edition due to be played in Pakistan was delayed because of security concerns until 2009 when it was switched to South Africa, where Australia beat New Zealand in the final.

The tournament hasn't been played since, with 2010 seeing the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean while last year India, on home soil, won the 50-over World Cup by beating Sri Lanka in a final in Mumbai.

ICC Champions Trophy 2013 schedule: Venues: The Oval (London), Edgbaston (Birmingham), Cardiff Group A: Australia, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka Group B: India, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies Fixtures Group stage Jun 06: India v South Africa (Day) - Cardiff Jun 07: West Indies v Pakistan (Day) - The Oval Jun 08: England v Australia (Day) - Edgbaston Jun 09: Sri Lanka v New Zealand (Day) - Cardiff Jun 10: Pakistan v South Africa (Day) - Edgbaston Jun 11: India v West Indies (Day) - The Oval Jun 12: Australia v New Zealand (Day/Night) - Edgbaston Jun 13: England v Sri Lanka (Day/Night) - The Oval Jun 14: West Indies v South Africa (Day) - Cardiff Jun 15: India v Pakistan (Day) - Edgbaston Jun 16: England v New Zealand (Day) - Cardiff Jun 17: Sri Lanka v Australia (Day/Night) - The Oval Knockout Jun 19: Semi-final A1 v B2 (Day) - The Oval Jun 20: Semi-final A2 v B1 (Day) - Cardiff Jun 23: Final (Day) - Edgbaston


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