SYDNEY (AP) The men’s and women’s finals of the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in 2020 will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as Cricket Australia affords both tournaments equal billing.
For the first time, the men’s and women’s tournaments will be played as stand-alone events in the same country. The 10-team women’s event will run from Feb. 21 to March 8 and the 16-team men’s tournament from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15.
Both semifinals of the women’s tournament will be played in Sydney while the men’s semifinals will be split between the Sydney Cricket Ground and Adelaide Oval. Finals will then take place at the 100,000-seat MCG, Australia’s largest stadium and venue for the final of the 2015 men’s one-day international World Cup, which drew 93,000 fans.
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A total of 13 stadiums in eight Australian cities – Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Geelong, Hobart, Perth and Brisbane – will host matches during the two events.
The men’s tournament has been expanded so that the previous Super 10 stage now becomes a Super 12 with eight automatic qualifiers, and the top two teams from two four-team pools which will contest the group stage.
The International Cricket Council is hoping the women’s final will draw a world record crowd for a women’s sports event after 24,000 attended the final of the women’s 50-overs World Cup at Lord’s in July last year.
The Australian record for a women’s sports event is 41,000, which attended a soccer match in Adelaide in 1929. The world record is 90,185 for the women’s FIFA World Cup final in 1999.
”Australia is a sporting nation, with diverse and passionate fans who love cricket,” organizing committee chief executive Nick Hockey said. ”We’ve designed ICC World T20, comprising stand-alone women’s and men’s events, to be more inclusive, more accessible and more connected than ever before so that everyone can join in.”
The Australian women’s team has won three of the previous five Twenty20 World Cups and will be attempting to win back the world crown they lost to the West Indies in 2016. The West Indies are also the current men’s champions.