Cricket World Cup 2015: England and Australia drawn together

The Melbourne Cricket Ground will host the final of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, 23 years after a bumper crowd at the 100,000-seat stadium saw Pakistan defeat England in the 1992 final.

The 29 March final follows semi-finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Auckland’s Eden Park, organisers said on Tuesday.

Christchurch, which has scrambled to rebuild facilities in the wake of a ruinous earthquake in 2011, has provisionally been awarded three pool matches in the tournament hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March.

Local cricket authorities have submitted plans for a redevelopment of Hagley Park in New Zealand’s second largest city, and are awaiting the outcome of an Environment Court hearing as to whether they can proceed.

If approved, the city would host the opening match of the tournament between 1996 World Cup champions Sri Lanka and New Zealand on 14 February.

“We haven’t had international cricket, Test matches for five years and one dayers for three years so we just have to get the environment court to okay it to get cricket back to Christchurch,” the former New Zealand bowler Richard Hadlee told local television at the New Zealand launch of the event.

“It’s important for the city, for the people and for youngsters too who idolise the players. It gives them the chance to see them and those three games will be hugely critical.”

Organisers said the pool matches would be split evenly between both countries with seven cities hosting three pool matches each.

“The last World Cup was the most successful ever … We decided that every team should play in both countries and that’s what we’ve gone and done,” the world cup chief executive John Harnden said.

Australia’s Sydney Cricket Ground, Adelaide Oval and the MCG would host three of the quarter-finals, while Wellington would host the fourth quarter-final.

The 2015 World Cup will feature the 10 full member nations of the International Cricket Council plus Ireland, who have won qualification, and three other nations.

Two of the teams will be determined via a qualifying tournament in New Zealand in January 2014.

Each of the 14 teams had been divided into two pools where they play each other in a round-robin format before the top four from each pool qualify for the quarter-finals.