Defending champions India will open their ICC Champions Trophy 2017 campaign by taking on Pakistan in their opening cricket match of next year’s ICC Champions Trophy, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday. India, slotted in Group B, will go in as defending champions and will open their campaign against Pakistan on June 4, before taking on Sri Lanka on June 8 and South Africa on June 11. The two semi-finals have been scheduled for June 14 and 15 while the final will be played on June 18, at the Oval.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said, “No doubt we want to try to put India versus Pakistan in our event… It’s hugely important from an ICC point of view. It’s massive around the world and the fans have come to expect it as well. It’s fantastic for the tournament because it gives it a massive kick.”

Second in importance only to the World Cup and featuring the top eight teams in the world, the 2013 edition was supposed to be the last but the ICC decided it should continue. This will be the fifth edition in succession where India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in the group stage.

India and Pakistan in the same group was a factor in adopting a 10-team round robin format at the 2019 World Cup set to be held in England. This dictates the rest of the draw. ICC decided the seedings of the eight teams involved on the basis of their 50-over world rankings at the end of September 2015. The tournament will be held in England over the course of 18 days from June 1 to June 18, 2017 during which 15 matches will be played in Birmingham, Cardiff and London.

ICC Champions Trophy full schedule:

Thurs, 1 June – England v Bangladesh, The Oval (d)
Fri, 2 June – Australia v New Zealand, Edgbaston (d)
Sat, 3 June – Sri Lanka v South Africa, The Oval (d)
Sun, 4 June – India v Pakistan, Edgbaston (d)
Mon, 5 June – Australia v Bangladesh, The Oval (d/n)
Tues, 6 June – England v New Zealand, Cardiff (d)
Wed, 7 June – Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (d/n)
Thurs, 8 June – India v Sri Lanka, The Oval (d)
Fri, 9 June – New Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (d)
Sat, 10 June – England v Australia, Edgbaston (d)
Sun, 11 June – India v South Africa, The Oval (d)
Mon, 12 June – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (d)
Wed, 14 June – First semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (d)
Thurs, 15 June – Second semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (d)
Sun, 18 June – Final, The Oval (d)
Mon, 19 June – Reserve day (d).

India is seeded second and leads Group B, which also comprises third seed South Africa, fifth seed Sri Lanka and eighth seed Pakistan.

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