Zimbabwe paired against World Cup holders

MUMBAI – Australia will open their World Cup defence in 2011 with a match against Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad, India, on February 21, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced Monday.\r\n

Four-times winners Australia are in Group A for the One Day International competition along with former champions Pakistan and Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Canada, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

India, South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands are pooled in Group B.

India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are together staging the 2011 event, with India hosting 29 of the tournament’s 49 matches including the final at a renovated Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 2.

Pakistan was stripped of hosting rights over security concerns. They will play all their group matches in Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh and India play the first match of the tournament in Dhaka on February 19, two days after the opening ceremony in the same city.

In all, 13 venues will be used in the 43-day tournament.