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Pti

India will open their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in the Women's ODI World Cup beginning in New Zealand on March 4, the ICC announced on Wednesday.

The first set of games will see two massive rivalries take the centre stage, with Australia taking on defending champions England at Seddon Park in Hamilton on March 5 and last edition's runners-up India facing Pakistan in Tauranga on March 6.

A total of 31 games will be played across 31 days, with the eight teams clashing to get their hands on the coveted World Cup trophy. Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Tauranga, and Wellington will be the six cities that will host the tournament.

Australia, England, South Africa and India qualified for the event on the basis of their position in ICC Women's Championship 2017-20 while New Zealand automatically qualified as hosts.

On the basis of team rankings, Bangladesh, Pakistan and West Indies were the final three teams to book their berth for the World Cup after the Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier was called off due to COVID-related uncertainty.

The tournament will be played in the league format, where all eight teams will face each other once, at the end of which the top four sides will qualify for the semi-finals.

The first semi-final will be played at The Basin Reserve in Wellington on March 30 while The Hagley Oval in Christchurch will host the second semi-final on March 31 and the final on April 3. Both the semi-finals and the finals will have a reserve day in place.

The last global women's event played was the T20 World Cup in Australia in March 2020 when the hosts won by beating India in the final.

India will be touring New Zealand before the World Cup, serving as ideal preparation for the mega event.

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