Pakistan to launch its CT campaign against India

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ISLAMABAD, Jun 1 (APP): Pakistan will launch its International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy title defense against traditional rival India when the two Asian powerhouses go head to head at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on June 4, 2017.

The 18-day tournament will run from June 1 to 18, 2017 and will also see matches played at the Cardiff Wales Stadium in Cardiff and The Oval in London, said a press release issued here.

The top eight sides on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings on September 30, 2015 have qualified for this tournament, with world champion Australia seeded number-one. It heads Group A, which also includes fourth seed New Zealand, sixth seed England and seventh seed Bangladesh, who will be returning to this competition for the first time since 2006.

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

The top two sides from each group will progress to the semi-finals, which will be played at Cardiff and Edgbaston on June 14 and 15 respectively, with The Oval hosting the final. There will be a reserve day for the final.

In the 2013 event, India defeated Pakistan by eight wickets in a rain-reduced match at Edgbaston and then went on to beat England by five runs at the same venue to win its second ICC Champions Trophy title.

However, in the 2009 event in South Africa, Pakistan beat
India by 54 runs at Centurion, which interestingly is its only
victory over its old foes in a major ICC event.

Australia has won back to back ICC Champions Trophy titles in India and South Africa in 2006 and 2009 respectively, while New Zealand won the competition in Nairobi in 2000 when it was called the ICC Knock-Out.

England is hosting the event for the third time, having made
the final on both the occasions. In 2004, it narrowly lost the final to the West Indies at The Oval by two wickets, while in 2013 it suffered a five-run defeat at Edgbaston.

South Africa won the inaugural event in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1998 while India and Sri Lanka shared the trophy in 2002.
Previous CT winners include South Africa (1998), New Zealand (2000), Sri Lanka and India (2002),West Indies (2004), Australia (2006), Australia (2009) and India (2013). Group A includes Australia, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh while Group B comprises Pakistan, India, South Africa and Sri Lanka.