WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Hagley Oval in Christchurch will host a floodlight final of the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2022.

The International Cricket Council released the schedule Tuesday, confirming the opening match at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on March 4 will involve hosts New Zealand and a qualifier and the final will be on on April 3.

Hagley Oval will also host the second semifinal on March 31, a day after the first of the semifinals at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

The tournament postponed from its original dates in February and March 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will go ahead at venues in six New Zealand cities.

Seddon Park in Hamilton will host seven pool matches, including the opener between between England and Australia. New Zealand and Australia will meet at the Basin Reserve on March 13, among five pool matches at the ground.

India will meet Australia and New Zealand will play England in consecutive matches at Auckland’s Eden Park on March 19 and 20.

The tournament will be the first global women’s cricket event since the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in March, when more than 86,000 spectators packed the Melbourne Cricket Ground to see the hosts beat India in the final.

The Hagley Oval lights under which the final will be played are new and installed for the tournament.

“To play in a World Cup at our own stomping ground here in Christchurch, under lights, would be a real career highlight,” said New Zealand veteran Amy Satterthwaite.

India captain Mithali Raj said she and her teammates are looking forward to a return to international tournaments.

“We have all been through a very difficult year and are happy to be getting back at playing the game we all love,” she said. “If we manage to win the tournament in 2022 it will be a massive inspiration for the next generation of girls as the 50-over format is considered the pinnacle for any cricketer.”

New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and India have already qualified for the eight-team round-robin tournament. The other three teams will be decided in qualifying series next June and July.

Meanwhile, the ICC announced that as many as 86 teams will compete for 15 places at the men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in 2022.

The four-step qualifying process, involving up to 225 matches, will begin next April. There will be 11 qualifying tournaments across five regions, all of which have been rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hungary, Romania and Serbia will attempt to qualify for the first time. Japan and Finland will host qualifying events.


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