The first round of the T20 World Cup begins on Sunday, October 16. Netherlands, Sri Lanka, UAE, Namibia, Ireland, West Indies, Scotland and Zimbabwe will slug it out in two separate groups for a place in the Super 12s. Here’s a brief look at Kardinia Park, Geelong, and Bellerive Oval, Hobart - the two venues hosting the first-round matches.
Kardinia Park, Geelong
Having hosted a solitary men’s T20I in February 2017 and just nine T20s since 2009, Kardinia Park, also known as Simonds Stadium, in Geelong, will be one of the two hosts of the first-round matches.
Kardinia Park will host the first match — between Sri Lanka and Namibia — on October 16, followed by one between UAE and Netherlands the same day. A total of six first-round matches will be held here in three days.
As Kardinia Park is mainly used for Australian rules football, it is narrower than most cricketing venues. The drop-in pitch is laid down at an angle, making it easier for batters to score boundaries behind square.
Scoring runs at Kardinia Park is not easy as it has the lowest run rate (7.89) in T20s among all venues in Australia. Fast bowlers thrive here, averaging just over 22, while spinners can be economical.
Bellerive Oval, Hobart
The Bellerive Oval in Hobart will be hosting just its fourth international T20 when Scotland faces West Indies in a first-round Group B match on October 17.
Home to Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, the Tasmanian ground hosted its first international T20 match in 2010 — between Australia and West Indies. The Aussies won that contest, and the next two games held there too — against England in 2014 and 2018.
In 68 T20s at the venue, teams batting first have emerged victorious on 39 occasions, while those chasing have won 28. Hobart boasts of the highest run rate — 8.32 — among all seven venues for the tournament. Therefore, it could feature some of the high-scoring matches when it holds six Group B, one Group 1, and two Group 2 games.