The fixtures for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 have been announced and the Melbourne Cricket Ground will host the final on 29th March.
Defending champions India will open their defence against rivals Pakistan on 15th February, one day after New Zealand play Sri Lanka and Australia take on England.
The format of the competition will be identical to that of 2011 with eight teams qualifying for the quarter-finals from two groups of seven with group games ending on 14th March.
Co-hosts Australia are joined in Group A by England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand and two qualifiers while India, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and the remaining qualifier are in Group B.
Ireland have already qualified via the World Cricket League Championship, from which one more team will qualify automatically.
The other two teams will qualify through next year's World Cup Qualifier which will be held in New Zealand.
49 matches will be spread across 44 days and 14 venues. Australia hosts 26 matches in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney while New Zealand hosts 23 matches in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington.
"I’m delighted to be part of this historic occasion as today we officially start the countdown to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, an event that, over the past 40 years, has become a truly global event," ICC President Alan Isaac said at the launch in Wellington.
"ICC events have established a unique place in the cricket calendar, and, as we’ve seen at our most recent events in Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom, players, sponsors, media, fans and supporters from all around the world want to be part of the spectacle.
"Sport is synonymous with life in Australia and New Zealand, and both countries boast some of the best facilities in the world. With the World Cup returning to these shores for the first time since 1992, I am sure it will be an event to remember."
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, added: "The ICC Cricket World Cup is the flagship tournament of the 50-over game. The 2015 tournament will mark 40 years since the first World Cup in 1975 and that history of great contests and heroes helps make the tournament what it is – the most sought after prize in our increasingly global game.
"The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be returning to Australia and New Zealand after 23 years and will be staged at the back of two outstanding 50-over ICC events – the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and ICC Champions Trophy 2013.
"I’m absolutely confident that the success of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will further strengthen the status of 50-over cricket as a successful and viable format alongside Tests and Twenty20 Internationals."
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
Group A: Australia, Bangladesh, England, New, Zealand, Sri Lanka, Qualifier 2 (from World Cricket League Championship), Qualifier 3 (from World Cup Qualifier)
Group B: India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Qualifier 4 (from World Cup Qualifier)
© Cricket World 2013