The South Island city of Christchurch is set to host a unique and spectacular opening event for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. This will be held on Thursday, 12 February - two days before the tournament officially begins when New Zealand take on Sri Lanka at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.
Celebration of cricket
The free event - held in Christchurch’s North Hagley Park - will be a celebration of host nation New Zealand and its passionate love of cricket, and will feature appearances by New Zealand legends of the game Sir Richard Hadlee, Stephen Fleming and current New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum.
Head of New Zealand for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Therese Walsh said: “The opening event will focus the eyes of the world on Christchurch. It’s a massive opportunity and I believe the event we have planned and the performers and players we have on board will provide the ideal way to welcome the world to the city and to the massive occasion that is ICC Cricket World Cup 2015."
The opening event will kick off with a much-loved Kiwi pastime - a giant game of backyard cricket featuring local cricket teams, roving entertainers, and New Zealand cricketing heroes.
Colourful and cultural welcome
The main event will start with a unique, colourful and cultural welcome produced in partnership with Ngai Tahu – the principal Maori tribe of New Zealand’s South Island. A visual display, accompanied by a 100-strong youth choir will depict the story of the city of Christchurch.
A live stage show and video appearance by a number of New Zealand sporting legends will celebrate New Zealand’s love of backyard cricket, before ceremonial speeches and the official opening of the tournament begins. This will feature ICC officials and some of the participating teams, including New Zealand’s BLACKCAPS.
A party, performances by some of New Zealand’s top musical acts and one of the biggest fireworks displays ever hosted in Christchurch will close out the momentous event.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said: "2015 is a huge year for Christchurch - it's where it's all happening. Traditionally we support big events in our city, but this will be even bigger. Attending the opening of a sporting world cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our residents."
About the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015:
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, with 49 matches to be played between 14 February and 29 March. There are seven host cities in New Zealand: Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand
14 teams: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, West Indies and Zimbabwe
14 Host Cities: Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Canberra, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hobart, Napier, Nelson, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Wellington
42 pool matches – three in each host city
Every visiting team plays in both countries