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South Africa to host first Twenty20 world championship

By Staff
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LONDON, Apr 30 (Reuters) The inaugural Twenty20 World Championship will be staged in September 2007 with a 12-team, nine-day event in South Africa, cricket officials said today.

''South Africa has been an early adopter of Twenty20 cricket and will be an excellent first venue,'' International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed said in a statement after the venue was decided at a board meeting in Dubai.

All 10 full members of the ICC board had confirmed that they would take part next year, Speed said.

''The legacy of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 means that South Africa already has in place exceptional facilities and expertise and we are very confident that the United Cricket Board of South Africa will host a tremendous event,'' he added.

South African board chairman Ray Mali said: ''This is a great opportunity for South African cricket and we intend to grasp it with both hands by delivering an unforgettable experience to players and supporters in our country and around the world.'' The second Twenty20 World Championship would take place in England in June 2009 and officials would then decide how often to stage the competition, the ICC said.

The board decided to limit the expansion of Twenty20 by restricting sides to a maximum of three home matches per season.

It awarded the next two editions of a streamlined ICC Champions Trophy, with eight teams taking part, to Pakistan in 2008 and the West Indies in 2010.

The board's decisions need to be ratified by the ICC's annual conference in London in July.

REUTERS PDS RN2220

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