Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur

The track for the opening Super 10 Group 2 encounter in the ICC World Twenty20 on March 15 is likely to be a batting-friendly wicket, unlike the VCA stadium pitch that was on offer during the third India-South Africa Test match late last year.

The track at the stadium situated on the Nagpur-Wardha road that was used for the third Test between India and South Africa was given a “poor” rating by the ICC match referee, Jeff Crowe in his report.

India clinched the match by 124 runs inside three days with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin leading hosts’ charge with an 11 wicket haul, supported well by the left arm spinner Ravichandran Jadeja and leggie Amit Mishra.

The ICC later announced that the stadium has been  given an official warning under the ICC’s Pitch Monitoring process following the third Test held in November 2015.

In reaching the verdict, the ICC agreed with the “poor” ratings given to the pitch by New Zealand’s Crowe, the match referee for the Test played from November 25-27, two observed that it did not allow a fair contest between bat and the ball.

The finding was made by ICC General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice, and ICC chief match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, after watching footage of the match, reviewing the post match reports from Crowe and considering the response provided by the BCCI.

But the upcoming India-New Zealand T20 game would see a track which is oriented towards batsmen, VCA sources told PTI on Sunday.

“The ICC has given us clear guidelines that the tracks for the World T20 matches should be batsmen-oriented. We are strictly following these instructions. These matches are Twenty20 games and not Tests,” sources said.

Ranjan Madugalle will be the match referee for the India-New Zealand game while the umpires appointed for it are Richard Illingworth, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus and Nigel Llong.

“The centre square will be used for the game,” the sources said while adding that although it had rained last evening during the match between Scotland and Hong Kong, the forecast for Tuesday was for a rain-free evening.

All the tickets for the match in the 44,900-capacity stadium have been sold out, VCA sources said, adding that those who were lucky in the on-line lottery for Tuesday’s game were being handed over their tickets today and tomorrow at the VCA’s old stadium in the centre of the Orange City.

Ticket prices have been kept in the range of Rs 500 to Rs 7,500 for most of the stands barring seats in the hospitality box costing Rs 12,500 for viewing the matches from over the sight-screen, along with enjoying other facilities, the sources said.

“In addition, we have 35 15-seater corporate boxes each costing Rs 5 lakh for the game,” they added.

India defeated Sri Lanka by 25 runs in 2009 in the only T20 game they have played here previously.

That was the lone T20 hosted at this ground before the current World T20 event in which it has already hosted six first-round men’s games and, apart from the India-New Zealand match, is also set to host two other men’s Super 10 clashes, along with two women’s group matches.