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ICC World Cup 2015: Opening Ceremony - As it happened...

New Delhi: The 11th edition of the ICC World Cup was officially declared open after a two-act opening ceremony in Christchurch and Melbourne. The event was a wonderful mix of culture and traditions of the host nations Australia and New Zealand.

Read more: ICC World Cup 2015 Opening Ceremony report

The first match of the tournament will take place at the Hagley Oval between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on February 14.

That concludes our live coverage of the opening ceremony.

  • Time for some fireworks. The Melbourne sky looks wonderful as the ICC World Cup 2015 now officially open. Daryl Braithwaite capped off the opening ceremony with a dazzling performance.
  • The gathered crowd is being treated to some fine musical acts from Australian artists.
  • A collage of images from the Melbourne opening ceremony!
  • More of the giant mechanical robot that had everybody talking.
  • Has this been the highlight of the opening ceremony so far? We certainly think so!
  • Impressive puppetry on show at the ceremony with a giant batsman enacting all the key performances from past World Cup finals.
  • New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson has signaled his intent ahead of the World Cup.
  • Wally Edwards, member of the ICC board, takes to the stage to deliver a brief address on behalf of ICC.

Read more: ICC World Cup 2015 Venues - Melbourne

  • Ten captains and the cup! In case you are wondering, the remaining four captains were in Christchurch for the first half of the opening ceremony.
  • Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews is now on stage as he addresses the crowd gathered. 
  • The captains of all participating teams are now making their way to the stage.
  • Aunty Joy and Aunty Carloline dish out a traditional welcome to all the teams.
  • The Melbourne crowd is thoroughly enjoying this engaging opening ceremony.
  • England's Eoin Morgan and Ireland's William Potterfield exchange a few notes.
  • The fun-loving West Indians performers are now on stage. What is a World Cup without a bit of Caribbean flavor?
  • More images of the bonhomie between captains before they switch to battle mode!
  • And the captains are here!
  • Rhythm of Pakistan are now performing 'Jazba Junoon'.
  • Saoirse, representing Ireland, are now belting out some Irish classics.
  • Jhoom Bollywood Dance Company represents India at the opening ceremony. The Indian fans in the crowd are grooving to the music. Undoubtedly, the most enthusiastic bunch at the event.
  • Now, a group of British ballet dancers is on display. Truly spectacular!
  • A group of Bangladeshi performers are showcasing a lovely dance act wearing the official jersey of their cricket team.
  • Tari Khan from Afghanistan is now on stage giving the crowd a taste of traditional music of his home country.
  • Part two of the ceremony moves to Melbourne now. A massive crowd has gathered at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Linlithgow Ave.

Christchurch opening ceremony

Read more: ICC World Cup 2015 Venues - Christchurch

  • Time for the headline act of Christchurch's opening ceremony - Shapeshifter, a live drum and bass act!
  • MS Dhoni and Misbah-ul-Haq at the opening ceremony.
  • Time for another performance. This time it is the New Zealand Army Band.
  • CEO of ICC, Dave Richardson unveils the trophy - a symbol of the game's values. Prime Minister of NZ, John Key wishes the teams well and declares the tournament open. He has a special message to the home team: "Go well boys, go well!"
  • Cricket captains and their teams emerge on the stage. The World Cup trophy is on display as well.
  • Lasith Malinga, Brendon McCullum and Tim Southee too have now joined in. Umpire for the theatrical backyard cricket match is Sir Hadlee.
  • Former skipper of the Black Caps, Stephen Fleming, has now joined a bunch of kids to play a game of backyard cricket on stage. All Blacks great, Richie McCaw, comes on stage to a rapturous applause.
  • Sole Mio are back on stage. They are performing along with a choir group comprising of 100 children from Christchurch schools. Some of these children were affected by the earthquake that hit the beautiful city not very long ago. Including these talented children at the opening is truly a wonderful gesture.
  • Hayley Westenra, classical crossover artist and songwriter from the host nation, is now on stage enthralling the jubilant crowd.
  • The traditional Mauri artists are putting on an impressive show on stage.
  • Relaxed players having some fun ahead of the opening ceremony before they switch to 'battle mode' after today.
  • After the wise words from the four captains, it is time for some entertainment! Sole Mio are now on stage. They are a musical trio consisting of brothers Pene Pati and Amitai Pati and their cousin Moses Mackay. All the three are classically trained - Pati brothers are operatic tenors and Mackay is a baritone
  • AB de Villiers, Angelo Mathews, Elton Chigumbura, Brendon McCullum​ and Angelo Mathews together on stage talking about their expectations from this World Cup and the road ahead.
  • Cricket legend Sir Richard Hadlee is currently on stage talking about the spirit of cricket.
  • The atmosphere at North Hagley Park is truly electrifying.

What fans can expect today?

Cricket fans across the globe are in good cheer as world cricket's quadrennial extravaganza is just few days away. Before players and fans of the 14 participating nations switch to battle mode, they will jointly celebrate the spirit of cricket on Thursday during the much-anticipated opening ceremony of the 11th World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Read more: ICC World Cup 2015 Schedule

The two-act opening ceremony will be held at Christchurch in New Zealand and Melbourne in Australia between 2:00 and 5:00 pm IST.

The New Zealand opening ceremony will be held at Christchurch’s North Hagley Park. The event is expected to be a celebration of not just the host nation, but also of its passion and love for cricket.

Read more: ICC World Cup 2015 Full Coverage

Three of New Zealand's favourite cricketing sons Sir Richard Hadlee, Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum will make appearance during the ceremony.

The free event, scheduled for a 6:30 pm local time, will feature a giant game of backyard cricket comprising local cricket teams, entertainers, and New Zealand's cricket heroes.

The main event will commence at 9:00 pm local time with a cultural welcome produced in association with Ngai Tahu, one of the original settlers. A live stage show will follow that will feature a special video appearance by all-time greats from New Zealand sport as part of a celebration showcasing an unrivalled history.

Then, it will be time for ceremonial speeches and official opening of the tournament. This will be followed by a live musical show featuring Shapeshifter, a live drum and bass act, Sol3 Mio, Hayley Westenra and Ginny Blackmore.

The momentous event will be capped off with extravagant fireworks displays.

The Melbourne opening ceremony will be held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Linlithgow Ave. The celebration will involve World Cup players and legends, cultural and music performances, and a stunning fireworks display.

Jessica Hilda Mauboy an Australian R&B and pop singer, Tina Arena, an Australian singer-songwriter, Nathaniel and Daryl Braithwaite, along with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with musical director, Chong Lim will treat the crowd with their musical performances.

From Zee News

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