ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat talks to reporters at the tournament launch in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Wednesday. ((Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/Getty Images))

Defending champion England has been drawn to face India and a qualifying nation in the group stage of the 2012 World Twenty20.

The International Cricket Council announced Wednesday that England will open against one of two qualifiers in Colombo on Sept. 21 before facing 2007 champion India two days later in Group A.

Host Sri Lanka opens the tournament on Sept. 18 against Zimbabwe and also plays South Africa in Group C. The top two from each of four three-team groups will go through to the Super Eight stage.

The tournament will be played at four venues and comprises the 10 test playing nations and two qualifiers. The eight-team women's event will begin Sept. 26, with both finals taking place in Colombo Oct. 7.

Grounds in Hambantota, Pallekele and Colombo will host the men's matches, while the group matches of the women's tournament will be played in Galle. There are 42 matches in total to be played in both categories.

"Nothing beats nation vs. nation contests and when these battles take place in the newest, sharpest and quickest form of the game then you can feel the excitement in fans," said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.

"We all know how passionate and loyal the Sri Lankan public is towards our great sport and we will ensure the tickets are affordable so that they can enjoy the event."