ICC Champions Trophy 2017 – Preview

Tomorrow marks the opening game in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, as hosts England take on tournament outsiders Bangladesh, at the Kia Oval in London. With the quest for their first 50 over tournament title in full swing for England we decided to take a look at how this year’s tournament is shaping up and giving yourselves guidance on where the Champions Trophy will be won and lost for the participants.

When the draw was made it served up two feisty and competitive groups – something synonymous with the Champions Trophy due to having only 8 participants. In case you don’t know the groups line up as follows:

Group A: Australia, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh

Group B: South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan

As you can see there will be some unbelievable group games as the tournament gathers pace and amazingly Edgbaston seems to get the lucky draw. The famous stadium will host cricketing “derbys” in Australia vs New Zealand (Friday 2nd June), India vs Pakistan (Sunday 4th June) as well as the always mouth watering England vs Australia (Saturday 10th June)- the latter of which is being tipped as a match to either decide who qualifies or who wins the group, either way a huge game for both sides. Group B ends with a match that should decide who wins the group and ultimately gets the “easier” draw in the Semis, when The Oval hosts India vs South Africa on Sunday 11th June.

However you look at it the tournament is so exciting this time round and will host a plethora of superstar talent in every single side that will look to become champions. So how does each nation shape up? What can we expect from each nation? Who should we look out for? Well here is our guide side by side to point you in the right direction, starting with the hosts, England.

England

Odds: 3/1 Fav (Paddy Power)

Tournament History: Have been runners-up twice (2004 & 2013); the two previous times England has hosted tournament.

Key Man: England are now in a position where they have key men. Where most eyes will be on Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan mine will be on newly appointed test captain Joe Root, one of the best in the world right now in all formats and has the ability to win games on his own.

Prediction: Semi Finals

Ryan’s Tip: England’s Top Bowler – Liam Plunkett (5/1 Ladbrokes, Coral, Bet365)


Australia

Odds: 7/2 (BetFred, BetFair)

Tournament History: 2 x Winners (2006 & 2009); the only side to successfully defend their trophy.

Key Man: Like England Australia have key men, especially with the bat. They boast some of the best players in the shorter formats of cricket today. All eyes are firmly on Glenn Maxwell but if David Warner turns up firing then Australia will score a lot of runs.

Prediction: Group Stage Elimination – but, write Australia off at your peril.

Ryan’s Tip: Australia Top Batsman – David Warner (5/2 Paddy Power, Betfair)

David Warner has matured over the years into on of the best opening batsmen in World Cricket today

 

New Zealand

Odds: 9/1 (Bet365, Sky Bet, Ladbrokes, Coral)

Tournament History: Winners in 2000 before being beaten finalists in 2009

Key Man: Similarly to England and Australia it is all about having key men, however New Zealand differ to their rivals as their key men are the bowlers. Tim Southee adds experience to three key left-armers in Corey Anderson, Mitchell McCleneghan and the main man Trent Boult.

Prediction: Runners-up

Ryan’s Tip: New Zealand To Reach the Final (4/1 Coral, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Betfair)

Bangladesh

Odds: 66/1 (BetFred)

Tournament History: Have yet to win a Champions Trophy match and thus haven’t ever qualified for the semis.

Key Man: Bangladesh’s tournament rests heavily on their better first grade cricketers. If the likes of Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim can find some runs they will at least post defendable scores.

Prediction: Group Stage Elimination

Ryan’s Tip: Bangladesh Top Batsman – Mushfiqur Rahim (5/1 Bet365)
And that’s Group A taken care of. New Zealand are the dark horses for the tournament for me. They are a big price due to the fact they are no longer boasting the power and experience of Brendan McCullum, but they possess the capabilities throughout the rest of the squad to cause every side all sorts of trouble..

All eyes are on England as hosts. They have the momentum after their recent series win against South Africa. Plus, any side that struggles to fit Jonny Bairstow into it must be good, right? Anyway enough of that it’s now time to take a look at Group B starting with the holders, India.

India

Odds: 9/2 (Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral, Paddy Power)

Tournament History: Two times winners and current holders after beating England in 2013. Second seeds.

Key Man:
Obviously the key man is Virat Kohli. Captain. Match winner. Cricketing hero. He, Joe Root and Steve Smith are the three best total cricketers in the world for me.

Prediction:
Winners

Ryan’s Tip: India to be highest scoring team (9/2 Bet365)

The reigning champions India will be hard to beat throughout the tournament and in Kohli boast one of the world’s best

 

Pakistan

Odds: 22/1 (William Hill)

Tournament History: Three time semi finalists, never made the Champions Trophy Final.

Key Man: Being Pakistan’s first tournament without their heroic ex-captain Misbah Ul-Haq so it is up to the senior figures of the side to stand up and be counted. All eyes will be on the likes of Wahab Riaz and Mohammed Hafeez.

Prediction: Group Stage Elimination

Ryan’s Tip: Pakistan Top Bowler – Junaid Khan (8/1 William Hill)

 

South Africa

Odds: 4/1 (BetVictor, Betway)

Tournament History: Never made a Champions Trophy final.

Key Man: In Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock South Africa have the best opening partnership in cricket today. They also possess two in form ODI bowlers in Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell. But it is all about the main man and how he performs, of course I am talking about AB de Villiers.

Prediction: Semi Finals

Ryan’s Tip: South Africa to win Group B (7/5 Bet365)

 

Sri Lanka

Odds: 33/1 (Bet365, William Hill)

Tournament History: Co-winners of 2002 tournament and were beaten Semi Finalists last time out in 2013.

Key Man: A consistent tournament team who tend to win when the writing is on the wall and the pressure is on. Angelo Mathews is one of the better captains in International Cricket and in Lasith Malinga they have the single best death bowler I’ve ever seen.

Prediction: Group Stage Elimination

Ryan’s Tip: Sri Lanka To Qualify from Group Stage (10/1 BetFred, Betfair)

And there we have it. All teams assessed ahead of the big day. There will be plenty of action and plenty of high quality matches throughout the tournament. I for one am so excited about the start of the 2017 Champions Trophy. Come on England!!!

 

Hopefully this will be an image we will see a lot, man like Moeen!!


Ryan Butler

@abaconButtee