ICC Champions Trophy 2017 will take place in England this summer from 1st June to 18th June 2017 across three different venues in the United Kingdom. Only Top 8 teams ODI ranked teams will be competing in what will be the eighth edition of this highly competitive ODI cricket tournament. India are the defending champions as they won the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in England. We take a look at all eight teams and which are the favorites to go all the way.
Tournament features a group stage where we have two groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semifinals making it a very difficult tournament to get through the group stages. ICC has already announced the full schedule and the group stage.
India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka are in Group B while Australia, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh are in the Group A. We take a look at each team and how the weigh up against other top contenders.
#1. India (Favorites)
Having won the 2011 World Cup and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, Indian team is gradually growing into a consistent unit. In Virat Kohli they have a captain who leads from the front and build his team around attack in both bowling and batting. Historically India have struggled in England but their 2013 Champions Trophy triumph in the UK was something they can build on. They remain an outstanding batting unit rely heavily on their top order to post big scores however their bowling is bang average and thats where they struggle even if they can post 300+ runs consistently.
I can see them beating Pakistan and Sri Lanka and qualifying for the semifinals where they will need one of Kohli’s trademark knocks to get into the finals.
#2. Australia (potential finalists)
Australia is and always been a top ODI team, even when you look at their current squad which do not have any world beater at the moment. They have a quality balanced squad and they tend to cope better on English wickets than another other touring nation.
Currently holding no.1 spot in ODI rankings Australia should just sail through the group stages into the semifinals where they might face either India or South Africa depending on Group B results. I can see them getting into the finals.
#3. New Zealand
Another very balanced ODI team currently ranked #2 in ODI rankings just behind Australia. New Zealand has never won a major international cricket tournament and this champions Trophy is there best chance with the kind of squad they have at the moment. They should make it to the semifinals at least alongside Australia from Group A.
Since losing to Australia in World Cup 2015 final, New Zealand has build on that and now look probably the most balanced ODI squad at the moment. It won’t surprise me if they go a step further this time and finally win a major event.
#4. South Africa
Extremely talented unite who recent eclipsed Australia in the ODI rankings and now sit top of the charts. South Africa always go into the major ICC tournaments as one of the favourites. Usually get to a great start but choke when it really matters. They are in a group with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka all winable games fom the Proteas. Its the knockout stage where they usually freeze and I expect another meltdown in Semifinals.
So there you have it folks, our four potential semifinalists. England playing at home can pull off a surprise but their form has been too inconsistent to consider them as favorites.