ICC Champions TrophyThursday, June 6th, 2013
The thrilling 8 team ICC Champions Trophy is upon us.
The tournament, which may be being played for its last time if the ICC can get a much coveted Test World Cup into action by 2017, is an invitational for the top 8 sides and it’s shorter length means it is widely praised by players and pundits alike.
After the World Cup, it is the most sort after limited overs prize and teams will play their strongest side throughout, even in an Ashes summer. The format is a round robin in two groups of 4, before Semi Finals and a Final to determine the outright victor.
Here is a step by step guide of all 8 teams competing, with predictions of how things will pan out.
The Aussies have had a tough few years since the retirement of some of the all time great cricket players from their team. No longer the world’s best, they rely heavily on captain Michael Clarke whose fitness due to a back problem is always questioned. They have won the tournament twice previously and will hope little known limited overs specialist Glen Maxwell can fire them towards the later stages with his powerful hitting.
The English will sport their new red kit for the tournament and will hope it can lead to come red-emption after their poor display in the series against the Kiwis. Their ODI is mixed to say the least and Cook and Trott can end up wasting valuable overs if they throw their wickets away and don’t accelerate. The key man is Eoin Morgan who provides the much needed sparkle without KP’s big hitting.
The Kiwis will be facing England again in this tournament and have experience in beating them in the UK. They could be a dark horse and actually won this tournament in 2000, their only international silverware to date. They have players that can fire under pressure and if Daniel Vettori can be fit and Brendan McCullum can play his usual devastating game with the bat they could knock out an Ashes side.
An ageing team that will be looking for one last hurray to see off some greats of the game, Sri Lanka will also hope to bed in some of their rising stars. Their recent form in ODIs has been good and they have drawn series with Australia and whitewashed New Zealand in 2 of their last 3 series. They will hope of a repeat of that to see them through to the semi finals.
Considered by some to be the favourites, the Indians know how to play ODIs. Dhoni can hit the ball a mile and captains with flair, although with Dhawan being recalled at opener after 2 years things are not all completely settled in the Indian camp. The team ranked number 1 in the world will take some beating and any team that can beat them will have earned the trophy.
Their matches with India are always supercharged and group B will see one of these famous clashes. Pakistan are underdogs but are capable of putting up fantastic scores and bowling superbly. If they manage to pull enough good performances out of the bag, they should qualify.
The West Indies
The Windies will look to Dwayne Bravo for leadership and will hope that ex captain Darren Sammy will also offer them skill with the bat. Tino Best will be the key man with the ball, pace, energy and genuine movement can cause chaos when he gets it right. Another team that need to find consistency.
Ex winners South Africa have a wonderful squad. de Villiers, Amla and co will aim to put huge scores that are easily defendable but their bowling attack will be able to smash teams out for small totals as well. Strong in both elements of the game, a lot of people are looking forward to the early South Africa v India game as the two favourites attempt to gain an early advantage.
betinternet.com have markets on the overall tournament and each individual match so get your bets on now and watch the fun unfold on Sky Sports.