One of cricket’s major tournaments is set to get underway next week.
The ICC Champion’s trophy will see the eight best One Day International teams in the world go head-to-head in the UK. The teams are split into two groups, with the nations who finish first and second progressing to the next stage.
The knockout phase of the tournament is a ‘win or go home’ situation, with two games being played, and the victors making it through to the final.
Australia has twice won the competition, but their last victory came in 2009.
Let’s see how the tournament is shaping up.
ICC ODI Ranking: 2nd
Squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Adam Zampa
Australia will head into the tournament as one of the favourites to take the trophy. They sit second in the ICC rankings and have been strong in the fifty over format. It’s been a competition which they haven’t won for almost 10 years, which is a relatively large drought for the boys in the green and gold. It’s unclear as to who exactly will take the field consistently, however, the word is that a four-pronged pace attack could be on the cards. They have the makings of a side who should challenge for the trophy and this could be the year for Australia.
X-Factor: Marcus Stoinis – We saw how good he can be during his all-round performance against New Zealand in the summer just past. He has been officially cleared from a shoulder injury that occurred during the IPL. This tournament could be part two of the Marcus Stoinis coming out party.
Predicted finish: Winners
ICC ODI Ranking: 7th
Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Mehedi Hasan, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Sunzamul Islam, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed
Bangladesh look set to surprise some people in the Champions Trophy. As they continue to wrestle with being a fully-fledged and a respected cricketing nation, they have a great opportunity here. They will enter the tournament with form, having knocked over New Zealand yesterday in an ODI. Keep your eye on the Tigers.
X-Factor: Shakib Al Hasan
Predicted finish: 6th
ICC ODI Ranking: 5th
Squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
Not as highly ranked as some of the other nations, however, playing on their home deck will play a big role. Their batting is relatively strong, and Ben Stokes is coming off an impressive IPL campaign. Their bowling will be the difference between an appearance in the final, and struggling to progress through the group stage. However, we’ll give their attack the benefit of the doubt because of they are playing at home.
X-Factor: Adil Rashid – The English leg-spinner has the potential to be a game changer for his side. He will be bowling to take wickets and has proven that he can do exactly that. In an attack that could struggle, Rashid could be the one they turn to.
Predicted finish: Runners-up
ICC ODI Ranking: 4th
Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Jeetan Patel, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor
Heading into the tournament, New Zealand have not been convincing. They dropped a game to Bangladesh yesterday, and only just got over the line against them a week ago. They do have the quality to progress, however will need someone who isn’t Williamson, and Guptill to stand up with the bat. Watch out for Boult, and Southee in the swinging England conditions.
X-Factor: Martin Guptill – The New Zealand opener has the ability to destroy teams with the bat. He can bat aggressive, and do so for long periods of time. Guptill’s wicket is incredibly important, and if teams fail to remove him early, they could be in strife.
Predicted finish: 5th
ICC ODI Ranking: 3rd
Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Ravi Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Yuvraj Singh
India have arguably the strongest batting unit in the tournament. The likes of Kohli, Sharma, Dhawan, Rahane, Jadeja, and Dhoni will send shivers through any opposition. Where they may come apart is their bowling attack. Ravi Ashwin is a star, but other than him they lack a strike bowler who can take the game away from the opposition.
X-Factor: MS Dhoni – At 35-years old, Dhoni is in the twilight of his career. However, as we saw in the IPL, he still has the ability to be devastating with the bat. Will we see another Dhoni masterpiece in the Champions Trophy.
Predicted finish: 3rd
ICC ODI Ranking: 8th
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c/wk), Haris Sohail, Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Fahim Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz
It’s been an interesting 12 months for Pakistan and this tournament should prove an interesting experience for them. The pressure will be on some of the elder statesman of the side, with likelihood some younger players, such as Babar Azam, will take the field. However, they do seem to lack the strength to make it past the group stage.
X-Factor: Wahab Riaz – The fiery fast bowler has the potential to torment players of all calibre. It wasn’t too long ago that he sent down a terrifying spell to Australia in the World Cup. If he can get back to that form, opposition batsmen should watch out.
Predicted finish: 7th
ICC ODI Ranking: 1st
Squad: AB de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla, Harhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada
South Africa come into the tournament as the number one ranked ODI side in the world. Hashim Amla was amazing during the IPL, and the quality of de Villiers, de Kock, and du Plessis doesn’t seem to fail often. It’s another side whose bowling attack may come under question, with no Dale Steyn someone will have to stand up and lead the attack. The form and play of Imran Tahir may also play a big role.
X-Factor: Kagiso Rabada – The youngster is one of the most promising talents in the world, and as shown how devastating his bowling could be. He can win a game for your side in the first ten overs. Will we remember this as the competition that Rabada took the world by storm?
Predicted finish: 4th
ICC ODI Ranking: 6th
Squad: Angelo Matthews (c), Upul Tharanga (vc), Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Nuwan Pradeep, Asela Gunaratne, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan
There is a number of familiar names in the squad for Sri Lanka. The likes of Tharanga, Kulasekara, and Malinga have been around for a long time. If Sri Lanka do struggle in this tournament, which is a big possibility, we could see a lot of new talent brought in to the side over the next months. A make or break tournament for many of this group
X-Factor: Dinesh Chandimal – The right-hand batsman has made over 100 ODI appearances for his country. He is not the most explosive batsman in the competition, but can make big scores if given the opportunity. If Chandimal can perform, Sri Lanka will make good scores throughout.
Predicted finish: 8th