The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 takes place from 1 to 18 June and will deliver some scintillating matches. The top 8 teams in the world are split into two groups, with the top two teams from each group moving into the knock out stages.
Below we preview the 4 betting favourites to lift the trophy.
The Proteas are currently ranked number one in the ICC ODI rankings and will be one of the favourites going into the tournament. The team has a great balance in the squad and have had some superb success over the past 24 months with series victories over India, England, New Zealand and white wash victories over Australia and Sri Lanka.
On paper South Africa have arguably the best side in the tournament. Lead by the world’s best batsmen in AB De Villiers and top ranked Bowler Imran Tahir. At the top of the order you have the effective, fast scoring openers in Amla and de Kock followed by the world class Du Plessis and De Villiers and to finish off the innings, the hard hitting David Miller. The bowling attack is spear headed by the young Rabada before Imran Tahir is throws the ball and weaves his magic.
In 1998 the Protea’s won the tournament and in 2013 they reached the Semi Finals. The choking tag is still looming over their heads as they famously fail in major tournaments.
Squad: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Keshav Maharaj, Dwaine Pretorius, Farhaan Behardien, Morne Morkel
Australia failed dismally in the 2013 tournament failing to progress from the group stages. Rest assured they will be looking to make amends and win the title to add to their previous titles in 2006 and 2009.
Australia have a very imposing batting line up with Warner, Finch, Smith and Maxwell able to take a game away from any team. If there is a weakness it’s in their bowling attack which has been inconsistent due to injuries and other factors. If Mitchel Starc, who underwent foot surgery 3 months ago, can regain his form and lead the attack then his ability to seam the ball on the English surface will prove menacing, Starc will be backed up by the talented Hazlewood and Cummings.
Despite recent poor ODI form, having lost the series to New Zealand and South Africa this year, Australia are the bookies favourite.
Betting Odds: 33-10
Squad : Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa
India is the defending champion, winning the tournament in 2013 and will be one of the favourites going into the tournament.
The team is led by Kohli who had a reasonable IPL with the bat. This will be Kohli’s first major tournament as captain and he will look for assistance from the experienced Dhoni. India have a balanced squad with tons of experience, 8 players return from the 2013 winning squad, which might prove the difference in the business end of the tournament. Interestingly, they have recalled Yuvraj Singh to strengthen the middle order which has been a weakness in the past.
Coached by the respected Anil Kumble the India team along with South Africa, will be favourites to progress to the Semi Finals from Group B .
Betting Odds: 4-1
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Dinesh Karthik
England have the added pressure and expectation to do well as host of the tournament. Home advantage and knowledge of the conditions make England one of the favourites in the tournament despite being ranked 5th in current ODI rankings.
England have some world class players in the likes of Root, Stokes and Butler. The squad is balanced and can bat down to number seven and recently beat South Africa, the number one ranked side, in the warm up series 2-1.
The side reached the final in 2004 and 2013, both times they were the host, so potentially they could go one better and take the victory to be crowned ICC Trophy Champions.
Betting Odds: 28-10
Squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.