Rob Handley picks out his best bets from the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy.
The ICC Champions Trophy tends to get lost in the cricketing calendar as an understudy to the World Cup. Recently found competitiveness and style, which has blessed the 50 over format of late, has given the competition a shot in the arm with everyone but Sri Lanka and Bangladesh posing a realistic chance of winning. Unlike the World Cup, only Test nations take part in the Champions Trophy. Big runs, close games and few dead rubbers all suggest edge of your seat entertainment for fans and punters.
The ICC formally announces the groups for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 #CT2017 ď pic.twitter.com/efk9OV7MBT— Ch Ihtisham cheema (@ihtishamulhaqch) July 21, 2016
Firepower in the batting department is almost equal for every major player in this tournament. Whether it’s De Villiers, Kohli or Buttler to name a few, you really can see big runs being scored here. For me the teams to watch are India and New Zealand.
Starting with the former, where many of Kohli’s men have featured in the IPL so are well in the swing of playing competitive high stakes cricket. Traditionally Indian batsmen struggle in England due to the moving ball but domestic 50 over scores are suggesting otherwise. To add to this, two of their group games are being played The Oval, a venue which produces batting friendly decks and outfields alike. They’ve got the quality and firepower in all areas to top Group B and go on to win the tournament.
Onto New Zealand who are often spoke about as the “dark horse” for big tournaments. Look through their teamsheet and it's immediately obvious that they have the strength in all departments to give any opposition cause for concern. Big hitting Guptill, the quality of Williamson and a spinner in Jeetan Patel who knows the English pitches like the back of his hand are just three reasons why the black caps need to be taken seriously. At a massive 10/1 to win the tournament outright, I think they are wise smaller investment.