The ICC champions trophy is one of the most challenging cup to win in the cricket universe. Top eight teams in world cricket playing for their pride. This is the eight edition of the tournament, and looks as if it is the most unpredictable one. With the tigers of Bangladesh replacing the hard hitting West indians, we now look to have a game on in the tournament.
The unpredictable weather of UK has once again affected several important matches and we are almost through to the next stage of the tournament.
Unpredictable turn arounds:
The tournament started off with rather one sided games such as England beating Bangladesh and India beating Pakistan. It now seems to have come alive. The underdogs, Pakistan restricting the number one ranked South Africa for 219/8 and defeating them by 14 runs(DLS method). Imad Wasim with his left arm orthodox dismissed Hashim Amla and the number one ODI batsman, Ab De Villiers for a golden duck for the first time ever. The big show was Hassan Ali with his three quick wickets, bowling beautiful in-dippers and destroying the South African middle order. The debutant, Fakhar Zaman was impressive, played fearless cricket and scored a quickfire 31(23 balls) with six blistering boundaries. South Africa managed to get to a well below par scored of 219 runs because of Miller’s consistency who scored 75(104 balls) Morne Morkel was the pick of the bowler for South Africa taking 3 wickets in 7 overs by the economy rate of 2.5, although he got hit for two boundries before the arrival of rain. Pakistan were ahead in the DLS scenario, and got their first victory in the table.
And who could have imagined Sri Lanka chasing 321 runs against the mighty in form Indian bowling? After India’s destructive batting, it almost seemed impossible for the so called underdogs to chase down a mighty score. The opening partnership just like the last game was the key factor for the Indian team as they got off to a flyer. Shikhar Dhawan scored 125(128 balls) along with his partner Rohit Sharma who scored 78(79 balls) And Dhoni who delivered a quickfire 63(52) in the end.
Sri Lanka walked out with full confidence and started their innings with attacking from the very first over. Dickwella’s early dismissal could not stop Sri Lanka from scoring above 6 RPO. Gunathilaka and Mendis both scored 70+ runs, but unfortunately got runout because of some poor calling and excellence in the field by the indians. Kusal Perera also scored a quick 47(44 balls) but got retired hurt because of cramps in his hamstring. It was Angelo Mathews who finished the game along with the young gun Gunaratne with three overs to spare.
The Indian team now have to win the match against Ab De Villiers and co. to actually qualify for the next stage of the tournament. The same scenario goes for Sri Lanka in their next game.
While we head over to Group A, the finalists of CWC 2015(New Zealand & Australia) have been knocked out of the tournament. Bangladesh with excellence in their bowling restricted New Zealand for 264 runs. But chasing 265 runs seemed not far from impossible when Southee and Boult ripped through the top order of Bangladesh having them 33/4. Thanks to Mahmudullah and Shakib’s centuries, Bangladesh got easily home with 2.4 overs to spare. England on the other hand will qualify for the semi finals earning the top spot.
Australia nonetheless pretty much got the start they wanted against England but unfortunately could only manage 277 runs losing five wicket as well as scoring only 6 RPO in the last ten overs of the game. However, they dismissed England’s top three batsmen having them 35/3. But shortly after the rain interruption, Stokes and Morgan almost made sure to chase Australia’s below par score after being 240/4 in 40.4 overs until rain once again spoiled the party. However, England won by 40 runs(DLS method) in the end.
While we have two confirmed participant in the knockout stage, India, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri lanka will be fighting for their spot to join England and Bangladesh in the semi final. India will take on South Africa which will in other words be a quarter final, similar scenario will be in the game between Pakistan and Sri lanka. Who will come on top? only the time will tell.
In-form Players to look out for:
India vs South Africa: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Fakhar Zaman, Danush Gunathilika, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne