In the first week of ICC Champions Trophy 2017, 8 top ranked teams played at least one match so far in their respective groups. Teams of the group of death have played two matches. Two matches have already concluded with no result for weather interruptions.
It often rains in England in early June but the days being long, it is not very usual that matches required abandoning for rain. It is never right making judgement from one match in such a tournament of intense contest.
The situation in Group A stands such that England winning matches against Bangladesh and New Zealand have assured a semi-final berth. Any of the other three teams have opportunity to join England for knock out stage. India and South Africa in Group B stands out as two likely teams moving ahead.
This write up would attempt making review of the matches played so far. Home team England beat Bangladesh in the first match by 7 wickets in the first match. They also outgunned New Zealand by 87 runs in their second match. The other two matches of group A between Australia Vs New Zealand and Australia vs Bangladesh were abandoned for rain interruptions.
England with 4 points leads the points table while Australia with 2 points from two matches is in danger of exiting from the tournament if it fails winning against England in the last match. New Zealand was looking like winning its first match against Australia till rain interrupted. It has 1 point from two matches.
It can still qualify if it wins the match against. Bangladesh is also in the hunt. They however not only need winning the last match against New Zealand but also need the result of other matches going their way. England beating New Zealand yesterday has in fact confined the battle among the three teams. In group B tournament favorites South Africa and India have won their first matches against 7 and 8 ranked teams Sri Lanka and Pakistan quiet comfortably.
We are not sure Pakistan or Sri Lanka can create any major upset. India and South Africa most likely would move ahead with the match between them decide who heads the group. Group A Matches Review (06/06/2017) England got the better of Bangladesh in the first match in a high scoring match.
Bangladesh in its first appearance after a while posted very impressive 305/6 in allotted overs. Flamboyant Tamim scored the first century of the event producing very attractive and entertaining stroke play. Consistent Mushfiqur pairing with him played a quality innings as well. Bangladesh made a very slow start and also failed to keep the momentum going in the last 5 overs when two set batsmen Tamim and Mushfiqur left in quick succession.
On an easy paced wicket with no seam movement or swing even 305 was considered at least 25-30 runs short. England’s formidable batting line up comfortably overhauled the large target riding on wonderful unbeaten century of Joe Root and half centuries of Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan. Bangladesh bowlers hardly made any impression on the power English batting.
However, injury to talented all-rounder Chris Woakes limping off the ground after few overs is the only set back of the home team. Out of form opening Jason Roy also need to get back into form soon. England’s bats deep and on their known wickets and environment looks like the team going to distance. It has fire power in batting, quality in both pace bowling and spin.
It may only fail if it loses both of its matches against Australia and New Zealand. England did not play leg spinner Adil Rashid in the first match which was not liked by the observers. With Woakes not possibly available for next matches he may be back in the team and together with Moeen Ali is expected making impacts. England won the important match against New Zealand comfortably securing a semi -final berth.
Put into bat England posted another impressive score of 310 riding on three quality half centuries from Hales 56 , Root 64 and Buttler61).Milne 3/79) ,Anderson (3/55) and Southee (2/44) bowled well within themselves but could not resist strong England batting line up piling up match winning target again.
Scoring 300 plus score has become almost a routine for England. When New Zealand chased none but Williams (87) and Taylor (39) could match very penetrative bowling of English bowlers. Plunkett (4/55), Jack Ball (2/31) and Adil Rashid (2/47) were the main tormentor in Kiwis getting wings clipped for 223.
Pre-tournament favorite Australia is in a spot of bother after both of its matches against New Zealand and Bangladesh got rained out. With 2 points from 2 matches they face a steep challenge of beating the inform England. Australian pacers had relatively off day against New Zealand trying bowling too full.
Though Hazelwood got six wickets but all bowlers leaked too many runs. Starc, Cummins, Henrique, Head failed making much impacts. Kiwis posted a changing score of 291 and their bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee bowled tight reducing Australia to 59/3 in rain curtailed match.
Warner, Flinch and Henrique got out and Duckworth & Lewis method made target steeper against quality bowling. But further rain washed out the match making teams sharing points. By the look of it Australia rather escaped defeat. Rain was in the forecast when Australia and Bangladesh met at Oval.
It was after several years these two teams appeared in ODI against each other in ICC Contest. Last time when they were due to meet in world cup group match in Brisbane in 2015 the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Bangladesh won the toss and keeping the weather forecast in mind decided to bat. Wicket had not much to bother.
But Australian bowlers this time bowled fast and in the right channels strangling free stroke making Bangladeshi batsmen. None but flamboyant Tamim Iqbal could play an innings of substance. Tamim scored 95 of the 182 that Bangladesh managed. The only other batsman who created some resistance was Shakib scoring 29.
Starc failing to swing the ball early looked unplayable in his last spell taking 4/29. Hazelwood, Cummins, Head and Zampa bowled exceedingly well meaning business. But rain came as soon as Bangladesh Innings was over. When play resumed after the break Australia looked cruising at 80/1 in 16 overs.
But rain again and this time incessant made premature end of the game forcing Australia share points with Bangladesh. Nature evened out the advantage Australia got from rain in earlier match against New Zealand. England with two wins from two stormed into semi-finals as the first team to go.
Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand all have opportunity for joining England. Australia needs win over England. New Zealand and Bangladesh need England beating Australia and win their match.
If both the matches are washed out Australia would join England without winning any match. Shall Review Group B matches after teams complete their second round tomorrow.