In this second post previewing the upcoming International Cricket Council Champions Trophy taking place in England and Wales, we look at the teams in Group B – India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Read our preview of Group A here: 2017 ICC Champions Trophy – Group A
The ICC Champions Trophy holders, having won the last staging of this tournament in a reduced 20-overs a side final against England at Edgbaston in 2013, enter this year’s version as one of the favourites – and if they come through, they will be the second side to successfully defend their Champions Trophy title after Australia did so in 2009. No pressure.
These are the players to keep an eye on for India:
If India’s talismanic captain can rack up 245 runs over the next two weeks, he will move to 8,000 career ODI runs.
Virat also currently sits on 27 centuries in the ODI format, good enough for fourth place in the world. One more century in the tournament and he will draw level with Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya in third place.
The man Virat replaced as captain, MS Dhoni, is currently India’s fifth highest run scorer in One Day Internationals with 9275 runs. 104 more runs will see him overtake Mohammad Azharuddin’s 9378 and move up to fourth place.
Perhaps more excitingly for wicketkeeper fans, Dhoni has effected 94 stumpings in his One Day International (ODI) career, and needs an unlikely but not impossible six more to become the first ever keeper to reach a century of stumpings, and in doing so would surpass Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara’s current world record of 99.
If India reach the semi-finals, and Yuvi plays in every game along the way, he will move from his current 296 ODI appearances to the milestone of 300 games for his country, the fifth Indian after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly to reach those dizzying heights. That’s some very grand company.
One of India’s two potentially game-changing spin-bowling all-rounders fittingly has his eye on both a batting milestone and a bowling one.
Wielding the blade, Ravindra requires 112 runs to move to 2000 ODI runs.
With the ball in hand, he needs six wickets on top of his current tally of 151 to move onto 157, enough to give him a share of tenth place in India’s all-time ODI wicket takers’ list with both Manoj Prabhakar and Ashish Nehra, passing Sachin Tendulkar’s 154 along the way.
The holder of the world record for highest ever individual ODI score, Rohit currently has 5131 ODI runs in his career. A further 108 runs in this tournament will see him overtake Gautam Gambhir in eleventh spot in India’s all time list, while 229 will see him dislodge Ajay Jadeja from the top ten.
Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami
Finally, two of India’s quick bowlers, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami currently have 88 and 87 ODI wickets to their names respectively – needing 12 and 13 to move to the mark of a century of wickets each. Can either of them make it?
Although Pakistan have both a World T20 International (T20I) and a ODI World Cup title to their name, they have yet to make the final of a Champions Trophy, and only narrowly managed to qualify for this version, squeezing out the West Indies to claim the eighth and final qualifying spot. Hopes are not high for their chances this time around, but a few of their players will be seeking personal milestones at least:
The all-rounder needs three more appearances to notch up 250 for his country, enough to move him into joint sixth place with Ijaz Ahmed in Pakistan’s all time ODI appearance list.
Pakistan’s opening batsman needs 114 runs to move on to 5842 in his career, and to knock Rameez Raja out of Pakistan’s top ten runs scorers in the format.
Called in as a late replacement to Pakistan’s 15 man squad for the tournament, if Sohail can make 226 runs in the next two weeks, he will move to 1000 in the format for his country.
Pakistan’s quick bowler currently has 86 ODI wickets, so 14 more will take him to a nice round 100.
Sssh, don’t mention the “C” word. South Africa will once again be looking to rid themselves of their storied curse in major ICC tournaments, although they can lay claim to winning the first ever staging of what became the Champions Trophy when they won the inaugural ICC Knockout Trophy in Bangladesh in 1998.
Expectations are high this time around, with the Proteas ranked number one in the world in ODI’s and heavily tipped to make the final. Keep a watchful brief on the following players as they work their way through the tournament:
If the big quick can break into the side, he needs 12 more wickets to move to 193, and into fifth place all time for the Proteas, leapfrogging Lance Klusener in the process.
The all-rounder will be looking for six wickets to bring up his 100 in the format, currently having taken 94.
With 96 appearances to his name, South Africa’s big-hitting middle order batsman will be hoping his side makes at least the semi-finals with him in the team, as he needs four more appearances to bring up 100.
AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla
Two of the undoubted stars of the modern game, Hashim Amla and AbdV both have 24 One day International centuries to their name, sharing sixth place in the world’s all time list of century-makers. They’ll both be looking to hit one more to reach 25 and move level in fifth place with Kumar Sangakarra , or just maybe bag two to move ahead of the master Sri Lankan.
The islanders have a World Cup title to their name in both ODI and T20I formats, and can also boast a joint Champions Trophy success when they shared the trophy with India in 2002 following a washed out final on their home turf of Colombo.
Although always dangerous in tournaments, they are not expected to do too well this time around with a side very much in transition, but pay attention to the performances of a few of their players as they approach the following milestones:
Malinga the Slinger currently has 291 ODI wickets in the bag, needing nine more to reach a fabulous 300. Should he reach the target, he will become just the 13th player in the history of the game to do so, and the third Sri Lankan after Chaminda Vaas and Sanath Jayasuriya.
Malinga’s fellow quick is much closer to his personal milestone, needing just one more wicket to reach 200.
Tharanga needs 71 more runs to reach 6000 ODI runs for Sri Lanka.
If Chamara appears in all three of Sri Lanka’s group games, he will move from 97 to 100 ODI appearances in the blue and yellow uniform.