England v West Indies – 2nd Test Preview

There was supposed to only be four days’ rest in between the first and second Tests of England’s three-match series against West Indies. As it turned out, England’s thumping victory within three days (or days and nights to be more precise) has given both sides extra time off to prepare for this game (or to practice their golf swings at least.)

England will be looking to wrap up successive Test series during the second Test, which starts at Headingley in Leeds on Friday morning (yes, morning!) For their part, the West Indians will be hoping against all odds that a quick turnaround in their fortunes will bring about their first Test win in England since the year 2000.

There is much to watch out for from an individual player milestone perspective too:

Jimmy Anderson (England)

Jimmy’s longtime fast bowling partner-in-crime Stuart Broad took most of the milestone headlines at Edgbaston, having overtaken Ian Botham as England’s second highest Test wicket-taker.

However all eyes will be on Anderson’s “W” column in this test, as he sits on 492 wickets, only eight shy of becoming just the sixth bowler in Test cricket history to crack the 500 barrier. If he gets there, he will only the third fast bowler after Glenn Mcgrath and Courtney Walsh to get there.

Jimmy will also edge one place up a much more obscure ladder in this match, as his 27,724 balls bowled in the longest format sees him just 16 balls behind Kapil Dev in eighth place. So on the fifth ball of Jimmy’s third over bowled, be sure to raise a glass to that!

Alastair Cook (England)

Such are Chef’s stats at the moment, that he seems to be a perennial feature in these updates. Cook’s 243 masterpiece at Edgbaston moved him to 11,568 career runs. If he can squeak out four more runs at Headingley and score 247, he’ll move past Mahela Jayawardene into eighth place overall worldwide.

Perhaps more likely is a potential 32nd Test century, which would see him move into the World top ten for that statistic, alongside Australia’s Steve Waugh.

He also needs just one more catch at slip to notch up 150 grabs for his country.

Stuart Broad (England)

Having moved past one England legend in the wicket stakes in the first Test, Broad will move alongside in this one. His 108th Test for England sees him move up from 10th to joint 9th place alongside Geoffrey Boycott.

Jonny Bairstow (England)

Such is the impressive nature of YJB’s keeping, that in what seems like a blink of the eye, he already sits in eleventh place in the “dismissals” column of England’s record books – with 112 catches and 6 stumpings totalling 118 dismissals.

Two more at his home ground in Leeds will move him past Colin Cowdrey and Ian Botham into tenth place, and three more also past his ultimate boss Andrew Strauss into ninth. I doubt Strauss would mind too much!

Jason Holder (West Indies)

Much like positives to take from Edgbaston, its slim pickings for milestones for West Indies’ players here. However, six runs for captain Holder will see him notch up his 1000 in the format, currently sitting on 994.

England v West Indies – 1st Test Preview

Thursday sees the English Test summer enter its second phase with the first of a three-match series between England and the West Indies.

The match at Edgbaston in Birmingham has extra significance for England, being the first day/night Test for the home side. The Windies have a little more experience with the pink ball, having previously played one Test under lights, against Pakistan in Dubai earlier this year. They will be hoping for a better result though, as they lost that encounter by 56 runs.

This upcoming match will be the 153rd encounter between the two sides, with the visitors leading by 54 wins to England’s 46, with 51 games having been drawn. On English soil, the hosts lead 32 wins to 29.

England are now ranked 3rd in the world Test rankings after their 3-1 series win earlier in the summer against South Africa, and hence will start as strong favourites. The West Indies by contrast are ranked 8th, only ahead of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and have not won a Test series for nearly three years. You have to go back to 1998 for the last time they won a series against England, although the sides did split the last set they played, 1-1 in the Caribbean in 2015.

The first Test may also see some personal milestones:

Mark Stoneman, Mason Crane (England) & Kyle Hope, Raymon Reifer (West Indies)

With two uncapped players in each squad, there could be as many as four debutants making their Test bow at Edgbaston.

Surrey opener Stoneman is the most likely to play, having been named the latest to try and stop the England opener revolving door. Eleven players have tried to keep Alastair Cook company since Andrew Strauss’s retirement and all have failed (or at least been deemed to have failed) – will it be twelfth time lucky for England’s selectors?

If Kyle Hope plays, it could be either alongside or in place of his brother Shai, who is also in the Windies’ squad.

Chris Woakes (England)

Local boy and talented all-rounder Woakes will be hoping to force his way back into the team following an injury-enforced absence. Prior to his injury, he had gone a long way to establishing himself as England’s third seamer, but will now face a selection battle with Toby Roland-Jones, who looked mightily impressive in his two games against South Africa at The Oval and Old Trafford.

If Woakes does play, he needs three wickets with the pink ball to bring up 50 Test scalps in England whites.

Stuart Broad (England)

Fellow seamer Broad has not grabbed the headlines so far this summer, but has slowly and quietly been edging his way closer to a very significant milestone. He sits on 379 Test match wickets, and five more in this game will see him move past legendary all-rounder Ian Botham’s 383 and into second place all-time for England.

Only team mate Jimmy Anderson has more – over a hundred more – 487 and counting.

Alastair Cook (England)

Ex-skipper Cook takes to the Edgbaston turf it what will be his 145th Test match – enough to see him move into the world all-time top ten appearances list, alongside Australia’s Shane Warne.

Jason Holder (West Indies)

The West Indies captain leads an inexperienced squad into battle in England. He will be looking to lead from the front with both bat and ball, needing 17 runs and nine wickets to bring up his 1000-run and 50-wicket milestones.

England v South Africa (Basil D’Olivera Trophy) Fourth Test Preview

The four-match series between England and South Africa concludes with the fourth Test at Old Trafford in Manchester on Friday.

England lead the series 2-1 following their crushing 239-run defeat of the Proteas at the Oval earlier this week, retaining the Basil D’Olivera Trophy they won on South African soil in 2015/16 in the process.

The hosts will be looking to wrap up a first home series win against their African visitors since 1998, whilst Faf du Plessis’s team will be desperate to level the series, and end their largely disappointing tour of England on something of a high. After losing both the ODI and T20I series between the two sides earlier in the summer, the South Africans can at least share the spoils of the Test series with a win in the north-west.

The Test has been given some extra romance with the news announced on Thursday that the Pavilion End at Old Trafford has been renamed “The James Anderson End” in honour of the local Lancashire hero and England’s all-time leading wicket-taker. The Burnley Express will no doubt be looking to celebrate with a wicket or five from his very own end!

A number of other players will hope to reach some personal milestones during the Test too:

Hashim Amla (South Africa)

After a disappointing third Test at the Oval, Hashim Amla can take some solace that his 106th Test appearance for South Africa in the Old Trafford Test will move him past AB de Villiers into fifth place all-time for the Rainbow Nation.

He also only needs two further catches in the slips to move onto 95 catches and past Herschelle Gibbs into seventh place for his country.

Morne Morkel (South Africa)

The big quick has taken 498 wickets in South African colours across all formats of the game, snaffling 266, 186 and 46 Test, ODI and T20I wickets respectively. Just two more will bring up 500.

Joe Root (England)

England’s skipper may be on the wrong side of the Pennines for a Yorkshireman this week, but as well as looking to wrap up the series win, he’ll be aiming to score 46 more runs to bring up his 5,000 Test runs for England.

England v South Africa – 3rd Test Preview

The third Test of the four-match Basil D’Olivera Trophy series between England and South Africa takes place from Thursday at The Oval in south London.

The finely poised series is currently tied 1-1, with both sides having notched up a heavy win apiece over their opponents. The hosts cruised to a 211-run win in the first Test at Lords on the back of Joe Root’s 190 in his first innings as captain, and a ten wicket haul from Moeen Ali. South Africa however fought back with a crushing 340-run win over their hosts in the second Test at Trent Bridge.

So all to play for…will Root be able to lift his England team from their malaise in Nottingham, or will Faf du Plessis’s charges pick up where they left off in the midlands and carry their momentum back to London?

Several players on both sides will have their eye on milestones as the game unfolds:

Alastair Cook (England)

Former England captain Cook is currently tied with former Australian captain Allan Border on 11,174 runs, in equal ninth place in the list of highest Test run scorers. If Chef can avoid a pair, he will demote Border into tenth place and claim ninth spot all for himself.

Joe Root (England)

Cook’s replacement as England skipper needs 125 runs in the match to reach 5,000 test match career runs.

Ben Stokes (England)

Durham all-rounder Stokes will be looking for 23 runs in the game to bring up the 2,000 run milestone.

Stuart Broad (England)

Fast bowler Broad will make his 105th appearance for England in Tests, which will give him tenth place outright in England’s all time appearance list – knocking a certain Kevin Pietersen out of the top ten in the process.

Stuart currently has 373 Test wickets to his name, enough for joint 18th on the all time world wicket-taker list, alongside Pakistan quick Waqar Younis. Four wickets in the match will take him past West Indian Malcolm Marshall’s tally of 376, whilst a ten-for will see Broad move into equal second place in England’s all time list, matching Ian Botham’s 383.

Hashim Amla (South Africa)

South Africa’s leading batsman will make his 106th Test match appearance for the Proteas, bringing him alongside the resting AB de Villiers into joint fifth place for his country.

Quinton de Kock (South Africa)

Having taken 88 catches and effected 6 six stumpings behind the wickets, the Proteas keeper-batsman needs just six dismissals in the match to bring up his century of victims.

Vernon Philander (South Africa)

Often mysteriously underrated, burly all-rounder Philander has a current wicket tally of 169. Two more in this game will see him overtake pre-isolation era off-spinner Hugh Tayfield and move into seventh place for his country.


England v South Africa – 1st Test Review

On Sunday, England wrapped up an ultimately comfortable 211-run victory over South Africa on a highly eventful fourth day at Lord’s where the last 19 wickets of the 1st Test fell.

It was the perfect start to Joe Root’s England captaincy career, and his charges will go into Friday’s second Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham in great spirits.

There were a number of personal milestones achieved in the Test, some of which we accurately flagged here:

Moeen Ali (England)

England’s spinning all-rounder had the best match of his 38 Test England career to date, thoroughly deserving of his Man-of-the-Match award at the Home of Cricket.

His career best second innings figures of 6-53 were enough to see his name etched onto the famous Lord’s 5-wicket honours board for the second time, and his maiden ten-for in the match overall had the engraver working overtime as Moeen got himself on that board too.

The ten wickets saw him move from 98 scalps before the game to 108 by play’s end, and with the willow his 87 runs in the first innings also saw him past 2000 career runs. In terms of Tests played, Moeen became the second fastest England player to reach the 100 wickets/2000 runs double, in just one game more than the late Tony Greig.

All in all, a pretty good four days for the Worcestershire man!

James Anderson (England)

England’s all-time highest Test wicket-taker earned himself a world record in the Test, but it was with the bat not the ball that he etched his name into the record books.

When Jonny Bairstow became England’s tenth wicket to fall in their second innings, it left the Burnley Lara not-out in Tests for the 62nd time. He had previously shared the world record of 61 not-outs with the legendary West Indian fast bowler Courtney Walsh, but he can now lay claim to the record all by himself.

Hashim Amla (South Africa)

Although Hashim’s 40 runs in the test were not enough to see him to 8,000 runs just yet, let alone to move past AB de Villiers in third place overall for the Proteas, he did make an appearance in both batting innings, moving him to 177 innings for his country. This moved him past both de Villiers and Gary Kirsten into 4th place overall for South Africa.

Joe Root (England)

With his first-innings ton, England’s new skipper became the fourth consecutive England captain to make a century on their captaincy debut following Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook.

Root’s 190 was the highest score by an England captain on captaincy debut surpassing the 173 Cook scored in his first game in charge against Bangladesh in 2010.



England v South Africa – 1st Test Match Preview

After a seemingly endless wait, the first Test of the English summer is almost upon us, with England finally kicking off their Test series against South Africa on Thursday. The Basil d’Olivera trophy is up for grabs over four matches, starting with the first game at Lord’s, the home of cricket.

Both sides had disappointing ICC Champions Trophy campaigns, although England can at least take some comfort from winning both the ODI and T20I series 2-1 against the Proteas earlier in the summer. For the South Africans, however, this series is the last chance to take something positive out of a long, arduous and to-date rather unsuccessful tour of the British Isles.

South Africa are currently ranked 2nd in the ICC Test team rankings, with England two places behind in fourth. A series win for the hosts however will see them leapfrog Australia into third place.

Form wise, England’s last Test encounter saw them fall to a chastening 4-0 series defeat to India in late 2016, and prior to that they drew their previous two series in Bangladesh and at home to Pakistan last summer. Their last series win was over a year ago against Sri Lanka in the early part of the 2016 summer.

South Africa by contrast have won their last four Test series, and you have to go back 18 months to their last series defeat, at home against England. So although England are the current holders of the Basil d’Olivera trophy following that win in late 2015/early 2016, it is the Proteas who hold the better form.

Overall, the match at Lords will be the 146th Test match between the two sides, with England leading by 58 wins to 32. It is much closer in matches at Lord’s however, with England taking six wins to South Africa’s five from the 15 test matches played between the teams in St John’s Wood, NW8.

From an individual player perspective, there is much to keep an eye on over the next week or so:

Test captaincy debuts

Both sides will be represented at the toss by players marking their first game as captain for their national side.

Joe Root, long groomed as successor to Alastair Cook as England skipper, was officially appointed his permanent replacement earlier in the year following Cook’s captaincy resignation, and will become England’s 80th Test match captain.

For the Proteas, Dean Elgar stands in for usual captain Faf du Plessis who remains at home in South Africa following the birth of his child last week. By contrast, he will become just the 36th man to captain the South Africans in Tests.

Potential Test debuts

Four players as yet uncapped at Test level are in the squads for the first match of the series.

For England, Middlesex quick Toby Roland-Jones could become England’s 677th Test player if picked to play at his home ground.

For South Africa, opening batsman Heino Kuhn will likely make his debut in place of the dropped Stephen Cook, while the untried batsman Aiden Markram and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo are also in the 16-man Proteas squad, although neither are tipped to play in the opener.

Alastair Cook (England)

He may have resigned as captain, but opening bat Cook could potentially still have years ahead of him in the England Test side as a batsman.

He currently has 11,057 test runs to his name, enough for a place in the world top ten all-time runs scorers. Where he ultimately ends up on that list by the time he calls stumps on his career will be one of the most fascinating things to track over the next couple of years.

First cab off the rank in his quest to move up the rankings is former Australian captain Allan Border who sits 117 runs ahead of Cook on 11,174, and Essex’s finest will be looking to knock him down a notch in this game.

Hashim Amla (South Africa)

South Africa’s leading batsman has a host of personal milestones in his sights in this first test.

He currently has 7,952 test runs to his name, needing just 48 to become the fourth South African and 30th player worldwide to reach 8000 test runs.

A further 75 runs will see him move to 8,075 career runs, and past his ODI captain AB de Villiers (who has all but retired form the longer format) into third place overall for the Proteas, behind only Graeme Smith and the legendary Jacques Kallis.

Amla currently has 26 test centuries under his belt, and one more hundred will see him join Smith in joint second place for his nation.

If he bats in both innings this will take him to 177 test innings, and past both de Villiers and Gary Kirsten who currently sit in joint 4th place for South Africa on 176.

Finally, Hashim has taken 91 catches for his country, and four more from his usual spot in the slips will see him move past Herschelle Gibbs on 94 into 7th place for the Proteas.

Jimmy Anderson (England)

England’s all-time highest wicket-taker (and 6th highest in the world to boot) has a couple of the more obscure records in his sights during this Test.

Jimmy has flung the ball wicket-wards 26,840 times in Test matches, putting him in tenth place in the world for that particular stat. If called upon to bowl 276 more balls, he will move up to ninth in the list past the West Indies’ Lance Gibbs who bowled the ball 27,115 times.

With the willow in hand, England’s number eleven is currently joint top in the world for not-out innings. One more bit of red ink in the record books will see him move clear of another West Indian Courtney Walsh and claim that particular world record for himself.

Moeen Ali (England)

England’s spin bowling all rounder has personal milestones to look forward to with both bat and ball.

He needs 73 more runs to move to 2,000 in the longest format of the game for England, and just two wickets to bring up his century of victims.

Ben Stokes (England)

England’s other all-rounder, Durham’s talismanic Ben Stokes, also has 2000 runs in his sights, sitting just 98 away from the mark on 1,902.

Jonny Bairstow (England)

YJB, now firmly established as England’s Test keeper, has 93 catches in Tests, so needs just seven more to bring up a century of grabs.

Vernon Philander (South Africa)

The burly Philander has taken 161 Test wickets for South Africa, which sees him in eighth place for his country. An impressive nine wickets on the upcoming match will see him draw level with Hugh Tayfield in seventh place.



2017 ICC Women’s World Cup – Preview

For the second time this month, England plays host to a major ICC tournament – with the 11th staging of the Women’s World Cup roaring into life on Saturday, bringing together the top eight teams to do battle for the most important trophy in Women’s ODI cricket.

The month-long tournament of 31 matches will be played out at five county grounds around England, with Bristol, Taunton, Derby and Leicester staging the group stages and semi finals before the final is held at the home of cricket, Lord’s, on Sunday 23rd July. The eight teams will all play each other once in the round-robin group stage. The top four teams then progress to the semi-finals, with the winners of those two games meeting in the final on Sunday 23rd July.

Over the ten previous stagings of the Women’s World Cup, only three teams have won the tournament in its history – Australia claiming six titles, England three and the New Zealanders one, on home soil, in 2000.

Those three teams are the strong favourites again, alongside India, although if the other ICC tournament held in the UK this month has taught us anything it is that favourites can often falter and an outsider can land the prize against all odds!

From an individual player perspective, the following players will be looking to reach personal milestones throughout the tournament:

Ellyse Perry (Australia)

A dual football and cricket international, allrounder and superstar of the women’s game, Perry needs just 101 runs in the tournament to bring up 2000 ODI runs for Australia.

Alex Blackwell (Australia)

The Australian vice-captain has made 133 ODI appearances for her country. If Australia make it all the way to the final as expected, and Blackwell appears in all nine games, she will move ahead of former captain Karen Rolton as Australia’a all-time leading appearance-maker in ODIs.

Tammy Beaumont (England)

England batter Beaumont needs 182 runs to bring up 1000 in the 50-over format for her country.

Natalia Sciver (England)

Another England player looking to notch up 1000 runs for her country is Japan-born all-rounder Sciver, who currently has 837 career ODI runs and will be looking for 163 to make the mark.

Katherine Brunt (England)

The spearhead of England’s attack sits just three wickets behind her teammate Jenny Gunn as the host nation’s all-time leading ODI wicket taker, with 120 wickets to Gunn’s 123. They’ll be spurring each other on to do battle at the top of that tree.

Mithali Raj (India)

The tournament could see history made in the Women’s game, with India’s captain sitting on 5781 ODI runs, 211 behind the current world record run scorer in the 50 over format, England’s former captain Charlotte Edwards. With potentially nine games in which to overhaul Edwards, the chase is very much on.

Another 8 further runs will see Raj become the first woman to pass 6000 One-Day International runs.

Jhulan Goswana (India)

Seam bowler Goswana needs 15 wickets with the ball, and 73 runs with the bat to reach 200 wickets and 1000 runs respectively.

Suzie Bates (New Zealand)

The White Ferns’ captain needs just two more games to notch up 100 for her country.

Amy Satterthwaite (New Zealand)

New Zealand’s vice-captain will have her eye on two personal milestones as the group stage of the Women’s World Cup unfolds.

She currently has 2970 runs in the record books, needing just 30 more to reach 3000. Those runs have come in 95 appearances, so she’ll be celebrating her hundred during her fifth game of the tournament.

Javeira Khan (Pakistan)

Batsman Khan needs just 41 more runs to bring up 2000 in ODIS for Pakistan.

Sana Mir (Pakistan)

Spin bowler and Pakistani captain Sana Mir will reach 100 appearances for her country if she appears in five further games.

Mignon du Preez (South Africa)

The stakes are high for South Africa’s all-time leading run scorer and appearance maker, as she needs just one more game to bring up 100 for the Proteas.

Trisha Chetty (South Africa)

The Proteas’ wicketkeeper-batsman is the world=record holder for catches in women’s ODIs, with 91 grabs to her name. She’ll be looking for nine more to bring up a century.

Coincidentally, Chetty also needs nine appearances to bring up that hundred too – but South Africa will have to make it all the way to the final if she is to achieve that milestone in this tournament.

Shashikala Siriwardene (Sri Lanka)

if all-rounder Siriwardene appears in all seven of Sri Lanka’s round robin stage games, she will notch up 100 appearances for the Islanders.

Chamari Polgampola (Sri Lanka)

Chamari will be looking to hit 31 more runs to move from her current tally of 969 to 1000 for her country.

Stafanie Taylor (West Indies)

One of the likely stars of the Women’s World Cup, the West Indies’ Jamaican captain needs just two games to bring up 100 appearances in ODIs for the Caribbean federation.

She also needs 268 runs to bring up 4000 – which with an average of over 44 is not beyond the realms of possibility by any means.

Deandra Dottin (West Indies)

The Windies’ quick bowler also needs just two more appearance to bring up 100.


England v South Africa – T20I Series Preview

With England and South Africa both smarting from exiting the fifty-over ICC Champions Trophy prematurely earlier this month, they will be glad of the chance to move on to a new format and to put their disappointments behind them.

The sides play four Test matches later in the summer, but before that comes a full three-game T20 International series, with games scheduled to be played at The Rose Bowl, Southampton (Weds 21st June); Somerset’s County Ground in Taunton (Fri 23rd June); and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff (Sunday 25th June)

Neither side have played a T20 international since February, and both are resting several key men from their squads for these encounters. England are without first-choice players Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jake Ball, while South Africa are resting a similar number of top players in their usual T20 captain Faf du Plessis as well as Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy and Kagiso Rabada.

There are potential international debuts (in any format) for no less than five players in England’s squad – batsmen Liam Livingstone (Lancashire) and Dawis Malan (Middlesex), spinner Mason Crane (Hampshire) and quick bowlers Tom Curran (Surrey) and Craig Overton (Somerset). For their part, South Africa could hand T20I caps to spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and quick bowler Dwaine Pretorius.

With so much change from their usual squads, it is probably somewhat irrelevant that England are currently ranked second in the world in the shortest format as compared to the Proteas sixth place, and the fact that England won the ODI series 2-1 in May will count for little either. But both teams will be looking to get back to winning ways.

Individually, the players to watch out for as they approach personal milestones are as follows:

Eoin Morgan

England’s white-ball skipper currently has 1,568 T20 International runs to his credit, which is enough to see him in 11th place in the world for runs scored in the format. Such is the tight nature of the race ahead of him that 123 runs in the series could see Morgan rocket up the ladder to sixth place in the world, passing Pakistanis Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaid Mailk (1620 and 1626 in 10th and 9th respectively); the Proteas’s rested JP Duminy in 8th on 1684; Aussie David Warner in 7th on 1687; and another Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal in 6th on 1691.

Jos Buttler

England’s wicketkeeper has 943 T20I runs, so another 57 will see him pass the 1000 milestone

Alex Hales

Opening batsman Hales is the only England player yet to score a t20I century – one more will see him join New Zealander Brendon McCullum and Universe Boss Chris Gayle as the only players in the world with two hundreds in the 20-over game.

Imran Tahir

The South Africa spinner is currently the world’s highest ranked T20I bowler. He has 54 T20 International wickets in his ledger already, putting him in joint 11th place in the world alongside Sohail Tanvir and Dwayne Bravo. Another 5 wickets will see him move into joint tenth place alongside compatriot Dale Steyn and Blackcap Nathan McCullum, while six will see him into joint ninth place with Afghanistani all-rounder Mohammad Nabi.

Imran is one of six bowlers to have taken three four-wicket hauls in T20s – another such performance would move him joint first in the world with Pakistanis Unmar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, who both have four four-fors.

ICC Champions Trophy – Who will qualify for the semi-finals?

Isn’t cricket wonderful? With all teams now having played two games each, and with one round of games in the group stage to go, all eight can still qualify for the semi-finals of cricket’s second-most prestigious one day international tournament!

Here are the qualification scenarios ahead of the final group games

Group A

The Group A table is currently looking like this:

Team Played Wins Points Net Run Rate
England 2 2 4 1.069
Australia 2 0 2 0.0
Bangladesh 2 0 1 -0.407
New Zealand 2 0 1 -1.74

England have an unassailable lead at the top of the table, regardless of their result against Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday.

The tie-breaker rules take into account number of wins first, and then Net Run Rate (NRR), and with England sitting on two wins and the only team that can catch them on points, Australia, having no wins, England cannot be overhauled. They will therefore play the runners up from Group B in the first semi-final at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on 14th June.

So all that remains in Group A is to decide which of the other three teams will qualify to join the hosts in the semis. Here’s how it might play out:

If England beat Australia (or there is a no-result in this game due to rain) AND there is a result in the other game between New Zealand and Bangladesh, then the winner of that other game will finish second and will go through to face the winners of Group B at Edgbaston on the 15th June.

(Note: if there is no result between England and Australia, the winner of NZ/Bangladesh and the Australians would both have 3 points, but Australia would have no wins, and would therefore be relegated to third on the tie-breaker)

If England beat Australia, but the NZ/Bangladesh game is a wash-out, all 3 of Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand would have 2 points. The BlackCaps will finish bottom of the group, as their NRR is the lowest of the three, and it won’t change so they can’t overtake Bangladesh. It will then come down to NRR between Australia and Bangladesh as to who finishes second. If England beat Australia by a greater margin than they beat Bangladesh, then Bangladesh go through. If they win by a lesser margin than against the Tigers, then the Aussies will scrape through.

If Australia beat England, then Australia will qualify second on 4 points, and both NZ and Bangladesh will be eliminated regardless of the result in their game.

If both games are abandoned as no-results, then again Australia will qualify second, and the Tigers and Blackcaps will have to pack their bags.

Group B

The Group B table currently looks like this:

Team Played Wins Points Net Run Rate
India 2 1 2 1.272
South Africa 2 1 2 1.000
Sri Lanka 2 1 2 -0.879
Pakistan 2 1 2 -1.544


Conventional wisdom was that this group would be a walk in the park for two of the pre-tournament favourites, India and South Africa. Someone forgot to tell Sri Lanka and Pakistan that though, and after two stunning upset results in the last two days (here) and (here) the group is very much wide open.

Cats are very much amongst the pigeons at this stage, and one of the group’s “big two” is very likely going home early.

With India playing South Africa next, and Pakistan up against Sri Lanka, those two games effectively become quasi-quarterfinals, with the winners progressing to the semi-finals and the losers heading to Heathrow airport.

Of course, results on the field have only been one part of the story of this tournament, with the weather being the winner in two games so far. So what happens if either or both remaining Group B games also get abandoned as no-results? Let’s look at each scenario:

India v South Africa game has a result, but Sri Lanka v Pakistan is washed out

The winner of India v South Africa will go through as group winners on 4 points and face the Group A runner-up at Edgbaston on the 15th of June. The loser is eliminated.

Sri Lanka will have 3 points but qualify as runners-up due to their superior Net-Run-Rate over Pakistan, and will face Group A winner England in the semi-final at Cardiff on the 14th June. Pakistan will be eliminated.

India v South Africa is a no-result, but there is a winner between Sri Lanka and Pakistan

The winner of Sri Lanka v Pakistan will go through as group winners on 4 points and face the runner up of Group A at Edgbaston on the 15th June. Loser is eliminated.

India will qualify as runners-up on 3 points due to their superior Net-Run-Rate over South Africa, and will face Group A winner England in the semi-final at Cardiff on the 14th June. South Africa will be eliminated.

Both games are washed out as no-results

All four teams will end up on 3 points, with one win apiece, and the group positions will therefore be decided on Net-Run-Rate alone.

As per the table above, India will win the group and play the Group B runners up, and South Africa will finish second and face England in Cardiff for a place in the final.

This is the only scenario whereby both India and South Africa can qualify.

ICC Champions Trophy – Review of first round of matches.

The first round of matches in the Champions Trophy over in England are now in the record books, with each of the eight participating teams having played one game each.

The perfect time to have our first look back and see which players have notched up a personal milestone in the tournament so far.

Joe Root (England)

The England Test captain’s 133 not out in the comfortable Group A win against Bangladesh on Thursday was his highest score in 50-over internationals. This was Root’s tenth ODI century, moving him up to joint second place in England’s all time one-day century makers list, alongside current white-ball captain Eoin Morgan. Both are closing in on Marcus Trescothick’s England record of 12.

Ross Taylor (New Zealand)

When Ross took the field in Friday’s rain-ruined Group A match against Trans-Tasman rivals Australia, it was his 188th appearance for the Blackcaps in ODIs, enough to give him a share of eighth place in NZ’s all time appearance list with Scott Styris. He’ll likely claim that spot outright on Tuesday against England.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

The Blackcaps’ skipper scored a nice round 100 in the aborted game against Australia, his ninth ODI century, and moved his career total on to 4461 runs – bumping Chris Zinzan Harris out of New Zealand’s all-time top ten list in the process. He now sits just 22 behind Styris in ninth spot.

Josh Hazlewood (Australia)

Hazlewood’s mightily impressive 6 for 52 against New Zealand was his third five-wicket haul in ODIs, becoming only the seventh Australian to bag that many “Michelles”.

Hashim Amla (South Africa)

Hashim Amla’s 103 in his side’s 96-run Group B win against Sri Lanka on Saturday was his 25th ODI tonne for the Proteas, in just his 151st innings.

This century moved him alongside Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakarra in joint fifth place in the world.