The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 can be considered as a tournament which had a lot of rain interruptions which led to the frustration of the spectators who came to witness a fascinating tournament.
If we take a closer look at the Champions Trophy this time, we probably did not have the standard of cricket, which a cricket enthusiast yearns for. Yet we did have some nail biting contests that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.
How did the teams perform in this year’s Champions Trophy?
The Australians were one of the pre- tournament favourites to win the Champions Trophy this time, but the wet weather in England` hampered their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions Trophy.
All the three games that Australia played were interrupted by rain, so analysing Australia’s performance in this year’s Champions Trophy was quite difficult.
Among the standout performances for Australia Josh Hazlewood’s six wickets for 52 runs against New Zealand was the highlight of their tournament.
The Inclusion of Moises Henriques was a bit of a surprise for the Australian public. There is no doubt about the talent that he possesses, but when it comes to tournaments like this each and every player must understand their role in the team. It seems that Moises did not have a proper idea about his responsibilities as an all-rounder in the team.
Steven Smith the Australian captain did almost everything to keep his team alive in the competition. They had a great chance of winning the match against Bangladesh but like I did mention earlier the rain gods intervened to help Bangladesh stay alive in the competition.
Australia had to win against England in their final group game but suffered a massive collapse when they batted. Even though Australia managed to score 277 runs in their allocated 50 overs it was always going to be a daunting challenge for the Australian bowlers against a strong English batting line up.
Mitchell Starc was not at his best, which is one of the main reasons for Australia’s disappointing performance in the Champions Trophy 2017.
Australia will have to reassess their game plan before they get ready for their next global tournament in the 50 over format in 2019.
Let’s hope that this is just a minor setback that every cricketing nation has to undergo and they will certainly hope the Australian team will get back on track.
Sri Lanka’s memorable victory against India was the highlight in their Champions Trophy campaign.
Sri Lanka came in to the tournament as underdogs nobody expected anything from the Lankan lions given their recent performances in the 50 over format.
Angelo Mathews seemed quite confident about his team’s chances in the Champions Trophy.
Sri Lanka’s Champions Trophy preparations were hampered by the humiliating defeat against Scotland, and from that moment the Sri Lankan team was determined to show that if Sri Lanka can play according to their instincts that they could cause an upset on the day.
The inclusion of Lasith Malinga proved to be an excellent selection. Especially in the final group game against Pakistan he bowled with persistence and did almost everything that he could to help Sri Lanka qualify for the semi-finals.
Kusal Mendis has shown glimpses of the talent that he possesses. Mendis scored 127 runs at an average of 42.33 in his first global tournament. He scored a counterattacking 89 runs against India that kept Sri Lankan hopes alive in the tournament.
Nuwan Pradeep seems to be a future prospect for Sri Lanka. He took six wickets in three matches. Pradeep bowled at high speeds which kept the opposition batsmen on their toes.
The Sri Lankan bowlers did a great job throughout the tournament, it was the batsmen and the fielders are the ones who were responsible team’s early exit from the Champions Trophy.
Dinesh Chandimal, one of the senior batsmen in the team had a dreadful tournament. He scored just 12 runs in two innings. As a senior member he could have shown some responsibility. In a tournament like this every player must contribute at least in one of the three games.
Chandimal is a player who plays according to his instincts, but in recent times he has failed to live up to the standard that his team requires.
Chandimal needs to have a conversation with the coaches and the support staff and sort out his weaknesses and must try to play according to the team requirements.
Sri Lanka’s sloppiness in the field
Sri Lanka’s fielding has been a major cause of concern for a long time now; ever since Thilakaratne Dilshan retired the standards of Sri Lankan fielding has been disintegrating rapidly over the past year.
Angelo Mathews and his team did almost everything possible to change their fortunes in the field. The Sri Lankan fielding was under scrutiny in their final game against Pakistan.
They had to win against Pakistan to qualify for the semi-finals. They had to defend 237 and they got off to the worst possible start.
They dropped Azhar Ali in the first over in Pakistan’s chase. Even though the Sri Lankans managed to get wickets they continued to be sloppy on the field which led to the frustration of the bowlers.
Thisara Perera’s dropped catch was the turning point of the game.
At one stage we all thought that Sri Lanka would win the game comprehensively but Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohommad Amir was never ready to give up and the duo kept the scoreboard moving and that led to the frustration of the Sri Lankan fielders.
The Sri Lankans were lackluster on the field and the manner in which Sri Lanka fielded was criticised by Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar.
It is fair to say that Sri Lanka had a tournament to forget. The head coach of the Sri Lankan team Graham Ford said the prolonged absence of the captain Angelo Mathews was the main reason for the team’s poor performances in the 50 over format in the recent past.
The Sri Lankan team management and the players need to sit back and reassess their game plan as they have to concentrate on building a team for the 2019 World Cup.
The Sri Lankan fans will keep an eye on their team’s performance in the next couple of years as each and every game will be absolutely crucial for Sri Lanka as they desperately need invaluable ranking points to qualify directly to the 2019 world cup.
The fans will hope that the Lankan lions will learn from their experience that they gained from the Champions Trophy and move forward as a team and take steps to improve the level of fielding which is an important part in World Cricket over the past decade.
As a passionate cricket nation they will hope that the Sri Lankan team will start to win games and that will lay the foundation to groom a team for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.
The men in green came in to the Champions Trophy with fewer expectations to win the Champions Trophy. In the pre-tournament press conference the Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahamed said that they had nothing to lose as they were ranked number eight in the ICC One Day International rankings before the tournament started.
In their first group game against arch rivals India they were thrashed by 124 runs.
As we all know that Pakistan is known as the most unpredictable team in world the fans knew that they could always cause an upset on their day.
When they met South Africa in their second group game everybody thought that it would be a walk in the park for the powerful South African team, but it was not the situation that South Africa would have hoped for.
The Pakistan bowlers took the responsibility of dismantling the strong South African batting line up.
Hasan Ali and Junaid Khan were the chief destroyers for Pakistan.
Babar Asam and shoaib Malik guided Pakistan in to a winning position and the weather interrupted the game, and by that time Pakistan was ahead of the Duckworth Lewis par score and they eventually won the game by 19 runs according to the Duckworth Lewis system.
After the game against the South Africans they began to believe that they could beat any team if they play to their strengths. They thrashed Sri Lanka in their final group game and in the semi-final their batsmen smashed the ball in to all parts of the ground against the Englishmen.
If there was any weakness in this Pakistan team, it was their batting they were vulnerable with the bat throughout the tournament but with the arrival of Fakar Zaman the batting line up looked settled.
The Inclusion of Fakar Zaman was the turning point of Pakistan’s change in fortune.
The final was between the arch rivals India and Pakistan. This was the second time that these two teams met in two weeks.
Fakar Zaman was given a repreive by Jasprit Bumrah in the second over of the game and it proved to be costly for India as he went on to score his maiden One Day International century for Pakistan.
Jasprit Bumrah’s No ball proved to be the turning point of the game.
From there onwards the Indians looked spiritless on the field. The Pakistan batsmen took the maximum advantage of that situation and compiled a massive score of 338 from their allocated 50 overs.
The Indian top order was yet again expected to give a brisk start to the chase.
Mohammad Amir took only two wickets in the tournament before the final. He waited until the final to provide Pakistan with one of the finest bowling performances that a cricket fan wants to enjoy, especially in a crunch game like this.
He rattled the Indian top order which included the wicket of Virat Kohli.
Mohammad Amir celebrates the wicket of Virat Kohli.
Hardik Pandya was the only player who was able salvage some pride for India.
The Indians were eventually beaten comprehensively by 180 runs.
Well ! It was one of the historic moments in Pakistan Cricket.
Mickey Arthur can be known as the unsung hero behind Pakistan’s Champions Trophy triumph.
The Pakistan fans were desperately needed something to rejoice when we consider the difficulties that they had to face over the past few years.
They had no International Cricket for around eight years, their team did not perform well as they would have expected in the recent past.
This win will do a world of good for the youngsters in team such as Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali and Babar Azam.
Now we have a ray of hope about the future of Pakistan Cricket.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Pakistan Cricket.
IndiaShikar Dhawan was the hero for India in their Champions Trophy campaign. He scored 338 runs in five innings. Dhawan was the highest runs scorer in the tournament.
When we analysis India’s performance in the Champions Trophy we can say that they had a poor tournament according to their standards. The media and the public wanted a better performance from their team.
According to my point of view, when you have more expectations about something it tends to exert more pressure on you and if you fail to live up to your expectations it could lead to a disaster.
Just like that India also could not live up to the expectations of their fans.
If the public had fewer expectations the response that they got after losing to Pakistan would have been much sweeter.
India’s first match was against the arch rivals Pakistan and it was a walk in the park for the Indians as they won the game comprehensively by 124 runs.
Then it was the game against the Lankan Lions. Virat and his men might have thought that this will be another one sided contest given the way that Sri Lanka has been performing in the 50 over format in the recent past.
When India accumulated 321 from their allocated 50 overs India must have thought that this was going to be the same old story yet again.
The Sri Lankan batsmen attacked from the outset and because of that the Indian bowlers found it difficult to maintain a proper line and length.
The attacking mind set of the Sri Lankan batsmen took the game away from the Indians. It was one of those shocking defeats you will ever see especially if you are a passionate Indian cricket fan.
The Men in blue managed to bounce back when they demolished South Africa and dismantled Bangladesh in the semi- finals.
The final was against Pakistan. When we go through the records we can observe that India is going to the final as the favourites, but Pakistan showed that the records are for ones who analyse the game.
The Indians seems to be too dependent on their top order and they need to give opportunities to youngsters as they have to build a team for the 2019 world cup.
The Indian fans need to understand that this is only a game. We can’t expect a team to win every game they play and they have to support the team even if they are not performing well they must learn to control their emotions, as cricket fans we must sit back relax and enjoy a great game of cricket.
The New Zealand Black Caps had a dismal Champions Trophy.
It has to be said that it was not a great tournament for New Zealand fan.
The New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was the only player who scored a substantial amount of runs. The other members in the team hardly contributed for New Zealand.
Ross Taylor was not scoring runs as he used to. He looked unsettled at the crease.
New Zealand had a chance to win against Australia but the weather gods did not allow the game to have a result. The teams shared one point each.
The New Zealand Black Caps will identify the strengths and weaknesses that they have and groom a team for the 2019 world cup.
Bangladesh had a memorable Champions Trophy campaign that they can cherish for a long time.
Did Bangladesh live up to their expectations?
Yes they did, before the tournament began we knew that Bangladesh will cause a few upsets for the opposition teams but nobody expected them to be in the top four teams in the tournament.
Tamim Iqbal was the player of the tournament for Bangladesh. He scored 298 runs in four innings at an average of 74.50.
Bangladesh’s win against New Zealand was a memorable moment in this year’s Champions Trophy.
Mushfiqur Rahim had an Impressive Tournament with the bat.
Shakib Al Hasan had a record breaking partnership with Mahamudulah Riyad. The duo added 224 runs for fifth wicket against New Zealand.
The Bangladesh Captain Mashrafe Mortaza has taken Bangladesh cricket in to a different level. He is the most successful captain of Bangladesh so far.
The Bangladesh fans will hope that their team will learn from the experience that they gained from the Champions Trophy and build the team for the 2019 world cup.
When it comes to knockout tournaments South Africa always tend to struggle. It happens time and time again. There is nothing much to say about South Africa’s performance other than saying “Better luck next time”
This was England’s best chance of winning a Major tournament. Everybody expected them to win and they were winning all the matches in the group stage.
But when it comes to the Knockout stage of the tournament they get knocked out.
Well! It’s quite difficult to understand this problematic situation that England and South Africa are facing time and time again. If they don’t sort out this problem soon they will never be able to win a major international tournament.
The Match Officials
In this year’s Champions Trophy the Umpires and the match referees had a rather hectic tournament. The Umpires had to do a lot of ground inspections due to inclement weather.
The match referees had to keep an eye on the over rates as most teams were not able to complete the overs on time.
The Weather Conditions
The weather gods played its part in the Champions Trophy. In the first week of the tournament most of the games were either delayed or had to be abandoned due to adverse weather, but as the tournament progressed the weather conditions improved significantly.
The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 has been a major Success. It was a typical English summer. This Year’s Champions Trophy goes in to the history as a tournament of surprises.
Well! Another major International tournament comes to an end, let’s hope that the eight teams that participated in this competition will learn from the experience that they gained and they will groom the teams for the 2019 cricket world cup.
Hopefully we can look forward to an even more intriguing tournament in a couple of years’ time.
The ICC Champions Trophy will be remembered as a tournament where we had a lot of memorable moments that we can cherish forever.