CT17 Preview : Time is ripe for England for winning a ICC tournament :- England start their campaign against Bangladesh at the oval on Thursday. They will be hoping for a revenge of their embarrassing defeat against the same side in the 2015 world cup. Bookmakers have rightly tagged England as favourites to lift the silverware on June 18, and most people won’t disagree.
England have played some consistently good and aggressive white ball cricket over the past 2 years. Their recent 2-1 series win against the no. 1 side in the world justifies their hot favourites tag and will provide them with a massive confidence boost ahead of the major tournament.
England are averaging close to ridiculous 330 per match in their past 10 ODI innings. The transformation has been surreal and their batting depth is unparalleled. Even when the side tends to lose wickets in the middle overs, they somehow manage to get past their 300 mark in their allotted quota of 50 overs, which in itself is remarkable. England will be banking on their power packed batting line-up to post or chase big totals consistently in this champions trophy.
Bowling attack though a bit weak is still pretty reliable as their army of all-rounders provide them with plenty of options. English team has got a nice variety of bowling options with the wrist spin of Adil Rashid and raw pace of mark wood. Also, the wicket taking potential of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes can’t be ignored, providing nice balance to the overall bowling attack.
What could go wrong?
Sometimes your strengths can be your weaknesses and with England we witnessed exactly that in their final match of the series against South Africa. While the “hell for leather” approach can get you monumental scores but in conditions slightly favourable to bowlers it can prove to be disastrous. Such is the format of champions trophy that even a single similar batting performance from England in the tournament can knock them out of the race for the trophy.
The other slight worrying sign for England is their bowling attack, while the attack is not cannon fodder for batsmen by any stretch of the imagination but it is still a no match for the full-blown attacks of other major contenders such as india and Australia. As we saw during their stay in india, even huge 350+ scores batting first might not be safe with no x factor in their bowling line-up.
There are lots of world class cricketers in England lineup, but Ben Stokes who was the most valuable player in this edition IPL has the potential to churn out match winning performances for his team in the champions trophy as well. Fit and firing stokes is as dangerous proposition for the opposition team as any on the cricket field. In addition to his world class batting and bowling ability, he is also a gun fielder.
England has the players and the self-belief to go all the way in this tournament. They are almost certain to reach the semi-finals, and after that one cannot predict with other teams evenly matched. They can go the distance if they avoid overconfidence and complacency while playing at their full tilt.
SQUAD: Eoin Morgan (capt), Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Sam Billings, Jake Ball, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
June 1 v Bangladesh, London
June 6 v New Zealand
June 10 v Australia, Birmingham