After 3 months of cash-rich, high-on-entertainment, power-hitting T20 blitz, we are back to the international circuit. There couldn’t be a better way to start this season, than with the Champions Trophy. Top 8 cricketing nations fighting for the title of Champions of the World.
It’s the same tournament that completed MSD’s illustrious trophy cabinet back in 2013, but this time India finds him not as a leader in command but as a mentor, guiding the new India, led by the glamorous Virat Kohli and sparking a new age of aggressive, in-the-face, never say die attitude.
In the day and age where most teams are still trying to find the perfect approach to the 50-over format, India seems to have perfected it and excelled ever since the 2015 World Cup.
Two steady openers capable of shifting gears, an experienced solid middle order comprising two of the greatest names in modern times; Yuvraj Singh & Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a fresh set of finishers capable of sending the ball sailing over the ropes right from the get-go. While none of the Indian bowlers features on the top 10 rankings, the current attack stands out to be the most lethal and well balanced of this decade. Four pacers with their own specialities from swing to raw pace to the art of reversing the ball, and two spinners at the pinnacle of their careers.
Despite the chaos by the media and assumptions of a dressing room rift, the Indian team has managed to come out strong and poised to steamroll their arch nemesis, Pakistan, in their opening match.
Though the start was a fairly simple one, without any sort of intent being showcased by the Pakistan cricket team, the rest of the road might not be as simple.
India is set to play Sri Lanka on June 8, followed by the final league match against the rank 1 team in the world, South Africa.
Sri Lanka much like Pakistan seems to be haunted by the ghosts of their past. While Pakistan has struggled to find quality batting stars, Sri Lanka’s problem lies more at the bowling end. The inclusion of Lasith Malinga would have meant a huge boost for the Lankans but his below-par performance in IPL and the opening match against South Africa, have posed more questions than answers.
India’s biggest battle thus far lies against South Africa. Two teams that seem equal on paper but on-field find themselves on two extremes of the spectrum. India has enjoyed a prolific run of consistency while South Africa, after losing the series to England (2-1) and dominating the oppositions in practise matches and their opening match, found searching for answers against a half-ready Pakistan team.
Up till this point, India has managed to check all the boxes, from right combination to consistency whereas South Africa find themselves in a seesaw.
While India vs Pakistan was termed the biggest match of the tournament sheerly because of the rivalry the two nations share, India vs South Africa has to be the grandest match of the tournament sheerly because of the ferocity these two teams promise to bring on the pitch.
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