Hales will be crucial at the top of the innings

England Can End 50-Over Tournament Trophy Drought

England enter the ICC Champions Trophy as the leading contender to win the crown for the first time.

The Three Lions have reached the final the last two times they have hosted the competition, only to suffer narrow defeats at the hands of the West Indies in 2004 and India four years ago.

Eoin Morgan’s men have been revitalised over the past two years to salvage their reputation in the one-day game after England’s horrendous performance at the 2015 World Cup.

The Three Lions failed to progress from the group stage and were hammered by Australia and New Zealand in the process before being eliminated at the hands of Bangladesh.

Their failure was the spark that jolted England into a reformation of how they approach ODI cricket, with drastic changes made across the board, starting with a new coach in Trevor Bayliss.

Under his guidance the mentality of the Three Lions’ approach to batting has been altered drastically, resulting in the team breaking the world record for the highest ODI score against Pakistan last year.

No team has scored 300 run more times than England since the end of the World Cup, which has allowed Morgan’s men to claim victories on home soil over Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The Three Lions have the talent up and down their line-up to win their first 50-over tournament, but will have to cope with the pressure, especially playing on home soil.

We’ll now break down their betting odds for the Champions Trophy and assess the key men ahead of a potential surge for the title.

Batting

Hales will be crucial at the top of the innings

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One man that will be placed under more pressure than the rest of the side will be Joe Root. The 26-year-old has become one of the leading batsmen in world and will be desperate to showcase his talent to the globe by guiding England to their first 50-over tournament.

Root has been the staple of consistency at the number three position and boasts an impressive average of 47.89 in his 88 matches, with nine centuries to his name. Only Marcus Trescothick and Morgan have scored more hundreds in ODI cricket for the Three Lions, highlighting the Yorkshireman’s class at a relatively early stage in his career.

The 26-year-old had impressed against the West Indies and Ireland over the spring, but his performances against South Africa could be a cause for concern. He played well for scores of 37 and 39, but failed to kick on in the first two matches, albeit losing his wicket in unfortunate circumstances in the second contest.

Root will need to find his form early and should he reach his peak level that will be an excellent sign for Morgan’s men in their hope of winning the crown.

Alex Hales should also come into consideration to lead the way for England. The 28-year-old ended Robin Smith’s reign with England’s highest ODI score when he blasted 171 against Pakistan last year.

The opener will set the tone for the Three Lions at the top of the innings and is a threat to make a huge score every time he steps out on to the pitch. His form has been decent enough and should he get going it takes something special to stop him. As a result, backing Hales at +350   with Bet365 to top score for England in the tournament would be a solid punt with value.

Bowling

Rashid could make the difference

England have produced a solid depth in their bowling unit over the past year, with decent options behind their frontline. However, their progress in the tournament will rest on the performance of their primary men, with pressure on Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid to fire.

Woakes has become England’s main man with the ball since James Anderson and Stuart Broad were told to focus on Test matches by ECB. The 28-year-old has risen to the occasion and his performances earned him a contract at the IPL with Kolkata Knight Riders, where he fared well.

He took four wickets in the Three Lions’ win over South Africa in the first ODI and will be keen to make an impression in the tournament after missing the World Twenty20 last year.

Wood displayed his character with an excellent final over against the Proteas in the second ODI to secure the narrowest of victories for the Three Lions.

His pace can make even the best batsmen in the world uncomfortable at the crease and on his day the 27-year-old can rip through any line-up in the competition. Injuries have held him back over the course of his career, but a strong performance could propel him into the upper echelons.

Rashid was part of the reformation of the England team after the 2015 World Cup. He has been extremely consistent operator for Morgan’s men in the middle overs. His wicket-taking ability in that period has provided the Three Lions with their best option since the retirement of Graeme Swann.

His variations are a handful for all batsmen and the pressure to score in the middle overs should present with ample opportunity to rack up the strikes. Therefore backing Rashid at +400   with William Hill is the bet to take.

Winners?

England have fallen short on too many occasions in their recent history, especially in finals. Their defeat in 2004 at the hands of the West Indies was painful, while their narrow loss in their chase against India four years ago was equally as frustrating for them.

The core group of the Three Lions’ squad was part of the team that lost in devastating fashion to the West Indies in the World Twenty20 when Ben Stokes was hit for four-straight sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the final over of their contest.

That experience will be beneficial to Morgan’s men this time around in their bid to capture their first 50-over crown. They have more than enough talent on both sides of the ball to win the tournament, especially on home soil.

However, they will have to manage the pressure that being one of the favourites brings, although there is character and the ability to maintain their high level of performance in the midst of the lofty expectations.

Facing Australia and New Zealand in the group will present a challenge, but Morgan’s men should beat both of them along with Bangladesh to avenge their World Cup exit two years ago.

Backing them at +140   to win Group A presents the best value, while odds of +300   with Betfair is a solid punt for the Three Lions to win the competition.

Tips Summary

England To Win ICC Champions Trophy
1st June – 18th June 2017
Odds: +300

England To Win ICC Champions Trophy Group A
1st June – 18th June 2017
Odds: +140

Adil Rashid To Be England’s Top Bowler
1st June – 18th June 2017
Odds: +400

Alex Hales To Be England’s Top Batsman
1st June – 18th June 2017
Odds: +350

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