India Aiming For Repeat In Champions Trophy

Expectations will be high on Kohli

Defending champions India will be again determined to make their mark in England in the ICC Champions Trophy.

India defeated the Three Lions in the final of the competition four years ago, inflicting a five-run defeat on the host nation to claim their second crown.

The captaincy has changed hands with Virat Kohli leading his side into a major 50-over tournament for the first time.

Expectations will be high for the defending champions; none more so on the shoulders of Kohli, who will be aiming to score the runs to fire his side towards the title.

India’s failure at home in the World Twenty20 should provide their talented squad plenty of motivation to pursue another crown.

They’ve won their last three series on the bounce, including a 2-1 victory over England at the beginning of the year.

The squad should be in fine form ahead of the competition due to their participation in the Indian Premier League over the past month.

Rohit Sharma led Mumbai Indians to victory over Rising Pune Supergiant in the final and he along with team-mate Jasprit Bumrah will be hopeful that they can enjoy a further triumph at international level.

We’ll now break down the betting odds for India in the ICC Champions Trophy and see whether they secure back-to-back victories.

Batting

Expectations will be high on Kohli

Kohli played well in the tournament four years ago, scoring 176 runs in his five matches at an average of 58.66. However, since then he has developed his game to become arguably the leading batsman in world cricket, becoming capable of winning games single-handed.

The 28-year-old was not quite at his best in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore, although he still notched four half-centuries over the course of the competition.

His recent ODI form has been sensational, especially in his side’s series win over England, scoring a century to guide them to a victory in the opening contest in Pune.

Kohli always seems to rise of the occasion against quality outfits also scoring hundreds over the past 18 months against New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. His ability to manoeuvre the ball into unconventional areas along with his power makes him impossible to bowl to at times.

He did not relish English conditions in his last visit to the country in 2014, failing to make an impact in the ODI series. As a result, he will have a point to prove that he can play the moving ball, which makes a dangerous prospect for all opposing teams.

Backing him at +225 with PaddyPower to lead the run chart for India is a solid bet to take given his propensity to shine on the big stage.

Competition could emerge from Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 363 runs four years ago to lead the tournament, including a match-winning knock against Sri Lanka in the semi-final.

He was a model of consistency for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL – so he will enter the Champions Trophy at the peak of his powers.

Bowling

Ashwin needs to fire for India

The spin of Ravichandran Ashwin has been a pivotal part of India’s success in all forms of the game since making his debut in 2010. His subtle variations and use of flight make him a difficult proposition for opposing batsman, especially in turning conditions.

Ashwin was ruled out of action in the IPL due to a sports hernia injury and has not bowled since his side’s final Test match against Australia at the end of March. As a result, he could be rusty heading into the tournament, although the ease of his routine should help him find his rhythm.

His average of 32.37 is not quite as impressive as his record in Test and T20 matches, but his economy rate of 4.91 highlights that the 30-year-old is more than adept at keeping runs off the board from his bowling. Due to the high-scoring nature of ODI cricket – he could be in line for a dominant tournament if he is able to maintain his miserly reputation.

Therefore backing Ashwin to lead the wicket column for India over the course of the competition at +450   with SkyBet is a good option to take.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar won the Purple Cap for the second year on the bounce at the IPL, notching 26 wickets for Sunrisers. It was not enough to guide his side towards the crown, but he heads into the tournament in prime form and aiming to deliver ICC Champions Trophy for India.

The 27-year-old has failed to fire in ODIs with an average of 39.62 in his 59 matches. That will have the chance to improve in seamer-friendly conditions, but he will need to raise the level of his game to become a reliable wicket-taker for Kohli’s men.

Potential Winners?

India have star power across their line-up and the experience to secure the title for a third time. Kohli and his men will have been disappointed by their efforts in the WorldTwenty20 last year, falling at the semi-final stage to the eventual winners of the competition the West Indies.

The majority of the squad should be in form, having just finished their respective IPL campaigns.

There should be no excuse for rust early in the tournament, while India will also have the benefit of facing sub-continent sides Sri Lanka and Pakistan in their group, which should help them secure one of the top two spots in Group B to advance.

South Africa and beyond are the teams that could cause Kohli’s men issues. The depth of the Proteas’ batting line-up could expose India’s deficiencies in their bowling attack, especially in English conditions where Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are likely to be as effective.

However, India are an enticing bet at +188 with Ladbrokes to overhaul all three sides in their group and finish top. They have the talent, but will need to play extremely well to achieve the feat. Should they accomplish that – there is no reason why they wouldn’t be able to win the competition for the second time on the bounce.

Odds of +500   with Betfair should be taken given that Kohli and his team are capable of the spectacular.

Tips Summary

Virat Kohli To Be India’s Top Batsman In ICC Champions Trophy
1st June – 18th June 2017
Odds: +225

Ravichandran Ashwin To Be India’s Top Batsman In ICC Champions Trophy
1st June – 18th June 2017
Odds: +450

India To Win Group B ICC Champions Trophy
1st June – 18th June 2017
Odds: +188

India To Win ICC Champions Trophy
1st June – 18th June 2017
Odds: +500