Group A could easily turn out to be the more competitive of the two groups in ICC Champions Trophy 2017. You have three heavyweights and one very good Bangladesh side, who will be no pushovers for Australia, England and New Zealand. And, because only two teams can qualify for the semi-finals, one or even two of the three biggies in this group could get knocked out.
Here’s the complete list of Champions Trophy 2017 group A fixtures:
June 1 (Thursday), 10.30 AM local and 03:00 PM IST: England vs Bangladesh at Brit Oval in London
June 2 (Friday), 10.30 AM local and 3:00 PM IST: Australia vs New Zealand at Edgbaston in Birmingham
June 5 (Monday), 1:30 PM local and 6:00 PM IST: Australia vs Bangladesh at Brit Oval in London
June 6 (Tuesday), 10:30 AM local and 3:00 PM IST: England vs New Zealand at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Wales
June 9 (Friday), 10:30 AM local and 3:00 PM IST: New Zealand vs Bangladesh at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Wales
June 10 (Saturday), 10:30 AM local and 3:00 PM IST: England vs Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham
The first semi-final will be played on June 14 (Wednesday) at the Sophia Gardens and the second a day after, at the Edgbaston in Birmingham. The Champions Trophy 2017 Final is scheduled to be staged at the Brit Oval, on June 18 (Sunday). A reserve day has been allocated for the Final.
In my opinion, do not discount Bangladesh, who are currently sixth in the ODI team rankings, beating England and New Zealand and thereby joining Australia as the two teams to qualify from Group A. They are a very strong side who, if they put their heads down and play to potential, are well capable of progressing to the last four. Also, The Blackcaps get their campaign underway against Australia before taking on hosts England, and these two fixtures will give us a pointer as to which two teams qualify.
Michael Clarke, the former Australian captain, envisages an India vs Australia final on June 18, for which to happen both these teams have to top their groups and thereby avoid each other in the semi-finals.
What will be your dream Champions Trophy final?