We hate to give in to cliches but Group A of the Champions Trophy is shaping up to be the ‘group of death’ with 2015 World Cup winners Australia grouped with beaten finalists New Zealand, hosts England and Bangladesh.
Here we take a look at each team’s chances of progressing and indeed winning the coveted quadrennial showpiece.
The hosts start the tournament as favourites having enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in fifty over cricket after their disastrous exit from the 2015 World Cup when a loss to Bangladesh saw them bow out at the group stage.
The country that gave us cricket remarkably have never won an ICC tournament suffering defeat in no fewer than five finals and will be desperate to pick up a win.
England’s success has been built on an aggressive style with Eoin Morgan’s men passing 300 batting first more often than any other team in the last two years.
Any team that can’t find a place in their XI for red-hot batsman Jonny Bairstow can certainly claim to have an embarrassment of riches.
The team is blessed with a plethora of potent allrounders led by Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali who showed their value in the recent series victory over the number one-ranked ODI team in the world, South Africa. Moeen hit an incredible unbeaten 77 in the series opener in Leeds before Stokes blistering hundred at the Rose Bowl.
The team has a settled feel to it with most changes from match to match likely to centre around bowling options with the top six of Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Morgan, Stokes and Buttler pretty much set in stone.
The collapse they suffered in the final ODI against South Africa is unlikely to disturb them too much but such a slip up in the compressed Champions Trophy programme could see them suffer another ICC tournament heartbreak.