India vs. Pakistan – Champions Trophy 2017

The most hyped contest in this year’s Champions Trophy ended in a damp squib with Pakistan never seriously challenging India at any point in the game. It was certainly damp, with three interruptions caused by the rain in Birmingham. There are many fans around the world asking why a country with England’s climate is hosting an international competition at all, and particularly in June and not August.

Having won the toss and chosen to bat second, Pakistan were outplayed virtually from beginning to end. The game started promisingly, with Pakistan only conceding 15 runs from the first 5 overs. After that point, unfortunately for Pakistan’s fans and most neutrals, India never looked like losing the game for a second. Pakistan’s bowling was abject, with Wahab Riaz taking particularly heavy punishment. Only teenage legspinner Shadab Khan and former Portland Young Offenders Institute resident Mohammad Amir finished the innings with respectable figures. They certainly weren’t helped by the Pakistan fielders, who dropped two clear chances and were generally poor in their ground fielding.

It’s often said that teams can only beat what’s put in front of them. India certainly did this with a dominant batting display. Rohit Sharma laid the foundations with a slow and steady 91 from 119 balls whilst Dhawan, Kohli and Yuvraj all contributed quick-fire fifties to take India’s score well over 300. This was a really strong team batting performance which will worry a lot of teams going forward in the competition.

If the first innings was bad for Pakistan, the second was somehow even worse. Whilst Azhar Ali did a reasonable job providing the platform like Sharma did for India, at the other end it was slow-motion carnage. India’s bowlers did a great job keeping the Pakistan batsmen’s scoring below their required run rate, eventually making them go for risky shots or suicidal runs. If one thing might disappoint the Indian team, their fielding was the equal of Pakistan’s and that is certainly not a compliment. They dropped two relatively simple chances, and their ground fielding was also very poor. Of course these mistakes weren’t punished by Pakistan, but they will want to improve before facing any stronger teams.

If anything, only losing by 124 runs (adjusted by DLS) is a result which flatters Pakistan who were never competitive. The massive Net Run Rate differential from this game makes it seem like it’s virtually impossible for Pakistan to make the semi finals, and virtually impossible for India not to. The ICC will no doubt breathe a heavy sigh of relief that India seem destined to make the knockout stages and will keep all the Indian TV viewers (and broadcasting companies) happy.

Elsewhere, England have announced the replacement in the squad after Chris Woakes was sidelined by a side strain. His place will be taken by Steven Finn, which always seemed the most likely choice the ECB would make after revealing it was a three-way contest between Finn, Toby Roland-Jones and Tom Curran. If Roland-Jones or Curran were to actually play, it would be their second and first ODI caps respectively. With 69 ODIs under his belt, Finn is clearly seen as a safer choice.

Of course this puts an end to the rather amusing speculation that Stuart Broad would be brought into the team. To put this into context, the last ODI he played in England was against India in the 2013 Champions Trophy Final. To say that his selection would be seen as a panicked move by England’s selectors would be an understatement, and it’s not really clear how the groundswell of support for the idea in the England press box might have started.

As always, comments are welcomed and appreciated. It’s my first official post on the site after two guest appearances, so be nice! Or don’t. I’m pretty sure I can delete comments and ban people now.


35 thoughts on “India vs. Pakistan – Champions Trophy 2017

    • dannycricket Jun 4, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      Well no, I suppose not. I guess I’ll just have to win you over with my superior wit and charm.

      I’m doomed…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jun 4, 2017 / 8:34 pm

      It’s also remarkable how often England and Australia appear in the same group as each other in recent years. Nothing to see hear, please move along.


      • d'Arthez Jun 4, 2017 / 8:38 pm

        “Fixing, only illegal if the ICC does not make money out of it.”


      • dannycricket Jun 4, 2017 / 8:48 pm

        In the ICC’s defence, I’d assume all of the countries are complicit in this. They know that it maximises the TV money the ICC splits between them, and so they look the other way if not actively support it. I don’t think it massively impacts the integrity of the competitions, given that the insular nature of the cricket world means there’s only between 8 and 12 teams in any of them anyway.


        • thelegglance Jun 4, 2017 / 8:50 pm

          I don’t think it could happen if they weren’t. It’s be nice if they were honest about it though.


          • Mark Jun 4, 2017 / 9:01 pm

            That’s the key point. Just be honest about it. Stop pretending it’s a proper draw.

            I still hanker after the 1992 World Cup “round robin” version, where everybody plays everybody else, and the the top 4 go into the semi finals. Takes too long I guess.


          • thelegglance Jun 4, 2017 / 9:03 pm

            I’ve not tried to work it out, but could it take longer than the current interminable format? It’s the good thing about the Champions Trophy, it’s done and dusted in little more than two weeks.


          • d'Arthez Jun 5, 2017 / 5:10 am

            Honesty would have been appreciated. It would also be nice to put into context that Australia – England happens in more ICC tournaments this decade than there will be England / Australia – Bangladesh games in bilateral series (probably even if we add ICC tournaments, since England and Australia will always be rigged in the same group).

            And as SimonH says, this massively impacts on the tournament, as Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the poorest ODI sides in such conditions among the qualifiers. Maybe Bangladesh ought to be slotted alongside that, but it has been nearly a decade ago that Bangladesh even played in England, so we can’t judge that.

            I checked against the rankings of 31st January 2017 (could not find them for the cut-off point): Group A has #1 (Australia), #3 (New Zealand, #5 (England), #7 (Bangladesh), while on the other side it is #2 (South Africa), #4 (India), #6 (Sri Lanka) #8 Pakistan. Group A is markedly tougher, judged by the rankings.

            It shows the ICC in poor light as well. Why are they unable to sell the rights to the whole tournament at a fixed price, regardless of how well India do? Would the value of the rights of say Wimbledon crash, if say Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray crashed out in the first round? Of course not. Golf rights, when some of the big stars don’t make it past day two? Of course not. It shows of massive weaknesses and backwardness within the ICC.

            I know of course of the 2007 World Cup, but the ICC is so gripped with fear that such a thing might happen again, that they’ve happily destroyed any semblance of integrity in their competitions. The only way to improve said integrity, without making the tournament extremely long-drawn, is by cutting the Associates. Which they have done – it will probably end up being an extremely boring World Cup, until the last week. (And yes, it will take longer than the 2015 World Cup). The only bit of interest will be, who among South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, England and India will miss out on a top 4 spot. Of course we need 6 weeks to find that out. How exhilarating. Probably rain will heavily influence or even decide that one.

            And just like the 2015 World Cup, most games won’t matter. Sure New Zealand won a group stage thriller against Australia. Which was great. But: both teams would still easily qualify. Both teams would still play their knockouts in the same place, no matter whether they won their group or finished even fourth.
            The bizarre thing was, that the games in group A determined where the teams in group B had to travel to. As an Aussie you could potentially have bought your tickets for the knockouts months in advance, simply because you knew that if Australia qualified, they would play there and there (and I am sure a few people made a killing, by being touts).
            As someone supporting a team from Group B, it hinged on every game that influenced the qualifying order in Group A (and whether the host nations would qualify or not). In short the ICC happily treated supporters from Group B with the utmost contempt.


          • SimonH Jun 5, 2017 / 8:33 am

            Reply to Mark: you do realise that’s exactly the format Giles Clarke has insisted upon for 2019! It delivers more qualifying games than 2015 and excludes not only Afghanistan (who I’d fancy to beat these SL or Pakistan teams) but, say, Scotland who beat SL comfortably in a warm-up match.

            I would have agreed with you up until a couple of years ago but I now think this hankering after the 1992 format is mistaken:
            1) The cricket world was very different then. The best of the Assocaites are now much better.
            2) The 1992 format is dreadful for teams who lose their first 3 or 4 games. They have loads more matches with nothing to play for. We don’t remember this from 1992 because England did well. Lots of matches with nothing at stake creates a dismal spectacle and is a corruption risk.
            3) The 1992 tournament is my favourite WC, like it is for most people. It was the first to have Sky coverage (the 1987 tournament felt like it was on the dark side of the moon), Pakistan had a great narratice arc, England were excellent, SA were reintegrated, many iconic players were playing and floodlit cricket still had high novelty value. The format really didn’t have much to do with that tournament’s excellence.


          • Mark Jun 5, 2017 / 9:23 am

            All very fair points Simon. Cricket has changed, and I take your point about teams with fixtures that are meanginless once they are out of contention. Ironically, The CT with only 8 teams participating would be a better fit for the “round robin” format than the World Cup. There are no associates teams to place in the mix.

            I guess I’m just trying to find an alternatitive to the two group format in which India have to play Pakistan, and England have to play Aus. It also seems that they like Aus to play NZ as well. Not that this is a big money spinner, but it does have a certain edge.

            One of the additional problems is there is no longer a vibrant WI at ODI level to strengthen the weaker group. And with SL going off the boil and Pakistan struggling it is pretty weak fare.


          • SimonH Jun 5, 2017 / 11:38 am

            Mark, I used to support seeding in cup competitions but I think the process has become so corrupted by money that random draws are the only way to go (not that some of the balls in the draw might not still get popped in the oven beforehand anyway!).

            Good spot about A v NZ by the way. They’ve been drawn in the same group in the last WC, CT and T20 WC. The odds on that being coincidence must be considerable.


          • Sri.Grins Jun 5, 2017 / 2:06 pm

            @legglance, the point is that it does not show the icc’s backwardness. It just shows that India’s fans still make up most of the tv revenues expected which is not good from the viewpoint of the game. the fact that despite all the talk, the game has not developed a more equitable revenue contribution is something the other countries have to ask themselves why.


        • SimonH Jun 4, 2017 / 9:11 pm

          Danny, I don’t think it impacted the integrity of the tournament so much when Pakistan were a better team – but they are now so poor at white-ball cricket, it gives India a markedly easier group.

          It also has to be realised this impacts more than India and Pakistan. It pretty much determined both groups when combined with how teams were placed in the rankings. England have ended up as a tougher group as a consequence.

          I can’t agree that fixing is okay if everyone agrees to it. More revenue may be generated if India get to the Final – would it be okay to facilitate that as well if everyone’s okay with it? It’s answering Haigh’s famous existential question with “the game exists to make money” and that is not going to take the game into a good place.


    • SimonH Jun 5, 2017 / 8:19 am

      An article to be treated with extreme caution.

      If it gets people looking at the Woolmer case again, it’s a good thing – but only for that reason.


        • SimonH Jun 5, 2017 / 9:05 am

          I’ve drafted an article on it which I sent to LCL last night. It needs more work but I’d be happy for him to forward it to you and I’d welcome an email with your thoughts.


  1. d'Arthez Jun 5, 2017 / 11:59 am

    Let’s see if the bad weather forecast materializes. If it does, it would leave Australia with 2 points from 2 washouts, and a non-existent net run rate.

    What are the odds on being eliminated after 3 washouts? It is certainly possible.


    • SimonH Jun 5, 2017 / 12:31 pm

      The forecasts for Tuesday and Thursday aren’t great at the moment.


    • d'Arthez Jun 5, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      If Tamim wishes for anything, it would be team mates who knew how to bat in England, or at least were willing to follow his example. Excellent knock from him, but no support whatsoever.


    • d'Arthez Jun 5, 2017 / 8:42 pm

      The rain won and drew. If it had not been for Tamim’s innings, Australia would have batted the required 20 overs, and gotten over the line. Only 16 overs were possible in their reply, and hence the game ends as a No Result.

      This result basically means that Australia have to beat England. Another no result could do, but only if BD marginally beat New Zealand, and New Zealand either lose to England, or beat England by a smaller margin than the one they lose to Bangladesh by. That is assuming that number of wins does not take precedence over NRR.

      If number of wins does takes precedence, then Australia (assuming another washout against England) would need BD – NZ to be a washout as well, and New Zealand to lose to England.

      Needless to say, these permutations are indicative of a tourney on the brink of being ruined by the weather.


  2. SimonH Jun 5, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    “a position somewhere between the extremes of Calvinism and Epicureanism”.

    It’s Ed Smith time!

    As a former history teacher, I’m all for rediscovering the virtues of the Humanities – but to pick sporting winners? Really? I’m more in the AJP Taylor school of thought about the lessons of the past myself.

    Would you take a betting tip from Ed Smith?


    • Sean B Jun 5, 2017 / 9:28 pm

      Just lost the Ed Smith, Essayist game


  3. man in a barrel Jun 5, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    re sportspeople outside their areas of competence, how about Graeme Swann on politics, especially Donal Trump? Why does a retired cricketer, known to about 1000 people – I am not sure that he really has 845k followers on Twitter – feel compelled to purvey his political views? It should only invite ridicule but quite a lot of people seem to drink it up


    • oreston Jun 5, 2017 / 2:39 pm

      To be fair to Swann (not that I especially feel the need to be fair to him, you understand…) this is an observation that is equally true of countless other “personalities'” on social media. Most of what’s shared consists of little more than platitudes and virtue signalling – but then that’s about all we seem to get from the professional politicians (of any stripe) too. What an age we find ourselves in…


  4. Mark Jun 5, 2017 / 5:44 pm

    Amazingly I have managed to acquire a ticket for tomorrow’s game between England vs New Zealand. Unfortunately the weather is not looking good in the West. However, I will be going down to the game, and hope for the best. Shame about the rain because this could be a good contest. I thought NZ had the better of Aus in their first game,and they have some useful bowlers and batters.

    I just wondered in light of the horrific terrorist events in recent weeks are they letting you take bags into the stadiums because if the weather is shit I may be sitting about all day?


    • Sean B Jun 5, 2017 / 9:30 pm

      Yes they are, but be prepared to queue. We got to the Oval 15 mins before play and still missed the first 3 overs. I would arrive about 30 mins before play if I were you.


      • Mark Jun 5, 2017 / 10:29 pm

        Thanks for that Sean! Yes, I thought there might be a delay and a queue.


  5. Benny Jun 5, 2017 / 10:43 pm

    Just wondering what will happen if it rains on finals day …


    • northernlight71 Jun 6, 2017 / 8:33 am

      I think the ICC contingency plan, which is put into effect whenever there is a problem due to weather, technical issues or teams not doing as they are told, is in all cases to award the trophy to India.
      Isn’t it?


  6. Adam H Jun 6, 2017 / 9:13 am

    No thread for the England-New Zealand game?


    • thelegglance Jun 6, 2017 / 9:17 am

      Fair point, I’ll create one. From: Being Outside CricketSent: Tuesday, 6 June 2017 10:13To: To: Being Outside CricketSubject: [New comment] India vs. Pakistan – Champions Trophy 2017

      a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; }

      a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; }

      /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ Adam H commented: “No thread for the England-New Zealand game?”


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