Cricket – ICC Champions Trophy
Isn’t it just typical? We’ve had precious little rain for months, so little in fact that the word drought has been mentioned. Then the ICC Champions Trophy starts and so does the rain. Of the five matches of the competition so far, two have been abandoned and one has been rain affected.
The ICC Champions Trophy is a short competition lasting just 18 days and there is no time for extra days to resolve weather-affected matches. As a result, teams could fail to reach the semi-final stages without ever completing a match.
Australia are a potential case in point. Both their matches so far have been abandoned as a no-result. It could be argued that the luck has evened itself out in these two matches as they were looking in real difficulties against New Zealand but were in control against Bangladesh. It now looks like Australia’s future in this tournament all comes down to their match against England.
Anyway, on to today’s match, details of which are as follows:
England (ranked 4) v New Zealand (5)
Venue - Cardiff
Start – 10.30 (BST)
Exchange prices – England (1.56), New Zealand (2.76)
Weather – Sunshine and showers with a risk of gale force winds
It is indeed a great shame that the potential for this match to be rain-affected looks to be high as this looks a fascinating contest. New Zealand have a very useful opening bowling attack in Boult and Southee and their opening batting partnership of Guptil and Ronchi can put huge pressure on the England bowling attack, which is weakened by the loss of Woakes and possibly Stokes. Finn is a very able replacement for Woakes although he is not in the same league with the bat.
Personally, I would put the teams much closer in the betting although I do accept that the Kiwi batting line-up is not as deep and England could take control if they take early wickets.
To me, the unsettled weather forecast makes this match too tricky to call However, if you are keen to have a wager in this match, you could do worse than back Plunkett to be England’s top bowler at around 7/2 (generally available). He is in good form and was the prime reason Bangladesh did not post a bigger total in the opening game. He is a very useful bowler for later in the innings and he has a good temperament, which is vital in these pressure situations.