About the Match
The eighth edition of the ICC Champions Trophy is going to be held in England and Wales between 1st and 18th of June, 2017. The tournament being held in England will likely offer good batting surfaces with true bounce for bowlers to work with. Such conditions will surely suit both Australia and New Zealand, both of whom will start their campaign by taking on each other in the 2nd match of the tournament at Birmingham on 2nd June.
Pitch and Toss
Edgbaston has traditionally been a high-scoring ground. Teams batting first have scored 300+ total with considerable ease and chasing hasn't been difficult either. The highest total for a team stands at 408/9 which was scored by England against New Zealand in 2015. Chasing has been the order of the day in recent times and we might see the skippers reluctant to bat first yet again.
Australia enters the Champions Trophy as the current World Champion and the second-ranked ODI team in the world. Though the current tussle between CA and the ACA has led to an unnecessary controversy, Australia has a great overall record at ICC events, and they would be looking to add to their collection of trophies by winning their third Champions Trophy title.
Australia will start their campaign against their trans-Tasman rivals, New Zealand. Australia has a fairly good chance of making it to the semi-finals from their group and would want to start their campaign on a winning note.
Australia has a good squad of players to choose from; the conditions will not be alien to them, their pace bowlers will enjoy the bounce and their batsmen favor batting on such wickets, and so they will surely enter this game as strong favorites.
Australia has included all-rounder Moises Henriques in their squad in place of James Faulkner. Henriques was in good batting form throughout the IPL, but his bowling form might be a worry. The batting department looks fairly settled though with Captain Steven Smith, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell all in good nick.
Australia appears to be a very strong unit on paper and they have a history of strong performances in ICC events. But Champions Trophy is a short tournament and they will surely give in their all to start on a positive note.
Predicted Starting XI:
David Warner - Aaron Finch - Steve Smith (c) - Glenn Maxwell - Travis Head - Chris Lynn - Matthew Wade (wk) - Marcus Stoinis - Mitchell Starc - Pat Cummins - Josh Hazlewood
New Zealand, the fourth-ranked ODI team in the world, has always punched above their weight in the ICC tournaments. The 2015 world cup finalists have been playing some good ODI cricket recently and would be looking forward to putting in a strong performance in their first game of this edition of the ICC Champions Trophy.
New Zealand has been in good ODI form recently with some strong performances against Ireland and Bangladesh in the ongoing tri-series. New Zealand has a pretty strong chance of making the semi-finals in their group, but starting well in the tournament will be very important for their chances.
The conditions in England will be quite similar to the ones at home for New Zealand, and they will be hoping to exploit this familiarity. New Zealand has a very potent and versatile pace attack and the bounce in the English wickets would be an advantage for them.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has been in very good form playing in the IPL, and his performance will be crucial for New Zealand in this game. He has been their most important batsman for a while now and he will need to deliver at the big stage for New Zealand to stand any realistic chance.
New Zealand’s knack of putting in great performances in the ICC tournaments means they will have Australia on guard, but defeating this Australian side will require some exceptional cricket from the black caps.
Predicted Starting XI:
Tom Latham - Martin Guptill - Kane Williamson - Ross Taylor - Neil Broom - Luke Ronchi (wk) - James Neesham - Mitchel Santner - Trent Boult - Tim Southee - Lokie Fergurson
Australia and New Zealand are the two finalists from the 2015 world cup. Australia had emerged victorious there to win the gold. But both New Zealand and Australia have come a long way since then. Both these sides are pretty well balanced, but Australia have traditionally had a very strong record in ICC events and their squad appears to be more settled and in the form on paper, and this gives them a slight upper hand in this contest.