Champions Trophy 2013: ROUND 1
Game Previews and Predictions-
Champions Trophy 2013 (England and Wales) is here. This will be the 7th and final edition of the tournament.
Previous winners include South Africa, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Australia.
Previously known as the Knockout cup, this is the tournament where players like Smith, Yuvraj Singh, Sehwag and Zaheer Khan made their mark years ago.
This is also India’s final chance to prove that they belong for the first time after 2011- in alien conditions and against even teams in the one day format.
Game 1: India vs South Africa
Cardiff, Wales
India’s first ICC Champions Trophy without Sachin Tendulkar, they will be looking to replicate their 2002 performance when Sehwag and Ganguly were making them near-invincible. That included a stranglehold choke in the semis against a stronger SA team. Things have changed now. SA are favorites, and its coach Gary’s last tournament with the no. 1 ranked test team. But their record in ICC tournaments isn’t great.
Key players- Kohli, Dhoni for India. AB, Amla and Steyn for SA.
Prediction: One doubts if India will go in with Amit Mishra after the first warmup game vs SL where bowlers were slaughtered. This is SA’s to lose in tailormade conditions. Even their horrendous new jerseys might shock the Indians into submission.

Game 2: Pakistan vs WI
The clash of the unpredictable. Two famously dynamic teams face off in an encounter where predictions become irrelevant. Not a favorite match for a bookie or any of Srinivasan’s cricket enthusiast friends, this should be either a game of daft moments and ordinary cricket or a game of flashing brilliance.
Key players: Gayle, Samuels and Pollard for WI. Hafeez, Junaid for Pakistan.
Prediction: Under new captain Dwayne Bravo, WI could lack the passion inflicted by ‘nice guy’ Sammy. Pakistan have a better attack in these conditions.
Game 3: England vs Australia
Two ex-giants face off in ridiculous kits with a bunch of players looking to grab some Ashes spots. England don’t have a handy ODI home record, but Cook has instilled grit and belief in them.
Key players- Cook, KP for England. Clarke, Starc for Australia.
Prediction: Finn and Anderson could be the difference. An England win.
Game 4: NZ vs SL
Cardiff, Wales

NZ are on a high after a logic-defying ODI series win against England where Guptill came into his own with some splended batting. They have the maximum advantage amongst most teams in these conditions, but are also the most inconsistent.

Key players- Guptill, McCullum for NZ. Dilshan, Mathews for SL.

Prediction- NZ win. They could be dark horses once again.

Tomorrow, we preview the next round of both groups.

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