South Africa and England are the perennial underachievers in one-day international cricket, mixing high hopes with high-profile failures in the big tournaments. They will have to cope with the favorites' tag at the eight-team Champions Trophy starting on Thursday. The South Africans are the top-ranked ODI team, with the top-ranked batsman (AB de Villiers) and the top two bowlers (Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir). That should install the Proteas as the outright favorites but it's been a long and painful trophy drought since winning their only piece of ICC silverware at the inaugural Champions Trophy in 1998: Four semifinal defeats in the Champions Trophy to go alongside four semifinal losses in the Cricket World Cups.
The English, playing at home and with a new-found enthusiasm for the one-day format under coach Trevor Bayliss, are many people's tips. Yet they have never won an ICC trophy, having been a runner-up three times at the World Cup and lost finals on home soil in the Champions Trophy in 2004 and 2013.
Still, it would be a surprise if the two teams didn't qualify for the semifinals in what should be a competitive tournament played under heightened security after the bomb attack in Manchester, and being held across three locations from June 1-18: The Oval in London; Edgbaston in Birmingham; and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Wales.
India and Australia - ranked Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, and teams that regularly deliver on the big stage - are the other likely semifinalists. With its rapid-fire schedule and the strength of its field, the Champions Trophy is arguably the preferred 50-over event for players and fans compared to the Cricket World Cup, which can drag on for six weeks and where many results can be predicted.
Pakistan, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka should be competitive, while the rank outsider, Bangladesh, are capable of causing a shock - as shown in the 2015 World Cup when they beat England to reach the knockout stage. That Bangladesh qualified for the event ahead of the West Indies, the 2004 winner and current T20 world champion, underlines the team's quality.
India might be the team to beat. The defending champions have not played an ODI since January and are burdened with expectation, as ever, but has match-sharp players due to the majority of its squad being involved in the Indian Premier League. So high-scoring are modern-day ODIs that the mindset and range of shots are not too dissimilar over the two shorter formats, so the IPL could prove to be ideal preparation for India.
GROUP A: Australia, Bangladesh, England and New Zealand
GROUP B: India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka
When will the ICC Champions Trophy matches be played?
The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 will start from June 1, 2017 and the final will be held on June 18 at London's Kennington Oval. The entire tournament will be played in England and Wales.
Where will the ICC Champions Trophy matches be played?
The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 matches will be played at three venues - Kennington Oval (London), Edgbaston (Birmingham) and Sophia Gardens (Cardiff). Match timings are 15:00 IST and 18:00 IST.
How do I watch the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 matches and live score in India?
The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 matches will be broadcast live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD 1, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD 3. You can also watch it Live online on Hotstar.
What time does the live coverage of the ICC Champions Trophy cricket matches start in India?
The live broadcast of the matches will start at 15:00 IST and 18:00 IST.
Where can I follow the ICC Champions Trophy matches online for Live cricket score in India?
The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 matches will be streamed online on Hotstar. For live scores, updates and analysis, you can follow http://www.indiatvnews.com/icc-champions-trophy-2017