Where else to start, but the final of the ICC Champions Trophy – what an unbelievable achievement from Pakistan!
To go from their first game against India, where they were absolutely trounced by 124 runs, and batted, bowled and fielded so badly, to beating England in the semi-finals and then beating India so comprehensively in the final, really was amazing.
For me, Fakhar was the difference – he changed the whole dynamic of the Pakistan side, playing with intent and purpose, and this rubbed off on the rest of the team. He contributed 114 to Pakistan’s 338 total and India just didn’t have an answer.
No one saw that coming at all – but they found something, from somewhere and were able to put runs on the board – what a turn around!
Pakistan’s bowling was always going to be key if they were to get anywhere in the tournament and Amir’s opening spell was just world class – to take three huge wickets against openers Sharma and Dhawan, either side of Virat Kohli, just demonstrates how skilful he is.
Pakistan were seeded 8th going into the competition and their Champions Trophy win just proves that you can never, ever write them off. They’re a great knock out side and in one off games, it just goes to show that you can never bet against them – what an achievement.
As the Champions Trophy comes to an end, there’s T20 Action to look forward to, where England host South Africa in Southampton tonight.
This is going to be a very interesting match, because South Africa came into the Champions Trophy as one of the favourites, but as we saw, they hit the self-destruct button during the competition; nothing went right for them, they struggled to put in a convincing performance and to say their big players like AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla were off-par would be an understatement!
So, going into the T20 contest, The Proteas will be really fired up for this one and will have something to prove for sure.
I’ve got a feeling South Africa will actually turn us over tonight, because bearing in mind how much they’ll have been stung by their woeful performance in the Champions Trophy, they will be really up for this.
I think De Villiers will have a particularly big point to prove after his batting performances in the Champions Trophy, so at 11/4 I reckon he’s a good price to be South Africa’s top run scorer tonight.
England are looking good and played well in the Champions Trophy, but we’re expecting to see some new faces in the three T20 games against South Africa over the next few days. It’s going to be a great experience for guys like Liam Livingstone, Tom Curran and Mason Crane, if they get the opportunity.
I’d love to see Jason Roy feature tonight, especially after hitting a good 92 for Surrey. He’s been out of the firing line after a disappointing Champions Trophy and if he plays this evening, he’ll be looking to come back with a bang – at 10/3, he’d be my bet to be England’s top run scorer.
South Africa will be desperate to put on a real show for their fans, who lets face it, will be very disappointed by what they saw during the Champions Trophy tournament, and I think we’ll see a very different South African side against our lads tonight!
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.