ICC Champions Trophy 2017: About 24 hours ago, the Indian cricket team was placed perfectly in the ICC Champions Trophy. Having won their first match quite convincingly against Pakistan, most cricket pundits were backing Virat Kohli’s team to beat a slightly inexperienced Sri Lankan side as well. Men in blue started well thanks to a brilliant century by Shikhar Dhawan which was followed by some fireworks by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Bowlers had done well in the previous game so most fans thought it would be next to impossible for Angelo Mathews and co to chase down a total of 322 runs. However, fortunes turned in a span of few overs. The side that was looking unbeatable, started to make mistakes. The Yorkers went missing, there were misfields and suddenly, Kohli was short of options.
“We felt we had enough on the board, we trusted our bowlers, but Sri Lanka were pretty good,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation. “They kept the momentum through the innings, they picked their areas to hit and executed really well. There’s always hindsight. I thought we bowled decently. But when you don’t execute properly, there is always food for thought. Here you have to give credit to the other team,” Kohli added. You could feel the disappointment in Indian captain’s voice after the game. He surely wanted to win this match and secure a place in the semi-finals.
— ICC (@ICC) June 8, 2017
However, the bigger question now is what next for the Indian team? Well, last night’s game has left the group and tournament wide open. India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have won a match each and all they have left is one match each as well. So, we are looking at two virtual must-win, do-or-die quarterfinals on Sunday and Monday that give no chance of making an error.
India will take on South Africa on Sunday when Virat Kohli will meet his biggest competitor of this era, AB De Villiers, in a clash of titans. “Sunday is a big day for us. It’s going to take a big team effort to knock over India. But we have to back ourselves to win,” said South African fast bowler Morne Morkel ahead of match declaring his side as the underdogs and adding extra pressure on India. The equation is very clear, if India wants to defend its title, it need to win on Sunday and follow it with some good performances in the knockouts as well.
Can they do it? Yes, they certainly can. Will they be able to do it? Well, only time will tell. Don’t forget to join us for the live coverage of that match.