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ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Qualification scenario for West Indies, Bangladesh and Pakistan

West Indies, Bangladesh and Pakistan will battle it out for the last two berths of the ICC Champions Trophy,2017.

CONTRIBUTOR
15 May 2015, 16:06 IST
25.75K
West Indies
West Indies are not scheduled to play any ODI until the deadline

There are two quadrennial ODI events organized by the ICC, the World Cup, and the Champions Trophy. India won the 2013 edition of the Champions Trophy by defeating England in the final.

Unlike the long qualifying rounds for the World Cup, the qualification for the Champions Trophy is rather straight forward. The top 8 teams in the Reliance ICC ODI Rankings as of on 30 September 2015 will qualify for the tournament to be held in 2017 in England. As things stand today, West Indies (88 pts) and Bangladesh (88 pts) will qualify  and believe it or not, Pakistan (87 pts) will miss out.

England, who are 6th, have nothing to worry about as they have already qualified as hosts. Now let’s try to analyse what these three teams need to do in order to secure their place in the competition.

West Indies

Current ranking: 7th

Fixtures until Sept 30: No matches to be played

What does it mean?

West Indies simply need to depend on how Bangladesh and Pakistan will perform during this period as they don’t have any ODIs planned in the near future. This might come as a blessing in disguise for them as Bangladesh might drop significant points against India and South Africa and struggling Pakistan will face an uphill task of playing Sri Lanka away from home.

So, in the 3-legged race of qualification, the West Indians may have an upper hand without having to play a single game.

Form Guide: WLLWL

Bangladesh

Current ranking: 8th 

Upcoming Fixtures: 3 ODIs each against India and South Africa, all at home

Bangladesh
Bangladesh are in good form and recently whitewashed Pakistan in an ODI series

What does it mean?

Bangladesh are currently tied on points with the West Indies in the team rankings with 88 rating points. They have two tough series against India and South Africa who are both heavyweights. But Bangladesh are in great form, putting in some impressive performances recently.

After making their first ever appearance in the knockout rounds at the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia, they stunned the world by whitewashing arch-rivals Pakistan 3-0. They should also take heart from the fact that India might opt to rest some of their star players for the Bangladesh tour considering the fatigue factor from the ongoing IPL.

Some Indian youngsters might get a chance along with a new coach for the team and this might help the hosts snatch a win or two. Similarly, if they could grab a victory against the Proteas, they should be backing themselves to stay in the top 8 and qualify for the mega event. 

The ICC rankings predictor suggests that if Bangladesh manage to win a game each against India and South Africa, it will all but guarantee them a place in the Champions Trophy. But if they fail to win a game in both the series, it will be curtains for their qualification dream.

What should they do?

Going by the fixtures list, the Tigers have the toughest route to qualification. But they are high on confidence and they should be looking to build upon their impressive showings. One win each against India and South Africa will assure them of a berth to England. But anything less than that and they will require significant help from Pakistan to go through.

Form guide: LLWWW

Pakistan

Current ranking: 9th 

Upcoming Fixtures: 3 ODIs against Zimbabwe at home (not confirmed), 5 ODIs away against Sri Lanka

Pakistan
Pakistan are in a transition phase

What does it mean?

Not even the most pessimist of fans would have expected the 2014 Asia Cup finalists to be struggling even to make it to the Champions Trophy. After a below-par World Cup and a surprising whitewash at the hands of Bangladesh has left the Asian giants fighting for a place in the top 8.

The team is in a transition phase under the newly appointed captain Azhar Ali. Their relatively easy home series against Zimbabwe is hanging by a thread which could land a fatal blow to their qualification hopes.

Next, they have Sri Lanka to face in a 5-match ODI series, which is a must win for them. Pakistan should be encouraged by the fact that their nearest rivals Bangladesh have a theoretically tougher round of fixtures against two World Cup semi-finalists India and South Africa. So if Bangladesh are not able to grind out a win or two, Pakistan will automatically move up in the rankings and book their ticket to England for 2017.

What should they do?

If the Zimbabwe series does happen, they should use it to set the team combination right and get ready for the big battle against Sri Lanka. The team is looking short on confidence and anything except a 3-0 win against Zimbabwe will not help much. In that context, the Sri Lanka vs Pakistan series in July,2015 holds huge significance in the qualification scenario.

Form Guide: WLLLL

Conclusion

Expect Pakistan and West Indies to go through, simply because Bangladesh have a very tough round of fixtures. But if recent form is anything to go by, Bangladesh may snatch an unlikely spot and if they do so, they would have richly deserved it.

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