India, Dhoni, Kohli, Champions Trophy, Hardik
MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and the India team will need to be at their absolute best to retain their ICC Champions Trophy titleGetty Images

Eight teams, eight of the top ranked teams in the world, vying for the mini World Cup, or as the host broadcaster have put it – the World Cup of champions.

While there are favourites going into this ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England and Wales, all eight teams are capable of lifting the tophy – ok, maybe not all eight, but close to all eight of them.

India are the defending champions and one of the favourites.

England, the hosts and the leading pre-tournament favourites amongst the bookies.

Australia are Australia and will always compete and be there or thereabouts in a big tournament.

South Africa are South Africa and will reach the semifinals before pressing the choke button.

New Zealand are another team that do well in such tournaments, without winning them often enough.

Pakistan are the side nobody can predict, and if you ask the players what they expect, even they will probably not know.

Sri Lanka are a team in transition and will need some special efforts from some of their experienced players if they are to get out of their group.

Bangladesh are playing in the Champions Trophy after a long time and while they will be keen to impress, in a 50-over game, where teams have more of an opportunity to come back and correct their mistakes, they might just find themselves a little out of their depth, even if they have improved considerably and are ranked above Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the moment.

South Africa, Rabada, De Villiers, prediction, Champions Trophy
South Africa, along with India, look like the favourites to make it to the semifinals from Group BGetty Images

With India and South Africa clubbed together with Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Group B, you would back the first two to go through to the semifinals. However, such is the nature of this tournament, that one defeat and you will be up against it as far as making it to the last four is concerned.

So, staying at the top of your game in every single match is absolutely necessary.

England and Australia are the favourites to get out of Group A, but New Zealand can trump any team on their day and with the banana skin in Bangladesh also there, this could be the most intriguing group of the two.

Here is a prediction of how the ICC Champions Trophy might pan out.

Group A: England, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh.


Semifinalists: England and New Zealand (Australia winning every time is boring isn't it, so let them suffer an early exit).


Group B: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan.


Semifinalists: India and South Africa (yes, yes it's predictable, but these two teams do look likely to go through).




India vs New Zealand.


Winner: India (Ok, so I won't deny in a court of law that there might be some bias there).


England vs South Africa.


Winner: England (yup, the choke is on again from the Proteas).


Final: England vs India in a repeat of the 2013 final.


Winner of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017: England, who beat India by three runs in a cliff-hanger of a final.