SACricketmag.com picks their Champions Trophy Team of the Tournament.
1) Shikhar Dhawan (India) – 338 runs @ 67.60, SR 101.80, one century, two 50s
The India opener has been in sublime form this tournament, scoring 68, 125 and 78 in his Group-Stage matches. These performances were vital to India’s progression through the tournament. Although he never reached milestone totals in the semi-final (46) and final (21), he ended the tournament as the top run scorer with 338 runs at an average of 67.60.
2) Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh) – 293 runs @ 73.25, SR 86.17, one century, two 50s
The Bangladesh opener was remarkable throughout his side’s run to their first ever ICC tournament semi-final, starting off the tournament with an anchoring 128-run knock at the Oval in the Champions Trophy opener against England. This was the fourth-highest score at the Oval and the first century on the ground by a Bangladesh batsman. He scored two more half-centuries, one in the no result against Australia and another in the semi-final, ending the tournament as the third-highest scorer with 293 runs @ 73.25.
3) Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan) – 252 runs @ 63.00, SR 113.00, one century, two 50s
Leaving out Zaman would be a crime. His performances leading up to and including the final were literally match-winning. Despite missing his side’s first group match against India, he racked up consecutive half-centuries against Sri Lanka and England to take his side to the final. With his side marked as underdogs throughout the Champions Trophy, the Pakistan frontman scored a Man of the Match 114 to set up his side’s crushing 180-run victory in the final against India. The 27-year-old ended with 252 runs @ 63.00 with his lowest score being 31 against South Africa, the game which he made his debut.
4) Virat Kohli (India) – 258 runs @ 129, SR 98.5, three 50s
The India captain looked to have shaken off his IPL cobwebs, which saw him finish with his third-lowest run-scoring campaign. In India’s opening match against Pakistan, Kohli’s 81 not out helped India set up their 124-run victory by helping his side propel to 319. Despite his duck in India’s surprise loss to Sri Lanka in their second group match, his 76 not out was significant in India downing the Proteas by eight wickets (with 72 balls remaining) to reach the semi-final. He continued his form in the semi-final against Bangladesh, scoring 96 not out in a successful chase, allowing them the chance to defend their title. He finished joint-fourth with Joe Root on 258 runs, but his superior average (129) and strike rate (98.85) pegs him above the England No 3.
5) Joe Root (England) – 258 runs @ 86.00 and SR 97.72, one century, one 50
Joe Root was arguably England’s best player. The England No 3 was ultimately played as a third opener, due to the measly performances from Jason Roy at the top of the order. Despite opening up with 133 against Bangladesh, it was his 64 in an 81-run stand with Alex Hales which held more importance, as England posted 310 and claimed an 87-run win. This guaranteed a semi-final for the hosts, but despite top-scoring with 46 and sharing in a 46-run partnership with Jonny Bairstow and a 48-run partnership with Eoin Morgan, he could not push on, as Pakistan ripped through their batting lineup to restrict them to 211. Root ended with 258 runs @ 86.00 and a strike rate of 97.72.
6) Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) – 168 runs @ 42.00, SR 86.59, one century
It was a tight contest between Ben Stokes and Al Hasan, but it’s the Bangladesh all-rounder who won us over with his 114 against India to help his side to their first ever ICC tournament semi-final. His knock came after a top-four collapse, which saw his side pinned back at 33-4 after 11.4 overs. He formed a 224-run partnership with Mahmudullah (102), to help his side to an unlikely victory against the Black Caps and setting the highest ODI partnership in Bangladesh’s history.
7) Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan) – 76 uns @ 76.00, SR 80.00, one fifty. Dismissals: 9 (catches)
His captaincy alone is enough to guarantee his spot in the team. But, his 75-run eighth-wicket stand with Mohammad Amir (28) which helped see Pakistan over the line against Sri Lanka, rounded off an incredible end to their group campaign, as they claimed their spot in the semi-final. His management of his bowling attack was sensational too, as they restricted SA to 219-8, Sri Lanka to 236 and skittled India for 168 in the final to claim an 180-run victory. His wicket-keeping stats were miles ahead of the rest, as he finished with the most dismissals by taking nine catches.
8) Mohammad Amir (Pakistan) – 5 wickets @ 30.20, Econ 4.41 BBI 3-16
The left-arm seamer had a slow start to the tournament taking no wickets in his opening two group matches. Being left out for the match against England with a back spasm seemed to have revitalised Amir, who took his scalps when it was needed most, taking 2-53 and scoring 28 not out against Sri Lanka, which formed part of the 75-run match-winning partnership with his captain to take them to the final. The 25-year-old ripped through India’s top three, who racked up 874 runs leading up to the final, to end with figures of 3-16. India were skittled for 158, as Pakistan lifted the Champions Trophy.
9) Hasan Ali (Pakistan) – 13 wickets @ 14.69, Econ 4.29, BBI 3-19
The tournament’s best bowler with 13 scalps @ 14.69 and best figures of 3-19. The 23-year-old speedster took a three-for in every game after his side’s defeat to India in their first Group B match. His best performance came in the final, emphasising his big-match temperament, as he eliminated the tail to help Pakistan claim the highest margin of victory in an ICC tournament final.
10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (India) – 7 wickets @ 28.14, Econ 4.63, BBI 2-23
India’s best bowler throughout the tournament, taking scalps in every match of their Champions Trophy campaign. The right-arm seamer ended with seven wickets, joint-fifth with Adil Rashid. He also kept the run rate down throughout, with his economy rate always hovering around the 4.5 mark.
11) Morne Morkel (South Africa) – 5 wickets @ 17.40, Econ 4.35, BBI 3-18
It was a toss up between Morkel and Junaid Khan for the final spot, but we’ve decided to pick Morkel as our first change bowler in the side. The lanky speedster took full advantage of the variable bounce in England, and managed to rack up five wickets in three matches. The 32-year-old was South Africa’s beacon of light, picking up a wicket in the first over of his first match, a wicket in the second over of second match, and one in the third over of his third match as the Proteas bowed out of the competition. His best figures of 3-18 came against the eventual champions and was the destroyer of Pakistan’s top three batsmen. He took out Zaman (31) for his lowest score of the campaign, Azhar Ali (9) for the lowest score of his campaign and Mohammed Hafeez for 26.