Today at Champions Trophy: Pakistan v West Indies - Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels take on the guile of Saeed Ajmal's spin
Thursday 06 June 2013
Both teams enter their first game of this year's ICC Champions Trophy after winning one warm-up game. Pakistan had their first game washed out due to rain and then beat South Africa, while the West Indies were easily beaten by Australia before Monday's victory over Sri Lanka.
The last Champions Trophy held on English soil was won by the Windies in 2004 and with key players such as Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Kemar Roach in great form, it's hard not to see them mounting a serious challenge for this year's title. Spinner Sunil Narine looks certain to play as he is the top-ranked bowler in the world in the 50-over format, and newly appointed captain Dwayne Bravo will want to impress.
Pakistan will be looking to better their three previous semi-final defeats. Their impressive squad depth was demonstrated in their comprehensive six wicket victory over South Africa, where they rested their two most threatening bowlers Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Irfan. They will be without experienced duo Shahid Afridi and Younus Khan who have been dropped, while Umar Gul is injured.
Two to watch
Saeed Ajmal Pakistan
Arguably one of the best bowlers in limited over cricket, Ajmal will certainly have a huge say in how successful Pakistan are in this year's Champions Trophy. The spinner was rested against South Africa in Pakistan's final warm-up game so will be raring to get into the West Indies' batting line-up.
Marlon Samuels West Indies
The bullish big-hitter will be looking to carry his form from this season's IPL into the Champions Trophy. Samuels – named a 2013 Wisden cricketer of the year and man of the match in the 2012 ICC World T20 final – proved to be a shining light in a disappointing season for Pune Warriors.
Thursday Group B: India bt South Africa by 26 runs.
West Indies 0/0/0/0/0/0/0
South Africa 1/0/1/0/0/-0.52/0
Fixtures (10.30am unless stated)
Friday (Group B) Pakistan v West Indies, The Oval
Saturday (A) England v Australia, Edgbaston
Sunday (A) New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Cardiff
Monday (B) Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (1pm)
Tuesday (B) India v West Indies, The Oval
Wednesday (A) Australia v New Zealand, Edgbaston (1pm)
Thursday (A) England v Sri Lanka, The Oval (1pm)
14 June (B) South Africa v West Indies, Cardiff
15 June (B) India v Pakistan, Edgbaston
16 June (A) England v New Zealand, Cardiff
17 June (A) Australia v Sri Lanka, The Oval (1pm)
19 June Winner Group A v runner-up Group B, The Oval
20 June Winner Group B v runner-up Group A, Cardiff
Final 23 June Edgbaston
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