The ICC Champions Trophy is set to showcase the best one-day talent in the world in 15 matches across 18 days when the tournament kicks off on Thursday at The Oval.
Big totals are expected to be the trend at The Oval, Edgbaston and Sophia Gardens, so below are the top 10 ICC-ranked batsmen who could be lighting up the competition, including four South African superstars.
All You Need To Know Guide: Champions Trophy
10. Hashim Amla (South Africa)
ICC ODI batting rank: 10
The stats: M: 153 | R: 7032 | A: 50.22 | SR: 89.23 | 100s: 24 |
The story: Hashim Amla eclipsed Virat Kohli's record to become the fastest player to 7,000 ODI runs during South Africa's third ODI against England at Lord's on Sunday, reaching the mark in 11 knocks fewer than it took the India skipper. One of only five batsmen to have played 100 ODIs and be averaging more than 50 with the bat, Amla will hope to continue his impressive IPL form in England.
9. Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
ICC ODI batting rank: 9
The stats: M: 111 | R: 4361 | A: 45.90 | SR: 83.78 | 100s: 8 |
The story: New Zealand will always be hopeful of advancing to the finals with a class player in Williamson leading the show. Incredibly consistent, Williamson warmed up nicely for the Champions Trophy with 88 against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
8. Martin Guptill (New Zealand)
ICC ODI batting rank: 8
The stats: M: 143 | R: 5414 | A: 43.66 | SR: 87.61 | 100s: 12 |
The story: Guptill at the top of the order looms as the key to the success of the Black Caps batting unit. He showed exactly how destructive he can be in New Zealand's final warm-up, blasting 116 from 76 deliveries, while earlier this year he struck an unbeaten 180 from 138 against the Proteas.
7. Babar Azam (Pakistan)
ICC ODI batting rank: 7
The stats: M: 26 | R: 1322 | A: 55.08 | SR: 90.23 | 100s: 5 |
The story: The least experienced batsman on this list, Azam has made a huge impact in a short time in ODI cricket. In January, he became the joint-fastest player in history to score 1,000 ODI runs, equalling a record first set by Sir Viv Richards 37 years ago. He’s in good nick, too, having scored an unbeaten 125 against the West Indies last month. There’s a few thrilling young batsmen in the Champions Trophy and Azam is right at the top of the list.
6. Faf du Plessis (South Africa)
ICC ODI batting rank: 6
The stats: M: 110 | R: 4031 | A: 43.34 | SR: 87.38 | 100s: 8 |
The story: Another star Proteas batsman who will need to step up if South Africa want to break their ICC tournament hoodoo. After spending the majority of the IPL on the sidelines for Rising Pune Supergiant, Du Plessis scored a half-century in the Proteas' opening ODI defeat to England last week.
5. Joe Root (England)
ICC ODI batting rank: 5
The stats: M: 88 | R: 3544 | A: 47.89 | SR: 85.60 | 100s: 9 |
The story: Much of the attention has been on Root's allrounder teammate Ben Stokes of late, but don't underestimate how crucial Root's fortunes will be to his team's hopes of finally winning a major 50-over tournament. One of the world's leading batsmen in all formats, Root will walk out at No.3 in England's ODI team captained by Eoin Morgan and will be eager to make the most of the home conditions.
4. Quinton de Kock (South Africa)
ICC ODI batting rank: 4
The stats: M: 82 | R: 3410 | A: 43.71 | SR: 95.11 | 100s: 12 |
The story: The Proteas wicketkeeper could be the dynamic game-changer his team needs to succeed in the Champions Trophy, having cemented his ODI superstar status in recent years. He missed the IPL due to a finger injury, but returned in style with a tour match century against Sussex before falling just short of a ton against England, dismissed for 98 in the second one-dayer in Southampton.
3. Virat Kohli (India)
ICC ODI batting rank: 3
The stats: M: 179 | R: 7755 | A: 53.11 | SR: 90.76 | 100s: 27 |
The story: Kohli will be desperate to prove a point in England after a poor run with the bat against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series followed by a lean run in the IPL. But the prolific right-hander has scored runs like clockwork in the past three years and he started his Champions Trophy campaign with an unbeaten half-century against New Zealand, so a change in fortune could be imminent.
2. David Warner (Australia)
ICC ODI batting rank: 2
The stats: M: 93 | R: 3946 | A: 44.84 | SR: 96.85 | 100s: 13 |
The story: The only Australian currently in the top 10, Australia's vice-captain will be desperate to have a big impact with the bat in this tournament after a poor return in the Qantas Test tour of India. His warm-up knocks produced scores of 11 and 19, but Warner was in stunning form throughout the Indian Premier League and is primed for a big Champions Trophy campaign.
1. AB de Villiers (South Africa)
ICC ODI batting rank: 1
The stats: M: 219 | R: 9299 | A: 54.38 | SR: 100.22 | 100s: 24 |
The story: South Africa have been notorious under-performers at major 50-over events, but an in-form de Villiers represents perhaps world cricket's most dangerous x-factor. The 33-year-old dominated his side's 3-2 series win in New Zealand in February-March, averaging 87 with the bat, while he scored 45, 52 and 27no in the Proteas' 2-1 series loss to England last week.
Champions Trophy 2017 Guide
Group A: Australia, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh.
Group B: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan.
26 May – Australia v Sri Lanka, The Oval
27 May – Bangladesh v Pakistan, Edgbaston
28 May – India v New Zealand, The Oval
29 May – Australia v Pakistan, Edgbaston
30 May – New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Edgbaston
30 May – Bangladesh vs India, The Oval
1 June – England v Bangladesh, The Oval (Day)
2 June – Australia v New Zealand, Edgbaston (D)
3 June – Sri Lanka v South Africa, The Oval (D)
4 June – India v Pakistan, Edgbaston (D)
5 June – Australia v Bangladesh, The Oval (D/N)
6 June – England v New Zealand, Cardiff (D)
7 June – Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (D/N)
8 June – India v Sri Lanka, The Oval (D)
9 June – New Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (D)
10 June – England v Australia, Edgbaston (D)
11 June – India v South Africa, The Oval (D)
12 June – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)
14 June – First semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)
15 June – Second semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)
18 June – Final, The Oval (D)
19 June – Reserve day (D)