ICC Champions Trophy 2017
Proteas to meet Aussies in final: Zampa
South Africa set to break their knockout hoodoo and meet Steve Smith's men in the Champions Trophy final, according to the South Australian
5 May 2017, 12:38 PM AEST
While leg-spinner Adam Zampa is undoubtedly backing his side to win next month’s ICC Champions Trophy, he expects Australia to meet AB de Villiers’ South Africa in the final.
Current world champions Australia enter the Champions Trophy as the only two-time winners but will face a stern test against the side that has usurped them as the No.1 50-over outfit on the planet.
The Proteas have historically struggled during the knockout stage of global tournaments, but Zampa expects them to break their hoodoo by advancing past the semi-finals and meeting the Australians in the decider at The Oval on June 18.
"If I was to say we’d meet anybody in the final it would be South Africa," Zampa told cricket.com.au.
"From the teams I’ve played against so far in ODI cricket, they were definitely the toughest team to play against.
"The class of their batting and bowling, I feel like looking from the outside it seems very similar to the setup we’ve got and they’ve also got (fellow leg-spinner Imran) Tahir bowling well.
"They knocked us off top spot in the ODI rankings so they’re in some good nick."
One of the major reasons Zampa believes the Proteas are Australia’s biggest threat in claiming a historic third Champions Trophy is their skipper, de Villiers.
The 33-year-old is the No.1 ranked ODI batsman in the world, owns the fastest one-day century (31 balls against the Windies in 2015) and has reached 9,000 runs in fewer innings than any other batsman in the game.
Zampa has played a handful of games against de Villiers and dismissed the right-hander cheaply in last year’s Indian Premier League season, but is wary of the veteran’s intimidating presence at the crease and the attitude of his charges.
"He’s definitely got that fear factor about him when you’re bowling to him," Zampa said.
"I’ve had very little success against him but that’s only in a couple of games.
"He played in that tri-series against us in the Caribbean (last June) and he played OK but I think the South Africans have made it pretty clear they’re fired up for this Champions Trophy."
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)