Cricket World Test Championship (WTC) Final 2021: India take on New Zealand in mammoth clash
By Devarchit Varma June 17, 2021
Venue: The Rose Bowl, Southampton, England
Time: 3:00pm IST
Average score at venue: 317
Win percentage while batting first: 25%
The curator at the Ageas Bowl or The Rose Bowl in Southampton informed that in the build-up to the Test with the help of clear weather and ample sunlight, they intended to prepare a pitch which has pace, bounce and carry.
The pitch at this venue is believed to be on the slower side with assistance to spinners. The Indian cricket team has had its troubles at this venue having lost both the Tests which they have played so far here.
Even though the nature of the pitch at The Rose Bowl is expectedly different from the rest of the venues in England, the fast bowlers continue to enjoy great wicket-share at 77.78% compared to spin bowlers’ 22%.
The weather prediction for the final of the Cricket World Test Championship may not be too pleasant one for the Indians, for it has predictions of rain on all the five stipulated days of the iconic Test. The temperature will remain under 20°C whereas humidity levels will also be high, nearing 90% on all five match days.
Matches played: 59
India won: 21
New Zealand won: 12
Top 3 players from India: Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Jasprit Bumrah
Top 3 players from New Zealand: Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult
Top picks for H2H/WTA contest (top 5 players each)
Top 3 players fromNew Zealand: Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Neil Wagner
Should I pick more bowlers, batsmen or all-rounders?
Irrespective of how well teams have performed before, summit clashes are always a different ball game. Teams are required not just to be at their best as far as skillset is concerned, they also have to be sure of their mental preparedness in order to take all sort of challenges head-on. The essential part of winning Test matches is taking 20 wickets, but as this Indian team has experienced over the last seven years of playing Test cricket at this venue or anywhere in England for that matter, runs are equally important. India are traditionally a struggling side when it comes to making runs in England and if they manage to do so not just in the WTC final but also in the five Test matches against England, Virat Kohli’s team will return home with a lot more respect and admit that they have right now. Runs are essential in winning summit clashes of tournaments as important as Cricket World Test Championship and adding more to the batting strength would probably make more sense.
From which team should I pick more players in my XI? Which team is stronger?
It is the final of the Cricket World Test Championship in which two of the world’s best Test teams are going to clash—there are no clear favourites. Both India and New Zealand have their strong points as well as shortcomings, both have their areas of concern and areas wherein they are totally different and both the teams have excellent, talented set of players. In seaming conditions, given that the weather is going to be all rainy on all five days, New Zealand might just feel more at home than India, despite the nature of the pitch being different from those in England. Spinners might have some role to play, which would excite the Indian camp more since they are far better than the Kiwis in this department.
MORE INFORMATION: Both India and New Zealand have announced their preferred set of players. Rishabh Pant is all set to play ahead of Wriddhiman Saha, struggling batsman Shubman Gill is going to get an a huge opportunity to open for India in the Cricket WTC final, there is a direct shootout between Mohammed Siraj and Ishant Sharma—ideally a no-brainer, and also a bit of competition between Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja features at the tail end of India’s batting line-up. New Zealand did not have to have troubles selecting their best 15 players in which they picked Mumbai born Ajaz Patel ahead of Mitchell Santner. Kane Williamson is returning from an elbow injury but he would be assured that the other batsmen around him are in-form and there are no such big concerns for the Kiwi side.
Players’ form: There has not been a lot of talk about Virat Kohli’s lack of centuries though he has been among runs in all formats. Rohit Sharma will have a point to prove while batting in adverse conditions as well as Ajinkya Rahane, who will be expected to play the role of being a glue just like Cheteshwar Pujara. Williamson did not have a memorable outing against England in the first Test and his form in England overall is also not very encouraging, but could be bothering the Kiwi captain somewhere at the back of his mind. New Zealand will be happy given the way the openers Devon Conway and Tom Latham, and their new batsman Will Young, went about the job against England.
NEW ZEALAND: Tom Latham (vc), Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Kyle Jamieson, Colin de Grandhomme/Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult, Tim Southee.
Tom Latham (vc), Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Tim Southee.
Optimistic India take on dangerous New Zealand in mammoth clash
After two years of intense Test cricket replete with success and disappointments, two of the world’s best teams India and New Zealand arrive at the summit clash of the Cricket World Test Championship 2021 final at The Rose Bowl in Southampton, starting on Friday.
New Zealand are the top ranked team in the world owing to their consistent success in the format, with their placing confirmed by their confident and dominant display against hosts England last week which handed them a series win for the first time in this century.
The Kiwis, under the strong leadership of Kane Williamson, are a multi talented bunch which knows what it takes playing to its strength, to not go beyond the line of being aggressive, to not go overboard with their plans and stick with being humble and playing with a aggressive brand of cricket of their own.
New Zealand have vast experience of conditions that are going to be in play Friday onwards in Southampton, with plenty of rain around on all five days of the Cricket WTC final, something which would make them feel at home unlike India, who are facing their own set of odds.
The Kiwis’ batting comprises two resolute men at the top, vice-captain Tom Latham and the in-form young opener Devon Conway, who played a huge role in their series win over England. Ross Taylor and their batting neophyte Will Young are in form too, but Williamson’s ordinary record in England could be a cause of concern for the Kiwis, just like it is for India when it comes to their batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara.
Ajaz Patel will be the sole spinner in the New Zealand side which has one of the richest and multi-layered bowling attacks, comprising Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult and even Colin de Grandhomme as a part-time bowler.
India will have their hopes pinned on Virat Kohli for runs, who did a splendid job in England last time they toured in 2018. India have carried their out-of-form young owner Shubman Gill into the final hoping that he would deliver, and the same is expected from the senior trio in Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara.
India have two tough choices to make—whether to add to their batting strength by including Hanuma Vihari in place of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, and to select one among the inexperienced Mohammed Siraj and experienced Ishant Sharma. Ravichandran Ashwin, India’s top wicket-taker and overall third in the WTC, with 67 scalps in 13 matches, is an automatic selection.
India have historically done better than New Zealand in bilateral Test cricket going back as far as in 1955, but all that perhaps stands for nothing. This is a new game, this is a new format and a whole different set-up. And this will be the first-ever edition of the Cricket WTC final and both India and New Zealand will be keen to make a strong statement, not just by winning an Cricket trophy which has eluded them for several years but also set the tone in the longest format for years to come.
Devarchit Varma is a cricket writer and journalist with an experience of more than a decade, having worked at Hindustan Times (newspaper) and CricketCountry (website). Along with covering international and domestic cricket, he has also interviewed several current and former top players such as Rohit Sharma, Steve Smith, Dale Steyn, Michael Hussey, Jacques Kallis, Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson, Lasith Malinga and many more. He has also worked in other beats as a journalist in Bollywood (Reliance BigOye) and IT (SiliconIndia) industries.
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