Cricket fans around the world prepare as India and New Zealand lock horns in the ultimate battle of Test cricket, the ICC World Test Championship final. The ultimate clash will get underway on June 18 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. And for the very first time, a world title will be at stake in regards to a Test match, which assures both sides to showcase their best.
India and New Zealand finished at the first and second position respectively in the table of the WTC series. The criteria for deciding the ranks in the table was changed midway with several games not getting completed due to the pandemic, which did complicate India’s chances of securing a berth in the final.
Nevertheless, It will be a fascinating contest to watch as both these sides have done exceptionally well in red-ball cricket in recent times. However, with the conditions in England being pretty similar to that of New Zealand, the odds are surely stacked against India’s favor.
Can New Zealand make use of its familiarity with the conditions? Or once again can Virat Kohli and co rise above all odds?
Match Toss Time: 10:00 Local (14:30 IST)
Match Start Time: 10:30 Local (15:00 IST)
Match Venue: Rose Bowl, Southampton
Head to Head
Matches Played: 59, IND: 21, NZ: 12, Draw: 26
Chances of rain are high with conditions looking grim for a full five days of cricket, Hence why the reserve day can come into play. The match could be interrupted by rain, with showers forecasted on multiple days. The average temperature for this match should be around 19 degrees Celsius and the humidity at the peak is expected to hover in the 95% range.
The Pitch at The Ageas Bowl is one of the few surfaces in England which have a considerable amount of purchase for the spinners. Barring only if the pitch remains dry., which seems to be unlikely. If the improbable occurs, the spin will have a part to play in the latter stages of the match.
The pitch will assist the pace bowlers with lateral movement off the surface from Day 1, with overcast conditions also playing a role. However, with good bounce and carry, batsmen can also eye a huge score once they take time to settle in.
The Indian camp looks to finally have a clean bill of health with all the A-list superstars available for action. The management will be hoping the senior players can step up and play big roles in bringing the title home. With first-team pacers Jusprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, both available for this match will only add strength to the team.
The Kiwi management’s biggest concern will be the injury sustained to Kane Williamson. Though the Kiwi skipper missed the second test match in the England New Zealand series as a precautionary measure, Kane Williamson will be eager to take the field in the final. With no other injury concerns, New Zealand too will be looking to field their best Xl.
Probable Playing XI
India (IND): Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (Wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj/ Ishant Sharma
New Zealand (NZ): Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme/ Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner
Kane Williamson is New Zealand’s leading Test batsman and has been scoring runs almost all over the globe. Devon Conway has also followed suit and is in hot form since making his debut a few weeks ago. Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant are our other must-picks for this grand finale as both the batsmen are the ability to take the game away from the opposition.
IND v NZ Fantasy team
Captain and Vice-Captain Picks
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