WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
The Blackcaps celebrate the series win against England. It’s going to take a major rethink from the game’s so-called “big three” of India, Australia and England for the emphasis on white-ball cricket to shift. That was what was so encouraging about what the Black Caps did at Lord’s and Edgbaston in the last fortnight.
As good as the Black Caps were in their two-test series in England, New Zealand can then further play its part by beating India, in the upcoming World Test Championship final in Southampton. The Black Caps have nothing to fear from India, whose record in England is poor and whose players aren’t as exceptional as many would have you believe.
The Black Caps can do it. They’re not blessed with unbelievable talent, but their temperaments and methods are hugely admirable. They play cricket the way it’s meant to be played and in a spirit that the big three could learn a lot from too. Test cricket for nations such as New Zealand has to be treated as more than just a prefunctory interlude before hostilities between the big three resume.
Some of the Test series in this Championship were part of a longer ongoing series, such as the 2019 Ashes series. Also, some of these nine teams would play additional Test matches during this period which were not part of this Championship, as part of the ICC Future Tours Programme for 2018–23, mainly to give games to the three Test playing sides not taking part in this competition.
The ICC World Test Championship (2019-21) that began in August 2019 is the inaugural edition of the tournament. It comprises of the top 9 Test teams playing 6 series, 3 home and 3 away matches, in the two-year period which is decided by the World Test Championship schedule.
On 29 July 2019, the ICC officially launched the World Test Championship.
India, who rose to second because of the rule change, qualified for the final by virtue of its 2-1 series win in Australia and 3-1 win over England at home. India topped the charts with 520 points and a leading points percentage of 72.20 percent.
In the England vs New Zealand 2nd Test, England, while batting first, scored 303 runs. Chasing the target, New Zealand, in their first innings, took the lead by scoring 388 runs. In their second innings, England was bundled up for just 122 runs by the Kiwi bowlers and New Zealand simply chased down the 38-run target after losing two wickets.
Virat Kohli didn’t have a great outing in the World Test Championship, but was still better than Nichols and Pujara. Kohli managed to score a total of 877 runs from 22 innings at a below-par average of 43.9. Overall, the stats look decent, and only if Kohli could have improved his consistency of 29%, it would have looked good overall. Nevertheless, Virat Kohli gets a rating of 5.1
“Playing in a World Cup Final is a really special occasion and I know the guys are looking forward to getting into their work here in Southampton. India are a world-class outfit who possess match winners all through their line-up, so we’re under no illusion about how tough they will be to beat,” added Stead.
The biggest surprise here can be the absence of Rohit Sharma from the XI. Despite his stellar run of late, his weakness against swing is well known, and it might not be the worst option to try out Mayank Agarwal, who stood up decently to the New Zealand attack last year.
India on the other hand will go out with a positive intent and not be too much concerned about the 2 games advantage that New Zealand have got. Rather India will bank on the combination of young talent and experience going forward into the game.
The Pitch at the Ageas Bowl will offer swing and seam along with some extra bounce. Any team batting 1st on Day 1 will have to make sure they play with ease and a non scoring intent in the 1st 45-60 minutes. It is more important to value wickets than the scoreboard of the team in the initial phase. Later it would be easier to counter swing and seam and there’s some scope of scoring with the old ball. Bowling first it is necessary to bowl in the scoring areas of the batsmen rather than hitting hard length which might not serve the purpose if used more
Predictions for Playing XI for Both teams:
- Rohit Sharma
- Shubman Gill
- Cheteshwar Pujara
- Virat Kohli
- Ajinkya Rahane
- Rishabh Pant
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Ravichandran Ashwin
- Mohammed Shami
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Ishant Sharma/Siraj
- Devon Conway
- Tom Latham
- Kane Williamson
- Ross Taylor
- Henry Nicholls
- Will Young
- Matt Henry
- Trent Boult
- Kyle Jamieson
- Tim Southee
- Neil Wagner