The Indian cricket team (IND) will take on New Zealand (NZ) in the 2021 World Test Championship (WTC) final on Friday, June 18, at the Rose Bowl, Southampton, England.
New Zealand will have the services of captain Kane Williamon and wicket-keeper BJ Watling after the duo missed the second Test against England due to injury. Meanwhile, the recent impressive run and fitness of the seamers will force the Kiwis to contemplate hard on their selection.
It will also be interesting to see what India does with their bowling attack in the WTC final. Given the rough weather, one would imagine India to field only one spinner. The toss-up is likely to be between Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandra Ashwin. However, captain Virat Kohli is known to field five bowlers in a Test match.
Inclement weather is predicted for the entire course of the WTC final, including the reserve day. That said, the sun is likely to be out for long hours on the second and the fourth day.
The pitch at the Rose Bowl has normally been a good wicket for batting. That said, with the overcast conditions, the seamers are also likely to get some purchase from the pitch. Only twice has any team scored above 500 in all the six Tests played at this venue.
IND vs NZ WTC final Dream11 prediction
The New Zealand cricket team comes into the contest well acclimatised to the conditions on offer after playing two Tests against host England at Lord’s and Edgbaston. On the other hand, India have not played any practice games ahead of the WTC final and that could tilt the advantage slightly in favour of the Kiwis.
Top tip: Best batsmen
Skipper Virat Kohli is inarguably the best batsman in the Indian side. He will bat at No. 4. Although he hasn’t scored a hundred in the last seven Tests, he remains the key to India’s fortunes at Southampton. It is not to be forgotten that he scored almost 600 runs in his last visit to England in the longest version of the game.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is not only the best batsman in his team but also one of the very best in international cricket. He is currently averaging 54 in 84 Tests, with 24 centuries and 32 half-centuries. Much of New Zealand’s success will depend on how he performs with the willow.
Top tip: Best bowlers
Kiwi spearhead Tim Southee should be in every fantasy team for this clash. He was the chief destroyer of the England batting in the first Test at Lord’s. His ability to seam and swing the ball consistently makes him lethal in bowling-friendly conditions.
Key stat: Tim Southee is the only bowler to dismiss Virat Kohli 10 times in international cricket.
Mohammed Shami is the only Indian bowler to have played two Tests at the Rose Bowl. He has also picked up seven wickets at this venue. Besides bowling longer spells, he also has the ability to run through oppositions.
Top tip: Best all-rounder and wicket-keeper
It is futile to pick any all-rounder from the New Zealand side for this clash. You will be better served by sticking to either Ravindra Jadeja or Ravichandran Ashwin as the duo can give points with both bat and ball.
Picking Rishabh Pant in the wicket-keeper category could help you in fantasy leagues. The southpaw has been in sparkling form lately with the willow. His keeping skills too have visibly improved. His belligerence down the order can help one get quick fantasy cricket points.
Note: BJ Watling is a clinical wicket-keeper as well and can also be a gritty batsman down the order. An average of almost 40 in 74 Tests speaks volumes of his ability as a batsman.
IND vs NZ playing XI for WTC final
India playing XI (probable): Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma
New Zealand playing XI (probable): Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Ajaz Patel/Daryl Mithcell, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
Featured photo: AFP / Peter Parks