Cricket: India vs New Zealand
World Test Championship Final – Rose Bowl, Southampton
A culmination of two years of battle in the test cricket arena comes to an end in Southampton, as India take on New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship Final. Both sides have blown away all before them in the test cricketing sphere over the past 24 months and it promises to be a fascinating contest, between two sides with plenty of depth. India have been playing in home conditions until recently, but New Zealand warmed up for the contest with an impressive 1-0 series win over England.
As the side currently sat pretty at the top of the ICC Test Rankings, India are very much the side to beat in the longest format of the game.
Recent series wins over Australia and England have seen them establish themselves as one of the best sides in the history of the game and winning this match will only assert their dominance.
Led by the talismanic Virat Kohli, India will be up for this contest from the outset, with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill looking to be aggressive at the top of the order.
Rishabh Pant has established himself as one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen in the world and this could be a defining series for him with both bat and gloves. Spin options come in the form of Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja whilst Ishant Sharma is metronomic with the new ball in hand.
The Kiwis have become one of the best sides in the world over recent years and their skipper Kane Williamson has been integral to their progress. They have serious strength in depth and comfortably beat England over two test matches last week.
Devon Conway has hit the ground running as part of the Kiwi’s side and his opening partner Tom Lathum is an established performer at international level. Williamson and Ross Taylor comprise an impressive top 4 – with runs flowing throughout the side.
Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee spearhead a glut of all-rounders that could change the game at any points, whilst in Trent Boult, New Zealand arguably have the best seam bowler in the world game in their ranks currently.
India vs New Zealand World Test Championship Final – Best Bets
Whilst he hasn’t enjoyed a superb opening to the summer in England, his class is there for all to see, and Kane Williamson could come good on the biggest stage of all for his country.
It took Virat Kohli a few years to become accustomed to the challenges batsmen face when batting in English conditions, but the Indian skipper is very adept in England, and he could make a telling contribution for India here at Southampton.
Pitching the ball up and letting it do the work is a tried and tested formula in England and few are better in world cricket than Trent Boult – who looked fit and firing for the Kiwis at Edgbaston last weekend.
This match promises to be very tightly contested, between the two best test cricketing nations on the planet currently. India are a side packed with talent and variety and are more than capable of beating any side on their day. However, New Zealand have been in superb form in England of late and they should take their momentum into this fixture and pick up a famous win.