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The inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship is coming to an end. The finalists, New Zealand and India are gearing up for the maiden final of the tournament. The tournament was played between nine teams in about 60 matches. But, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the tournament, with many rounds of matches either postponed or canceled.
With some of the matches being canceled, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to introduce the “Percentage of Points,” or PCT. It is the percentage of points won out of the total number of points contested by each team.
Finalists of World Test Championship
After nearly two years since its inception, the cricket world will witness the World Test Championship final for the first time. New Zealand and India will fight for the maiden World Test Championship title. The Test championship has been ongoing for years. Teams ending at the top of the table by the end of April get prize money and a Test maze. However, this time, this is the world stage they are participating in, and the final will make it better for both sides to receive the maze as a “trophy.”
Let’s take a little journey and look at the team’s road to the final.
Finalist 1: New Zealand
|Total Points Earned||Percentage of Points|
New Zealand was the first team to qualify for the World Test Championship final following the postponement of the Australia – South Africa WTC series. This made New Zealand sealed the spot, and even certain results would not see them out of the final race.
Their road to the final was mainly achieved by winning all of their home matches. New Zealand has played 11 WTC matches in total, winning seven and losing four. Out of seven wins, six came at home. They played three home matches against India, West Indies, and Pakistan and clean swept the series.
However, their away matches were not pleasing. They played two away series against Sri Lanka and Australia. They drew their series against Sri Lanka 1-1 before being whitewashed by their neighbors 3-2. Their batsmen and bowlers together struggled away. They had their tour of Bangladesh scheduled, but it was postponed due to the global pandemic.
But now, they need to keep their losses aside and focus on winning their major tournament in Test cricket. For the past few ICC events, they have been showing performances in the initial stages. But, they have reached the mega event’s final thrice; and, they have won only once. It was the Champions Trophy which was called the “Knock-out” trophy in 2000. Since then, twice they entered the final in Cricket World Cups and were defeated by the home team
Practice before the World Test Championship Final
To face India in conditions that will be very similar to them, they will take their chances to win their maiden title in Test cricket. New Zealand had the opportunity to play a test series with England in England before the final. As a result, New Zealand won the series 1-0. It was their first series win in England since 1999. But, being part of the wrong end twice, Kane Williamson will hope that the kiwis will get the last step right.
Statistics of New Zealand
- Captain Kane Williamson scored 817 runs at an average of 58.
- Tim Southee took 51 wickets at an average of 20. He is in the top five of leading wicket-takers in this tournament.
Finalist 2: India
|Total Points Earned||Percentage of Points|
India is the second team to qualify for the final following their series win over England 3-1. That home series against England was a race between them and Australia, where certain results would favor India, England, or Australia. India winning 3-1 meant they would face New Zealand in the final.
In their journey to the final, Virat Kohli’s men were excellent throughout the tournament. They played all six series and won five of them. The only series they lost was against New Zealand in the away series.
India at home was dominant, playing nine matches and winning eight. In addition, they played home matches against England, South Africa, and Bangladesh. In the away series, they played against New Zealand, West Indies, and Australia. They played eight away matches and won four of them, winning two out of two against West Indies and 2-1 over Australia.
Personally, the Australia series will go down as the best overseas series win. A second-string Indian side dominated Australia in their backyard after a defeat in the first Test match. Their regular captain Virat Kohli had to leave his team due to the birth of his daughter, leaving team India in the hands of Ajinkya Rahane. As the series progressed, India lost some big names, including Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami.
India already won a Test series on Australian soil in 2018-19, where Australia’s top cricketers Steven Smith and David Warner were banned. The Australian fans didn’t take that 2-1 series loss well and slammed the series without their top players. However, this time, a weaker Indian side was able to repeat the feat.
Young Indian Team
India has a new team with a lot of potential to do well; some of the new players include Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, the ever-rising Rishabh Pant, T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur, and Mohammad Siraj. This shows that even if the first choice players are missing, they have the backup players that will help India win games.
This dept can be a headache and a blessing for any team. But, with many options to pick from, India can set up a heavy squad in the final of the WTC. For once in eight years, this is the team that will try to win an ICC silverware.
Statistics of India
India’s best batsman is Ajinkya Rahane with 1095 runs at an average of 43 while, India’s best bowler is Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 67 wickets at an average of 20. Both of them are at the top five of their respective charts.
What to expect in the final?
The final will be played on June 18 to 22 at Southampton, initially supposed to be played at Lord’s, London. But due it was moved to Southampton for safety reasons.
For New Zealand, it will be similar conditions. They blanked India 2-0 at home already, and they will feel to get them again with similar performances. As stated, they will be playing against England for two-match Test series, warming themselves up for the mega final.
India, however, will not be letting its opponents go easy. Their pace bowlers have been excellent throughout the competition and have improved further as the tournament went on. Since winning the Champions Trophy in 2013, India has twice played the final and lost both. Test cricket, however, is different, and it’s a format they have done well over the past few years, staying as the Number 1 team for more than five years.
In the end, it will be all about who will bat well. With both sides having an excellent bowling team, their batsmen would need to step up in the final. Keep following Green Team for updates and more.