India and New Zealand cricket team will be battling it out against each other in the final of the inaugural edition of ICC World Test Championship 2021. Both the teams will aim to put their best foot forward in order to clinch the prestigious silverware. Indian cricket Team features a strong batting order as well as a formidable pace battery who have delivered on foreign soil. On the other side, New Zealand also reflects a strong fleet of cricketers who have the ability to inspire Kiwis to a win in the WTC Final.
Players like Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, and Kane Williamson have been consistent performers in the five-day format for the BlackCaps. Even the NZ bowlers will enjoy bowling in such conditions which are conducive to pace bowling especially the likes of Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Hence, skipper Virat Kohli and co. will have to be at the top of their game to prevent another loss in the final of an ICC event.
We take a look at 5 New Zealand players India should be wary of in the WTC Final 2021:
1. Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson is touted to be the modern-day master for his brilliant stroke play. Over the years, he has become the backbone of New Zealand’s batting order. The 30-year-old has sailed the team’s ship through numerous tough situations and has tasted success. His consistency in Test cricket coupled with his ability to soak pressure may put the Indian team on the backfoot in the WTC Final 2021.
Also, Williamson has witnessed success against the moving ball in England. Moreover, being ranked No.1 in Tests, the Kiwi skipper will arrive at the WTC Final on the back of a successful 2021 home season. Therefore, Indian bowlers will have to minimize the Williamson threat by ensuring his early departure from the crease.
2. Trent Boult
Trent Boult has improved his bowling standards in International cricket over the years. A pre-dominant swing bowler, Boult has always caused trouble to the Indian batting including their last meeting in the Test series in 2020. Having bagged 11 wickets in the 2-match series, he exploited the Indian batting order’s weakness in a comprehensive manner. As a result, India found it problematic to put a solid total on the scoreboard.
Also, Boult would make use of helpful English weather, making him even more dangerous to face. Hence, it may make the Indian players uncomfortable to survive on the bowling-friendly pitch. The Indian top-order including the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma will have their task cut out to survive against the Kiwi spearhead.
3. Tom Latham
Tom Latham is counted among one of the better Test openers going around in the world. Looking at his performance at home against India, the southpaw looked solid with his defensive technique. He negated the Indian bowlers without much threat and registered two fifties in due course. He might not possess a range of shots but certainly has the temperament to bat for a long period of time.
Hence, the 29-year-old can outshine the Indian bowlers with his strong defense as well as frequent shots at the same time. Latham will be riding high on confidence after a decent outing against West Indies in the last home Test series. A lot will also depend upon on his performance in the two Tests against England leading up to the WTC final 2021.
4. Tim Southee
The veteran Kiwi medium-pacer shares the new ball duties alongside Trent Boult. Tim Southee with his abundant experience, as well as prowess, remains unmatched. Southee largely relies on his ability to swing the ball. His strength lies in his accuracy to pitch the ball at the same spot even if it's about bowling long spells in a day. While he might not be the strike bowler for New Zealand anymore, he still has a lot to offer in English conditions. He's a brilliant slip fielder and can even score a few runs in the lower order if needed.
5. Kyle Jamieson
Kyle Jamieson made his Test debut against India in 2020 and had an immediate impact in the series. Jamieson was in menacing form in New Zealand's clean sweep victory over India. He played the decisive role in India's batting order collapses throughout the Test series. Apart from bagging a five-wicket haul in the second Test match, the 26-year-old picked up the prized wicket of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Mayank Agarwal. Hence, the ‘Men in Blue' will have to be careful while facing the latest Kiwi sensation if they are to cross the finishing line in the WTC final 2021.