WTC FINAL- ROAD TO FINAL
The D-day is drawn on June 18 , 2021 at the Hampshire’s The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, England as the World’s Firstever Test championship and Kohli or Williamson who will join Clive Lloyd ( First Ever ODI WC title in 1975) and M.S. Dhoni ( first ever title T20 WC in 2007) is the million dollar question.
WTC Final: Michael Vaughan Says “Fancy New Zealand To Beat India” In World Test Championship Final. So, India will win the WTC Title as Vaughan was always proved wrong.
Stakes are high for both Captains viz., Kohli and Williamson as the ICC title still eludes them.
Indian Cricket Team is raring to play the inaugural World Test Championship(WTC) Final against New Zealand on 18th June at the historic stadium of The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, England..
INDIA’S JOURNEY TO WTC FINAL
After two years of gruelling action which was played out between 9 teams, the Virat Kohli-led side and the Kiwis came out on top and will fight for the first-ever World Test Championship title.
The points system was changed mid-way through the tournament due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the test series all over the world couldn’t get completed. The Indian cricket team pulled off a stunning victory over Australia in their own backyard by 2-1 and then came from behind with a resounding victory over England by 3-1 to book their place in the
Image Source: AFP
The journey of the Indian team could have been a straightforward one, however, Pandemic caused a complete change in how the teams were supposed to qualify for the finals and the Virat Kohli led side had to fight back till the end.
India vs west Indies in West Indies, 2019
The first series India played under the ICC World Test Championship was against West Indies. It was a two-match test series which India won comfortably by 2-0.
In the first at Sir Viv Richards stadium, North Sound, India won comfortably by 318 runs as A. Rahane hit a powerful century in the second innings preceded by 81 runs in the first innings and was adjudged man of the match. Hanuma Vihari also hit a majestic 93 runs and Ishant Sharma took 5/43 in the first innings and it was Jasprit Bumrah’s 5fer in the second innings that turned the match in India’s favour.
5 for 7 – Jasprit Bumrah’s figures in the second innings, was the least expensive five wicket haul by an Indian bowler in Test history.
In the second test at Sabina Park, Kingston it was Hanuma Vihari’s century in the first innings and followed by 53 in the second and again Jasprit Bumrah tore the west indies batsmen in the first innings to set up an easy victory for India by 257 runs .
Ind v SA, South Africa tour of India, 2019:
In October 2019, South Africa came to India for a three-match test series. India being the home team won the series whitewashing the Proteas by 3-0. In the three matches Rohit Sharma scored heavily with 529 runs including a double century and got two MOM awards and MOS award and in the second test, Indian captain Virat Kohli was adjudged player of the match as he hit magnificent double century ( 254)
Ind v Ban, Bangladesh tour of India, 2019:
Bangladesh came to tour India in November. The two-test match series saw India beating them mercilessly by an Innings in both Tests including India’s first ever Day/Night test match conducted in India at Kolkata. Ishant Sharma was the player of the series for picking up the most wickets(12). He was also the man of the match in the second test while Mayank Agarwal was the star in the first test. After the end of this series, India was cruising with 160 points.
NZ v Ind, India tour of New Zealand, 2020:
India toured New Zealand in February 2020 for two test series. It was a disastrous tour for India as they lost both games. Indian batsmen failed to score runs as in both matches, two Kiwi bowlers – Tim Southee and debutant Kyle Jamieson – were adjudged player of the match. Southee was also declared man of the series for his 14 wickets.
Aus v Ind, INDIA TOUR OF AUSTRALIA, 2020-21:
India toured Australia for a four-match test series in December-January. However, in between, the points system was changed and India had to somehow beat the Aussies to keep themselves in the race of WTC Finals.
After suffering a humiliating defeat in the first test at Adelaide in the D/Nmatch registering a very low score of 36 all out in the second innings, India bounced back at MCG with a fine century by the Stand-in Captain A. Rahane and won the test, drawing the Test at SCG with a dour batting by Hanuma Vihari and Ashwin and finally winning the Test at GABBA, Brisbane in the twilight of the match by a scintillating knock by wicket keeper Risabh Pant and the young bowlers including 3 debutants Washington Sundar, T. Natarajan and Shardul Thakur delivered the punch.
It was a watershed series in Indian Test history as the bench strength rose to the occasion as the senior players were not available due to injury and Captain Kohli was also unavailable due to the birth of a child.
India defeated Australia 2-1 in the end, that too, with an almost second-string team
IND Vs ENGLAND IN INDIA
After the high of Australia, India still had to win at least two games against England to qualify for the WTC Finals but the start was not good as India lost the first of the four test matches at Chennai. However, as is wont India made a strong comeback as they finished the series 3-1. With the series win, India not only qualified for the finals but also topped the points table with the highest percentage of points earned – 72.2, the criteria for qualifying.
NEW ZEALAND’s ROAD TO WTC FINAL 2021
After a rough start to life in the World Test Championship, New Zealand have become the first team to qualify for this year’s final in June.
NEWZEALAND TOUR OF SRILANKA
New Zealand’s road to the World Test Championship final got off to a rocky start in Sri Lanka. Playing in Galle, New Zealand slumped to a six-wicket defeat as captain Kane Williamson registered the rarest of ducks. Though in the first innings both teams were in equal footing, in the second innings Srilanka prevailed over the Kiwis as the Srilankan Captain D. Karunaratne scored a brilliant century while chasing.
But Kiwis fought back brilliantly in the second Test at Colombo inflicting a humiliating innings defeat and the Kiwis did not leave the subcontinent empty-handed. Off the back of centuries from Tom Latham (154) and BJ Watling (104 not out), the Kiwis stormed home to an innings and 65 run win, levelling the two-Test series 1-1.
That saw Williamson’s side head home with 60 points in the WTC or – as would later become key – 50 per cent of the points available to them.
Australia 3 – New Zealand 0, December-January 2019-20
New Zealand’s hopes of making the WTC final were dented severely during the horror tour of Australia.
They crossed the Tasman with mounting expectations but were drubbed mercilessly by the Aussies 3-0 in the end.
In fairness to the Black Caps, they ran into an Australian team in ominous form. Marnus Labuschagne averaged 91.50 and scored two centuries including a double. David Warner and Travis Head each scored centuries of their own, and with the ball Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins all averaged less than 20.
At the end of the series, New Zealand still had only 60 points, 25 percent of what was available to them.
New Zealand 2 – India 0, February 2020
Then the Kiwis had fantastic home series against all major countries in 2020 and a slew of victories came in their way in home conditions.
India had a dreadful series in New Zealand as they were beaten blue by the marauding Kiwis by 2-0.
New Zealand did not have to wait too much longer for more points though, beating Virat Kohli’s India 2-0 at home. That is two of the three losses India have suffered so far in the WTC.
In spite of their handsome victories at home against S.A. and Bangladesh, India quickly found themselves on the backfoot against New Zealand, suffering a 10-wicket loss at Wellington where they failed to pass 200 in either innings. Southee (4/49) and debutant Kyle Jamieson (4/39) shared eight wickets in India’s first innings and the veteran helped himself to 5/69 in the second innings to leave New Zealand needing to chase just nine runs to win.
Jamieson backed up his fine debut with a five-wicket haul in the second Test (5/45) and by the match’s fourth innings, New Zealand were chasing a potentially tricky target of 132. A 103-run opening stand between Latham (52) and Blundell (55) ensured they got the job done with a minimum of fuss.
New Zealand finished the series with 180 points, 50 percent of what was available to them at that point.
New Zealand 2 – West Indies 0, December 2020
It was another 10 months before New Zealand played another match in the WTC, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the cricket calendar.
With several series needing to be postponed throughout 2020, the ICC announced in November that the WTC finalists would be determined through percentage of points earned rather than total points.
At this stage, New Zealand sat fourth on percentage points (50), behind England (60.83), India (75) and Australia (82.22).
Having made up ground with their 2-0 win over India in February, New Zealand resumed their march to the final by beating the West Indies 2-0 at home.
Captain Williamson led the way in the series opener, scoring a momentous 251 at Hamilton, walking off to a standing ovation from the crowd and handshakes from most of the West Indies line-up. That proved the backbone of New Zealand’s total of 519/7 and an eventual innings and 134 run win.
Williamson sat out the second Test for the birth of his first child, but New Zealand found a way to get the job done without him.
Henry Nicholls stepped up with a big century (174) to help New Zealand to a total of 460, and five-wicket hauls from Southee (5/32) and Jamieson (5/34) in the first innings paved the way for an innings and 12 run victory.
For the third straight series New Zealand picked up all 120 points up for grabs, taking their percentage up 62.5 per cent.
New Zealand 2 – Pakistan 0, December-January 2020-21
New Zealand continued their winning streak when Pakistan toured, registering yet another 2-0 series win.
Returning from the birth of his child, Williamson was at the heart of his team’s success against the touring Pakistan outfit.
The captain started the series with a century (129) to set up a 101-run win at Mount Maunganui, and he took things a step further with a double-century (238) in the second Test, making it three hundreds in his past three matches.
Incredibly, he was still outshone in the second Test, with young quick Jamieson taking 11 wickets for the match (5/69, 6/48) to be named player of the match in an innings and 176 run win.
The 120 points collected took New Zealand’s haul to 420 and crucially their percentage of available points up to 70.
It also saw New Zealand rise to the top of the ICC Test Rankings.