India and New Zealand clash in the all-important World Test Championship Final, which was supposed to start yesterday, on 18th June. However, after a dampener of a first day with persistent rain spoiling the start of the epic clash, there was no corner in the ground for even the toss to take place. The Bharat Army kept the spirit in the ground alive by dancing to the rhythm of the saxophone and drums.
A place in the final is a culmination of hard work for both these qualified teams as they try to seize the mega opportunity of being called the best team in Test cricket. The match is termed the biggest test match in the history of the game so far.
Ahead of the test match, there are crucial numbers that indicate the strength and weakness of both sides. Check out the WTC Final Story in Numbers:
1- First test match between the two teams in England
This will be the first test match between the two teams in England. Team India has played a couple of tests at the venue in 2014 and 2018 against England. Although, they have been on the losing side in both the test matches. New Zealand will play their first-ever test match at Southampton.
When India played at the venue, Cheteshwar Pujara scored a resilient 132 in the first innings and was the only player to score a half-century in the first innings. Pujara, who hasn’t scored a century in more than 28 months, will be key to India’s chances in challenging conditions at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton.
In the past 10 years, India has a win-loss ratio of 0.18 in the country, while New Zealand has a better record with a corresponding figure of 0.66.
8- New Zealand is on an 8-match unbeaten run in test cricket
This includes 7 wins and a solitary draw played out in the 1st Test of the series against England earlier this month. This is their longest unbeaten run in the format since 2002 when they were undefeated for 9 matches.
5- R Ashwin has dismissed Kane Williamson 5 times in whites
R Ashwin has dismissed the opposition captain Kane Williamson 5 times while playing in whites. In 5 matches, the skipper averages 29 against the legendary off-spinner.
The battle between Ashwin and Williamson might well decide the match's fate if the pitch offers some assistance for the spinners. In the recent past, Ashwin has been impressive in overseas countries. In the Border-Gavaskar trophy down under, he scalped Steve Smith in each of the 3 tests he played. Overall, he bowled at an average of 28 and picked 12 wickets in the series.
83% - of the teams have won the toss and opted to bat first at this venue in Test cricket
It won’t surprise if the team wins the toss bats first, as it is unlikely that they will prefer to chase in the final. Have your say! What should we opt for if we win the toss today? Let us know here:
The players in Focus: Hitman and Spider-Man
Rohit Sharma - The Hit Man (63.5% runs coming from boundaries)
The talismanic batter started opening the innings in Test cricket in 2019, and since then, he hasn’t looked back. Rohit averages 64.4 in the World Test Championship, and with 63.5% of the runs coming from boundaries, he has the highest percentage of the runs from boundaries.
He has scored 4 centuries over the course of the tournament and can equal Marnus Labuschagne’s tally of 5 hundreds'.
Since the beginning of 2019, Rishabh Pant has dropped 12 catches, the most by any wicket-keeper in test cricket. However, numbers don't tell the entire story as Pant’s keeping improved last year.
Pant averages 64 in 2021 with the bat, and this year has been a coming of age. The keeper-batter has scored a century and 4 half-centuries, including a couple of them in the 4th innings against Australia. The Indian team would like for him to play a similar role in the next 5 days.
These are the numbers that suggest how the match can pan out between the two teams in Southampton. Win, Lose or Draw, rain or no rain, the Bharat Army will be there to support our beloved Indian Cricket Team at the ground because we are the 12th Man/Woman on the field #WinLoseorDraw.