ICC World Test Championship Final: Where is it headed?

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India vs New Zealand - ICC World Test Championship Final 2019-21

The World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand has been fairly dictated by the rain gods ever since its beginning. While the rain still continues to be a threat towards the outcome of the final, the prediction for the next couple of days promises to better than Day 4. The penultimate day of the scheduled 5-day Test was washed out almost confirming the use of reserved Day 6 for the Test match. New Zealand currently standing at 101/2 in their first innings, trailing India by 116 runs evidently have their noses ahead. Having said that, with more than 180 overs still to be played, all three results are still possible. Here are the possible scenarios that could be witnessed:

1India win – Unlikely, yet possible

WTC Final: Albeit quite bleak, India are still in with a chance
WTC Final: Albeit quite bleak, India are still in with a chance

The collapse on Day 3 of the Test match did not do good for the Indian team. Adding on to that, a brisk start from New Zealand made the day even worse. With only 116 to play within the first innings and with as many as 18 wickets to take, India will need a miracle from its bowlers to pull it off. Moreover, the bowlers and the batters will both need to play aggressive, fast-paced, and attacking cricket for the Indians to stand a chance to win the World Test Championship.

Kohli, Rahane will both have a role to play in the second innings for India
Kohli, Rahane will both have a role to play in the second innings for India

Going into Day 5, which now only the second-last day of the Test, India will want to get rid of the Kiwi batters as early as possible. Getting them wrapped up in at most a session and a half, and without any lead, could give Indian batters the time and the leeway to play freely and build on a considerable target. The likes of Shubhman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara are all experienced cricketers and possess the ability to up the ante whenever the team needs.

It wouldn’t be the first time that the Indians have gone all guns blazing in pursuit of winning the Test match. The said approach will also lend time enough time on the final Day 6 to get a go against the Black-caps and thereby set up an Indian win. But as easy as it sounds if India pulls this off, it would inarguably be their best win ever in their Test history.

2New Zealand win – If at all India are to collapse like the first innings

Star with the ball for NZ in the first innings, Jamieson has a job to do alongside Southee, Boult and Wagner
Star with the ball for NZ in the first innings, Jamieson has a job to do alongside Southee, Boult, and Wagner

We’ve all witnessed the kind of swing and purchase New Zealand pacers have obtained in the air and off the pitch. They troubled the Indian batters with it all through their innings eventually leading to a collapse of cards on Day 3 of the Test match. With only 10 more wickets needed for their bowlers, New Zealand’s win is the more practical of results, if at all there is.

The overnight score of 101/2 would please the Kiwis dressing room given how they countered a swing-less yet controlled Indian bowling. Moreover, with two of their most experienced batters in Taylor and Williamson, New Zealand will amass a lot of confidence to gain a first-innings lead, crucial to winning the contest. They are also the more comfortable of the two teams to take their chances along with enough time in their hands. New Zealand batters would be keen on making sure that they don’t need to bat again for the remainder of the Test match and thereby secure their elusive ICC crown. The stats and odds from recent times also favor the Kiwis with no team having won an ICC title twice since 2011.

3Draw: An unfortunate but probable ending to the Final

Rain has been a constant feature throughout the WTC Final
Rain has been a constant feature throughout the WTC Final

The World Test Champion title has been announced to be shared between the two teams in case of a draw or a tie. While the tie is safe to be eliminated from the encounter, a draw is the most probable of all results. Rain and bad light have had more stoppages than the actual playing time in due course of this Test match. Though chances of rain have significantly reduced in an upcoming couple of days, one can never undermine hindrances due to the light.

A maximum of 196 overs can be played across the two days given the playing conditions. Whether they will be enough for the game to produce a result? No, if both teams play even to half their abilities. An ICC trophy will be shared between two teams for the first time since the Champions Trophy of 2002. It was the Lankans alongside the Indians then and it will be the Kiwis alongside them now. It will still remain one of the most reputed crowns in the history of both countries regardless. As it stands, one only hopes to see some mesmerizing cricket on display in the two days to come.

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