World Test Championship Final: New Zealand's predicted playing XI

World Test Championship Final: New Zealand’s predicted playing XI

New Zealand will meet India for the high-profile contest on June 18.

New Zealand Cricket Team
New Zealand Cricket Team. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

With the World Test Championship (WTC) Final right around the corner, New Zealand is having its eyes set on the biggest prize. The match between India and New Zealand is scheduled to take place at Southampton, England, which kicks off on 18th June 2021.

The problems always lie around what should be the ideal playing XI in a highly anticipated World Test Championship final. History suggests the Southampton pitch has been dry and favors the spinners as the game proceeds. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Kiwis go with spinners or 5 seamers. Here’s what could be the combination for India.

Possible playing combination of New Zealand for WTC Final

Openers- Tom Latham and Devon Conway

Tom Latham. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Latham has been one of the best opening batsmen around the world. A left-handed batsman who’s also the vice-captain of the New Zealand side has scored 680 runs from 11 Tests in the WTC so far at a healthy average of 40. Devon Conway on the other hand has scored a double ton on debut at Lords in the ongoing game against England. Conway will accompany Latham in the final.

Middle-order- Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, and BJ Watling (wk)

Kane Williamson
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Captain Cool Williamson will find himself at number 3 as he always does. Kane led his side to a World Cup final two years back and now he leads his side to the WTC final. What would worry Kane is his lack of form in England against the duke ball. But Kane was an absolute gem for his side in the entire WTC smashing 817 runs from 9 games.

Ross hasn’t had the greatest of the WTC by his standards as he is averaging just above 31. But Kane and Gary will go with their most experienced member given the significance of the final and the pressure that Ross can handle.

Nicholls has been a dependable middle-order batsman for New Zealand for quite some time now. He has a couple of tons to his name in the WTC so far and will be looking forward to getting few more runs in the final against India. WTC final would be the last time we will see BJ hold the gloves for New Zealand. The reliable right-hand batsman and a brilliant gloveman have been a constant key to the success of New Zealand’s cause.

All-rounders – Colin De Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner

Mitchell Santner
Mitchell Santner. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images)

CDG is back into the Kiwi side and is their number one all-rounder. Colin can go all guns blazing and can score quickly. He gives the pace attack a bit more variety, with his ability to provide valuable breakthroughs. Santner might have an edge over Wagner here, just because of the dryness of the pitch. Santner will prove to be crucial for New Zealand. Also, in the final, it’s better to have an extra batting option.

Bolwers – Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, and Trent Boult

Trent Boult
Trent Boult. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The red-hot Jamieson has made his way into the Test arena with a bang as he has picked up 36 wickets from his six Tests at an average of 13.25. He also averages more than 50 with the bat at a healthy strike rate. Not to mention, Kyle made his debut against India back in 2020.

The Spearhead has been the highest wicket-taker for the Kiwis, at an average of 20, Southee has three five-fers. And in English conditions, Southee would be the most dangerous bowler as he naturally swings the ball both ways.

When it comes to swing, Boult has mastered the art of swinging the ball back into the right-handed batsman, which India needs to worry about. If Boult has his regime on, he can wrap the Indian batting order quite quickly and he will be eager to play as he returns to International Cricket

~ Written by Kartik Tandon