The first day of the highly-anticipated grand finale of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship has been called off due to heavy rain since the morning in Southampton. While the weather forecast for the upcoming days is also quite gloomy, the fans can still expect some cricket especially with a reserve day also in the picture.
Players to watch out for considering Southampton's weather
It must be noted that India have already confirmed their playing XI with New Zealand yet to announce. However, both teams can make as many alterations as they want from their 15-member squad till the time of the toss. Considering the overcast conditions and an expected shortened game, let us have a look at few players who can play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of this match by doing the following things:
1. Scoring a century
With so much cloud-cover expected throughout the match, it is going to be a humungous challenge for all the batsmen against two quality bowling line-ups. Scoring a century would prove to be quite a herculean task despite so many star players like Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson etc. on display. However, things might work in favour of Rishabh Pant under these conditions.
The swashbuckling left-handed batsman might be given a license to go after the bowlers and could be one of the players who could score a hundred with his counter-attacking approach. One can expect a very similar attitude from New Zealand's Colin de Grandhomme. While the fans await the start of the match, all eyes will be on these two game-changing players for whom the stage is perfectly set to unleash their heroics.
2. Taking a five-wicket haul
If the early signs are to be believed, one can expect the wicket at Ageas Bowl to be a bowling paradise, with some grass cover coupled with overcast conditions. The swing bowlers might prove to be unplayable for the batsmen of both sides resulting in quite a very low-scoring contest. Looking at the kind of bowlers in both India and New Zealand, all of them are going to be very lethal.
However, Tim Southee and Mohammed Shami might have an upped edge ahead of all the bowlers because their main weapon in the bowling armoury is swing. The duo can move the ball both ways with ease and are going to pose a lot of threat to the opposition batsmen. With so much relying on their shoulders, both Southee and Shami will be raring to put their teams in front by producing an exceptional five-wicket haul in the finale.
3. Showing brilliance on the field
Matches like these often get decided by a moment of brilliance on the field. Everyone remembers Martin Guptill's magic to run out MS Dhoni during the 2019 WC semis that completely turned the game in the favour of Kiwis. With the final showdown of the World Test Championship also expected to be a closely fought contest, there are two players on both sides who can turn the tides with their fielding efforts.
For India, it is certainly going to be Ravindra Jadeja, who is the best fielder in the world. The 32-year-old can take flying catches and can inflict incredible run-outs with his lighting quick throws. On the other hand, Kiwi wicketkeeper BJ Watling could make a huge impact in his final Test match as he will need to be at his absolute best with a lot of edges probably flying off on the bowling of New Zealand pacers.