The D-day is finally here! In 6 hours time, India and New Zealand will lock horns with each other for the championship glory. India have already announced their playing XI, the same which was predicted by most of the experts before the start. Though rain is expected to play spoilsport, people are still excited to witness an interesting matchup between these two high profile sides. So, which team has the higher chance of lifting the championship mace? Let's find out:
1. Batting :
(i.) Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson in Tests
On England Soil
After a poor outing in 2014, Indian skipper Virat Kohli gave a stern reply to his critics in 2018 with 3 centuries and 2 fifties. Kohli was the top scorer for Team India in that tour and was the Player of the Series. However, Kohli's record in the knockout stages of an ICC tournament is not eye-catchy. In 15 knockout games, Kohli scored 346 runs with an average of just 28.8. The Indian captain scored only 2 fifties which came in easy wins. He would be raring to go out and change the record and stats in favour of him and his team.
Meanwhile, Kane Williamson hasn't been impressive on England soil so far. He has averaged just around 26 with the bat, despite having scored 132 once at Lord's in 2015. It should also be noted that Kane Williamson has played 8 out of 10 innings in England at Lord's only.
In Tests, Virat Kohli in 2018 alone smashed 593 runs in 10 innings at a dashing average of 59.3 and he would be looking to continue his form where he left around 3 years back.
Kohli and Williamson against each other:
Virat Kohli's recent performance against NZ seems to be a big worry of concern for Team India.
The blue part of the graph shows runs scored and the above orange part has been stacked up above as batting average.
Though the overall numbers might show Kohli's domination, the fact is, that in the recent 2020 Test series, Kohli's number were too below par with scores of 2,19, 3 & 14 (Just 38 runs from 4 innings), while Kane Williamson smashed a crucial 89 in the 1st Test of the 2020 series.
Below is the graph of Kohli in 2014 & 2020 against NZ on their home, representing runs and his batting average
(ii.) Rahane vs Ross Taylor
On England Soil :
Ajinkya Rahane has an impressive record in Southampton ground. Ross Taylor, who is considered to be an excellent middle-order batsman for his team, is expected to be a crucial player for the NZ side.
The above graph compares Rahane's runs and average in Tests in England. (Point-1 represents Runs and Point-2 represents Average)
Ross Taylor has been ahead of Rahane in numbers on the England soil. Taylor has smashed 4 fifties and has a century to his name in Manchester in 2008.
Also read | ICC announces prize money for winners of World Test Championship final
Ajinkya Rahane is the only batsman to smash 3 fifty-plus scores in Southampton ground for Team India in Test Cricket. His scores are (54 & 52*) in 2014 and (11 & 51) in 2018. His excellence in Southampton in past has made him a player to watch out for.
The below graph shows Rahane's importance in Southampton ground.
Taylor's recent 80 runs score against England in Birmingham is expected to boost his confidence ahead of the World Test Championship Final. He has been consistent over the years on England soil.
Ajinkya Rahane and Ross Taylor against each other
Rahane in the past has done well against New Zealand by averaging 50 with the bat. Though most of the runs came in his 118-run knock in Wellington in 2014 & 188-run innings in Indore in 2016. Even in India's poor series against NZ in 2020, Rahane managed to score 46 & 29 in the 1st Test.
Ross Taylor's performances against India since 2014 has been average as he hasn't converted any of his knocks into a big score.
(i.) Tim Southee vs Ishant Sharma
On England Soil
Bowling average (orange) and Bowling S.R (Grey)
Ishant Sharma has been the joint-highest leading wicket-taker for Team India in English conditions. He has mastered the art of bowling there with having experience over the years. His memorable performance of 7/74 in Lords in 2014 helped India win a Test match. His experience in England conditions is the reason he has been picked ahead of Mohammed Siraj.
However, Tim Southee has a better bowling average and S/R than Ishant Sharma in England.
Tim Southee and Ishant Sharma against each other
Bowling average (Orange) and Bowling S.R (Grey)
Southee in just 8 Test matches, picked 39 wickets and has been a serious threat for Team India over the years. Virat Kohli also has struggled to play against Tim Southee in international cricket and he has also troubled Indian batsman like Rahane and Pujara in the past. In the 2020 series, Southee was the star with bowling figures of 4/49 and 5/61 in Wellington.
3. Head-to-Head between NZ vs Ind in ICC Events (At neutral venue)
So far, India and New Zealand have faced each other in 7 ICC events at a neutral venue. The only time India defeated New Zealand at a neutral venue in an ICC event was during the 2003 World Cup.
1975 WC: New Zealand won (Group Stage)
1979 WC: New Zealand won (Group Stage)
1999 WC: New Zealand won (Super Six)
2000 CT: New Zealand won (Finals)
2003 WC: India won (Super Six)
2007 WT20: New Zealand won (Group Stage)
2019 WC: New Zealand won (Semi-Finals)
The above analysis suggests New Zealand has more chance of winning the WTC. But as we have seen in the past, Team India has always shown a fighting spirit and have turned things around in the past and we can expect the same in this mega-event as well.
Watch the video here: