WTC Final Live: Big day arrives as India ready for New Zealand battle, win the toss and bat first ‘mantra’ likely to be the winning formula

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WTC Final LIVE – India vs New Zealand LIVE: Win the toss and bat first, to be the mantra in World Test Championship final – Indian team under Virat Kohli has declared their playing XI for the World Test Championship final. Though the wicket at Southampton is likely to have grass cover over on the surface and should help the seamers, the stats of the ground and even the past record of India’s matches at Southampton suggests – the winning formula on the wicket would be WIN THE TOSS & BAT FIRST

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WTC Final LIVE – India vs New Zealand LIVE: First take a look at the playing XI where India has decided to go in with 3 pacers and 2 spinner combination. On the other hand, New Zealand is yet to announce their playing XI but conditions suggest they will rely more on their pacers to win the World Test Championship.

India Playing XI: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.

New Zealand (Likely XI): 1 Tom Latham, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 BJ Watling (wk), 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Tim Southee, 9 Ajaz Patel/Kyle Jamieson, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult.

WTC Final LIVE – India vs New Zealand LIVE: Win the toss and bat first, to be the mantra in World Test Championship final

Why winning the toss and batting first will be a right thing?

Reason 1- India have lost both of their previous Tests in Southampton – by 266 Runs in 2014 & 60 Runs in 2018 against England. Both times England won the toss and batted first and won handsomely.

Reason 2 – India is playing 2 spinners in the squad with a belief that the wicket will assist spin in last 2 days of the match. For India winning the toss and batting 1st will be crucial as both Indian spinners Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin know well how to exploit a fourth innings pitch. 

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Reason 3 – Record at Southampton: The Rose Bowl is also known as The Ageas Bowl has hosted six Test matches so far, out of which two matches were won by the team batting first while one went in favour of the team bowling first. Three matches resulted in a draw. 

Total matches – 6

Matches won batting first – 2

Matches won bowling first – 1

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The average first innings score at Southampton is 337 which means that there will be a tough fight between bat and ball. While the average 2nd innings score is 280. This shows that the team batting first will clearly have an upper hand over. 

Average 1st innings scores 337

Average 2nd innings scores 280

Average 3rd innings scores 262

Average 4th innings scores 187

Also Read: India Playing XI for ICC WTC Final declared: Virat Kohli’s team to play with 3 pacers & 2 spinners, Jadeja & Ashwin in XI

Southampton Pitch 

Pitch curator Simon Lee revealed that he has prepared Rose bowl wicket to have pace, carry and bounce. With the weather forecast offering a faint chance of rain during the ICC WTC Final, the conditions will suit seamers.

In the past, the Rose Bowl pitch has assisted spinners to some extent. In the last Test match at the venue between England and Pakistan, the pacers ruled the roost but when quality spinners played, they dominated. In 2018 when England took on India, off-spinner Moeen Ali returned with 9 wickets from the match. Ravichandran Ashwin too scalped three.

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Experts Opinion

Even though winning the toss and choosing to bat first is an obvious choice, former New Zealand cricketer Shane Bond feels that Blackcaps should bowl first. “I think New Zealand will play five seamers, and I think they’ll win the toss and they’ll bowl first. If New Zealand win the toss and bowl as well as they have. I think they’ll bowl out India cheaply and that ain’t a bad thing. The risk is if they (NZ) don’t bowl them out, India have got two world class spinners and are right in the game. So, world-class that is going to be huge. And that first innings is going to be huge,” he said.

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Virat Kohli the most unlucky captain ever

If the toss is anything to go by Virat Kohli is certainly the most unlike captain ever. Virat Kohli has now led India in 200 matches in international cricket till the third ODI against England. However, among these 200 games, Virat has won the toss in only 85 matches and lost as many as 115 tosses. His toss win/loss ratio of 0.74 is the worst among Indian captains who have led for at least 100 games.

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