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Black Caps gunning for glory in WTC final

By Rediff Cricket
June 16, 2021 14:59 IST
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IMAGE: New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson at a team photoshoot ahead of the World Test Championship final. Photographs: Black Caps/Twitter
 

The inaugural World Test Championship final begins in Southampton on Friday, June 18, as an upbeat New Zealand take on a strong India side in a duel to become Test cricket's first official world champions.

The one-off match at the Rose Bowl marks the culmination of a two-year cycle of the World Test Championship, which was launched in 2019 to create Test cricket's pinnacle event.

The move was intended to revive Test cricket and make the five day game more relevant in the times of Twenty20 cricket.

WTC ball

And New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson reckons it has been done with success.

'I think we saw it at the end of the competition, teams trying to push their case for qualifying which made way for a lot of exciting results,' Williamson said last week.

'We saw in Australia, in New Zealand, a lot of teams had a chance to get through.'

New Zealand have been unlucky to not have won a major ICC tournament despite a barrel of talent in the teams that have played since their first Test match against England in 1930.

New Zealand vice-captain Tom Latham

IMAGE: New Zealand Vice-Captain Tom Latham.

From Richard Hadlee to Martin Crowe and the tainted Chris Cairns, Daniel Vettori and Stephen Fleming to Brendan McCullum and Ross Taylor, to the petit yet towering batsman Kane Williamson, talent and intent have never been lacking for the Black Caps.

Reuters noted that since the start of 2015, batsmen like Tom Latham and stalwart Ross Taylor have been prolific but Williamson has been elite -- his tally of 9,899 international runs eclipsed only by India's Virat Kohli and England's Joe Root.

 

IMAGE: New Zealand seamer Trent Boult is expected to make the Duke's ball do some talking in the WTC final.

Among wicket-takers across all formats in that period, seamer Trent Boult and his new-ball partner Tim Southee have been massive influencers in the team's fortunes.

And the swinging Duke's ball could have Boult and Southee influence the route of the WTC final.

New Zealand finished runners-up at the last two 50-overs World Cups -- they were particularly unlucky in 2019 when England won the title via a now-scrapped boundary-count rule after the final ended in a tie even after a Super Over.

The WTC final presents the Black Caps with another opportunity to become world champions and if all falls into place, nothing can stop them go for glory.

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