India and New Zealand, the top 2 teams in the WTC standings will lock horns in the finals starting June 18. The Rose Bowl in Southampton is the venue for the finals. Both these teams are on the verge of writing history. The achievement of being crowned inaugural WTC champions awaits both sides.
Kiwis are flying high on confidence after beating England 1-0 in the recently concluded 2-match series. They have even toppled India at the top of the Test rankings. The fact that they have acclimatised to the conditions puts them in a better position as compared to the Indians. New Zealand will also benefit from the fact that the conditions and the pitch in England are quite similar to the ones they are used to playing at home. India will have a task on their hands if they have to overcome the kiwi challenge.
StumpsandBails looks at 3 areas where India can target New Zealand:
#3 Dependence on Kane Williamson
New Zealand even in the past have been guilty of being over-reliant on their captain. In the 2015 ODI World Cup, even though Martin Guptill was their leading run-scorer, they were overdependent on Brendon McCullum. It was imperative for McCullum to set the tempo and once he failed in the finals, it was all over for them. Similarly, in the 2019 ODI World Cup, Kane Williamson was black caps’ lone warrior. Even though many of their players have been in form and have scored runs, in a big game like the finals they will be hoping for Williamson to weave his magic. If India can nip out Williamson cheaply, they can go on to dominate the game.
#2 A one-dimensional bowling attack
There may be a lot of eyebrows raised if one says the Kiwi bowling attack is one-dimensional. But the fact remains that under slightly difficult conditions for bowling, the attack suddenly appears toothless. The Rose Bowl pitch is expected to assist spinners sooner or later and this is where the kiwis might find themselves shortchanged. Indians will look to attack their lone spinner, Ajaz Patel. If India overcome the initial hiccup against a disciplined new-ball bowling lineup, they will surely fancy their chances.
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#1 The pressure of not winning a title
New Zealand has never won a major ICC silverware. Their only ICC multi-tournament win remains the Champions Trophy Knockout in 2000. The pressure of not having won a major trophy weighs heavily on the Kiwis. Their senior players like Williamson, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, and Tim Southee have been part of major heartbreaking losses. They will feel the burden of their own expectations when they set out to battle against India who have a bunch of match-winners who can take the game away from them in a single session.