The inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) will reach its climax on Friday when the two top teams in the world India and New Zealand will square off against each other in the five-day summit clash at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the world cricket body to make changes in their original schedule for the Test championship. Now finally, almost two years later, India and New Zealand will lock horns with each other for the first-ever world title in the history of Test cricket.
Both India and New Zealand look balance and as par on the paper. However, the Kane Williamson led outfit will be high on confidence, having defeated the hosts England in two-match Test series a few days ago.
On the other hand, the Indian players have not played competitive cricket since the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was halted on May 4 by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The second leg of the cash-rich league will take place in the United Arab Emirates later this year.
However, the Indian team was recently involved in a 3-day long intra-squad match and the form of Shubman Gill and wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant is a big positive for them.
Ahead of the marquee event; here we take a look at the weather forecast for the five days:
Day 1: June 18
Dark clouds are expected in the sky on the first day of the WTC final. The temperature is expected to hover between 11 and 16 degree Celsius. A couple of passing showers and thunderstorms are expected. A few overs in the day’s play will be affected by the weather.
Day 2: June 19
The second day is expected to be less cloudy and there are lesser chances of thunderstorms. However, rain is again expected to play spoilsport on Day 2. The temperature will hover between 13 and 19 degree Celsius. With the overcast condition, the pacers could play a massive role in the outcome of the match and the toss winning captain will be tempted to bowl first.
Day 3: June 20
On Day 3, there are 90 per cent chances of precipitation. The temperature would hover between 13 and 18 degree Celsius. The average speed of the wind will be 13 km/h on the day, which is not an ideal condition for cricket. Hence, there are chances that a significant part of the game can get washed out on the third day.
Day 4: June 21
Showers are again expected on Monday and the dark cloud will be seen in the sky. However, there are no thunderstorms. The wind is expected to blow at 32 km/h and it could create a problem in the proceedings of the match.
Day 5: June 22
Some part of the game will be again washed out due to the rain. Clouds and showers are expected in the first two sessions of the days. There are no thunderstorms, and the evening weather is expected to be cricket friendly.
WTC Final Squads:
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (Captain), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav
WTC Final Probable XIs:
New Zealand: Devon Conway, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (Captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (WK), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma
WTC Final Start Timing: The WTC final between India and New Zealand will kick off at 03:30 pm (IST).
WTC Final Telecast: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD
WTC Final Live Streaming: Disney + Hotstar