India and New Zealand are gearing up for the inaugural ICC World Championship final (WTC), which is scheduled to take place at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. The summit clash gets underway on June 18, and both squads must have started the countdown. India and New Zealand have indeed been two of the strongest teams in the inaugural WTC cycle, and their battle will be intense. However, one can say that Kiwis will hold a slight advantage with the conditions in England and New Zealand being similar. However, they still need to put their best foot forward as India are the top-ranked Test team. Meanwhile, let’s look at New Zealand’s likely playing XI for the WTC final. India’s Predicted Playing XI for ICC World Test Championship Final: Probable Indian Cricket Team Line-Up for Summit Clash Against New Zealand.

Openers: Tom Latham has been one of the consistent openers in Test cricket in the last few years, and the Kiwis would have high hopes from him. The southpaw is technically solid, and his knack of staying at the crease for long is a sheer headache for bowlers. Latham will be accompanied by Tom Blundell. A veteran of 10 Test matches, Blundell has played some impressive knocks in his short career, but tackling Indian pacers in England conditions would be a daunting task. Hence, the right-handed batsman will need to switch his A-game on. India vs New Zealand, ICC World Test Championship 2021 Final: 8-Day Bubble in India, 10-Day Quarantine in UK from June 2, Families to Travel.

Middle Order: The top-ranked Test batsman and New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson will come at number three, and needless to say, he’ll be critical to Kiwi’s success. Well, Williamson's recent performances in Test cricket have been jaw-dropping, and Virat Kohli’s men will require some game plan to keep him quiet. The skipper will be followed by the veteran Ross Taylor. The 37-year-old might be at the fag end of his career but is still effective. Moreover, Taylor has a ton of experience of playing in these conditions, and that would come in handy.

Henry Nicholls comes in at number five, and he’ll be asked to tackle the Indian spinners. Having seven Test centuries under his belt, the southpaw is very much familiar with the drill of this format, and Indians can’t afford to underestimate him.

Wicket-Keeper: BJ Watling is arguably the most underrated cricketers going around, but his numbers in Test cricket aren’t average. In 73 matches, Watling has scored over 3,700 runs comprising eight centuries. Not to forget, Watling is one of the best when it comes to keeping in red-ball cricket. He’ll indeed be a handy asset with the game taking place at the green Southampton track.

All-Rounders: Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner, two potent players, are in contention for the number seven slot. Daryl is indeed a better batsman of the two, but Santner will contribute a lot more in the bowling department. Moreover, the last four spots will be occupied by pacers, and hence, Santner should be the lead spinner in the side.

Bowlers: Now, this is one area where New Zealand are arguably the best in the world. In Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, the Kiwis have a daunting pace attack, and Indian batsmen surely won’t get any breather. Be it pace, swing, seam, bounce or variation, this attack offers everything and New Zealand fans would be hoping to see the stumps flying. Notably, all these fast bowlers have tasted half-centuries in Test cricket, and the world knows India’s struggle against tail-enders.

New Zealand Likely Playing XI For WTC Final: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 09, 2021 07:29 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website