The World Test Championship begins on 18th June at Southampton. All eyes will be on the two teams India and Newzealand that will lock horns at the grandest stage of all.
Now both the sides are evenly matched and given the players available in both sides the match promises to be a cracker of a contest.
However in the war there would be 5 mini battles that can pave the way in which the match is going to progress.
So here is the list of 5 key player battles in World Test Championship Finals
1.Boult vs Rohit
Trent Boult versus Rohit Sharma is a duel that would set the tone of this match. Rohit Sharma has been in decent form and is currently the second highest run getter for India in World Test Championship (1030). On the other hand, Trent Boult looked in great nick against England where he ran through the English batting and picked up 6 wickets.
Now Rohit Sharma has had issues against the inswinging deliveries and the left arm angle of Boult adds an extra spice to it. It would be worth watching how the two Mumbai Indian players battle it out in the grandest stage of all.
2. Bumrah vs Williamson
Kane Williamson is the mainstay of New Zealand's batting and his team's performance will depend a lot on his batting. The onus of dismissing Williamson cheaply will be on Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah has not the set the WTC on fire yet with his spells and he will be desperate to leave a mark in the Finals (obviously unless he oversteps).
Kane Williamson has the knack of not giving away his wicket easily and always puts a price on it and it would be interesting to watch whether Bumrah can get this prized scalp with his consistent line and length.
3. Southee vs Kohli
The Indian skipper is going through a century drought of late with his last international hundred coming way back in 2019. With 70 international centuries already in his name , Virat Kohli would love to get his 71st in the Finals of WTC and end his century as well as the ICC Trophy drought since 2013.
Now this dream setup could be put to halt by Kiwi paceman Tim Southee. Southee has been New Zealand's highest wicket taker in World Test Championship and in addition to it he has been the bowler who has dismissed Virat Kohli the maximum times in International cricket (10). Southee was on song in the first test against England where he picked up 7 wickets and if he finds conditions similar in Edgbaston he can trouble Virat Kohli as Anderson did in 2014.
4. Pant vs Jamieson
In between the battles between the experienced campaigners this particular battle between the two young turks will hog a significant limelight. Jamieson has been phenomenal since his international debut and has already scalped 39 wickets in 7 tests that includes 4 5-fers and 1 10 wicket match haul.
On the other hand Pant has been the man with a Double X Factor. From dilscooping Anderson to breach the Australian fortress of Gabba, Pant has achieved remarkable feats in Test cricket in the past 6 months. He has already notched a brilliant century in the Intra squad match and it would be interesting to see who comes at top in this duel.
5.Ashwin vs Conway
Devon Conway has been the poster boy of New Zealand cricket after he notched up a brilliant 200 on his test debut at Lords. The performance not only gave him a Man of the Series at his debut series but also cemented his place in the WTC Finals squad. He would be raring to make an impact in this marquee match too but he would have to get past an unfamiliar competitor in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin.
Conway has not faced a quality spinner yet at international level and Ashwin's average of 19.42 against left handed batsmen makes him a potent threat too. Ashwin has scalped 14 wickets in 6 matches in England and he would be extra motivated to improve his figures and rightly earn the tag of "GOAT"
Apart from these 5 mainstream battles there lies an underrated battle too.
He will keep on bouncing him and he will keep on ducking them. He is relentless in bowling short pitch deliveries throughout the innings and he is patient as always in ducking them. He may get hurt while ducking but that won't dent his spirit. I guess by now you have guessed whom I am talking about. It is none other than Neil Wagner taking on Cheteswar Pujara.
Ever since Wagner has debuted he has bowled the highest number of short pitched deliveries in International cricket and on the other hand Pujara has been the sheet anchor in almost most of India's overseas victories in the recent past.
Pujara has held the innings on one end and let the others play around him whereas Wagner has been touted as a partnership breaker in New Zealand's bowling lineup. It would be a mouth watering contest to see how Wagner's fire stacks up against Pujara's ice.
For the ardent cricket fans all eyes will be on which team lifts the silverware and gets crowned as the Winner of the World Test Championship.