In the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Aakash Chopra believes that both teams are on an equal footing, and that Team India may gain the upper hand much more quickly.
In response to India’s first innings total of 217 runs, New Zealand posted a score of 101/2 at stumps on Day 3. Rain has delayed the start of the fourth day’s play, and the weather prediction predicts more downpour.
— ICC (@ICC) June 21, 2021
During a Star Sports talk, Aakash Chopra stated that the match is on a knife’s edge, despite the scoreboard indicating that the Blackcaps have the upper hand.
“In my opinion, this match is on an even keel and can turn in India’s favor more quickly. I am still saying that New Zealand is definitely not ahead, although the scorecard is showing that they are just 116 runs behind with eight wickets in hand.”
Because they have to bat last, the cricketer-turned-commentator calculated that New Zealand would need to take a lead of roughly 100 runs. According to Aakash Chopra,
“Because from here for them to be ahead in this match, they need to score 216 runs. If they score 150, they would not be ahead. And you can dismiss them for another 150 runs. You were 146/3 with two set batsmen and you scored just 217.”
India may put the cat among the pigeons by striking a couple of early blows, with conditions likely to be seamer-friendly once play begins.
New Zealand may have batting depth, but it lacks quality in comparison to India, according to Aakash Chopra.
“If you do a man-to-man marking, the Indian batting is a lot better as compared to New Zealand. They have the quantity, that there is Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling and Kyle Jamieson also bats but the quality is more important.”
The 43-year-old concluded by noting that the Indian team’s belief in their own ability will serve them well.
Team India’s decision to play both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, according to Aakash Chopra, is an example of them sticking to their strengths.
“If you can get out, you can dismiss the opposition team as well. You have the depth, you have two spinners. In my opinion, this team has the belief as well. The belief was seen on the eve of the match, that they are playing five bowlers. You played two spinners and the opposition team plays five fast bowlers. You play according to your strengths and that is why when you are standing here, you say you can do it. You have done it before and will do it again.”
The Southampton pitch provided some assistance to the Indian spinners on Day 3, with R Ashwin causing a bit of trouble to the Kiwi batsmen.
If the weather holds good and India sets a competitive target for New Zealand in the fourth innings, the two spinners could wreak havoc.