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How Will New Zealand and India Match Up for the ICC World Test Championship?
The ICC World Test Championship match will soon be with us. The match between New Zealand and India is set to take place in June at the Ageas Bowl stadium in Hampshire, England.
The match was originally set to take place at England's home of cricket Lords but was moved due to safety concerns. The Ageas Bowl has provision for on-site hotel facilities, a must-have in the present climate.
It will be the first final game in the ICC championship. As such, it is sure to generate a considerable amount of interest.
India's Route to the Final
Both teams performed excellently in the run-up to the final, securing wins against top sides. India put down their place in the match by beating England in a 3-1 series win.
India's victory prevented both England and Australia from qualifying for the final against New Zealand. Their fourth test win dashed Australia's hopes of reaching the final standings.
At the start of the tour England still entertained some faint hopes of making the final. These were soon disappointed when they failed to win the required three out of four test matches.
It started well enough for the visitors, winning the first teat in fine style. Heavy defeats in the second and third tests however made progression impossible.
The fourth test offered the possibility of an England win over India allowing Australia back into contention. A brilliant Indian performance of a 25-run victory scuppered that plan.
India eventually finished top of the World Test Cricket league standings with 520 points from their 17 matches played.
New Zealand's Route to the Final
New Zealand's route to the final did not get off to the best start. A series draw in Sri Lanka was followed by a heavy defeat to Australia. The tour of Australia was certainly one to forget for New Zealand with the home team displaying some serious match-winning form.
NZ managed to start 2020 by regrouping and beating India 2-0 at home. Given India's impressive league standing of only losing 4 matches, this is an impressive feat.
From then on New Zealand have looked imperious, without losing another match. They soundly defeated West Indies and Pakistan 2-0 each.
New Zealand therefore won 7 out of their 11 tests, notching up an impressive 70%-win rate.
Their route to the final was secured and they could look on and wonder who they were to meet out of India, England and Australia.
Speculating on the Outcome
Both New Zealand and India fans are bound to have a keen interest in the ICC World Test Championship Final. Sports betting in New Zealand is hugely popular, and lots of fans of the game are sure to enjoy making a wager on the final.
In New Zealand, betting on cricket is a widespread way to make the sport even more exciting. As one of the nation's most popular sports, it is common for Kiwis to place a bet combining a flutter on the game with watching the action.
Big events such as the ICC World Test in June is sure to generate a huge buzz around it. But as with all top cricket matches, the eventual outcome will be a tricky one to predict.
How Fans Will Attend
Certainly, it will be a final unlike any other, with the current health crisis making any usual guidelines impossible to judge. It is not certain whether supporters will be able to physically attend the Ageas Bowl, which will be known as the Hampshire Bowl for the match.
The stadium is preparing for the possibility of fans being able to attend, with a registration process being part of the ticketing procedure.
Predictions for the ICC World Test Championship Final
But however, if fans manage to watch the match, it promises to be an enthralling display of top-flight cricket. Who will turn out to be the eventual victor is difficult to predict.
Based on form and the ICC Championship results and points, India would be the slight favourite. The Indian side ended up with a superior tally of points over the last two years.
As any cricket fan knows, form and the league table do not count for much in the final match of a competition series.
New Zealand can draw strength in their ability to come back from a disappointing run at the start of the championship to get back to something near their best.
Whether this will help them to repeat their earlier victory over India and continue their march winning form is going to be interesting to see.
The Ongoing Popularity of Cricket
Going on the basis of viewing data gathered following the ICC Men's World Cup in 2019, the popularity of live cricket shows no sign of diminishing. The event had an average global audience of over 1.6 billion for live coverage.
This was added to by the fact that fans watched the action for longer than ever before, with global viewing hours up from previous Cricket World Cups. There is every chance the inaugural ICC World Test Championship will continue this trend, and cricket's popularity will go on to excite and enthral.