1st Test: New Zealand vs India
Wellington’s the place to be for cricket fans this weekend because that’s where the 1st Test: New Zealand vs India is on, and it could easily be an epic.
The two best captains in the game come face to face as the Black Caps take on the tourists from India. Virat Kohli is the top batsman in the World Test ICC Rankings while Kane Williamson is fourth, and Kohli knows that his opposite number is one of the most ingenious skippers in world cricket, particularly on home turf.
And both teams have a score to settle.
At the beginning of the tour, the T20 series between New Zealand and India ended in a 0-5 whitewash for the Black Cats but they came back magnificently in the three-match ODI series to thump their visitors 3-0.
And that could be crucial. The very latest New Zealand vs India betting odds here at SBOTOP have India as marginal favourites, but the hosts are devilishly difficult to beat at home.
New Zealand’s momentum
The Black Caps hosted England in a two-match test series at the end of 2019, and came through that with a 1-0 win. But then things started to go wrong for the five-day team, suffering a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Australia, losing by over 200 runs on each occasion.
The T20 humiliation at the hands of India added to New Zealand’s pain, but then the momentum swung back in favour of the Black Caps in the ODIs, and now they are boosted by the return of two key players, fast-bowling pair Trent Boult and Neil Wagner.
While Boult has been the Black Caps best bowler across all formats, the left arm quickie Wagner has emerged as a potent test bowler. His hostile, often short-pitched, bowling is a good foil to Boult’s fast seam and swing, and now he is ranked second in the world.
And Williamson will lead a batting line-up which can frustrate the opposition’s attack, ably backed up by Tom Latham and BJ Watling.
India’s toughest test so far
This promises to be India’s biggest challenge so far in the World Championship, which they lead with a maximum 360 points with seven wins from seven tests. Australia are in pursuit, while third-placed England are some way back. Virat Kohli’s team is the only one with a 100 per cent record but, to give some context, they have had victories over the three bottom teams South Africa, West Indies and Bangladesh.
The Black Caps have only played five matches so far, three of those against the rampant Aussies so things could change quite quickly if Williamson can mastermind a win over India.
Can we expect a backlash from Bumrah?
On a pace friendly pitch in Wellington, Jasprit Bumrah is expected to lead India’s pace attack alongside Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. Bumrah has bowled well in the warm-up, but after a wicketless ODI series, he will be hungry for success.
It was the first time in his career that the strike bowler had completed a series without a wicket and he has been knocked off the top of the ICC ODI rankings by…Trent Boult.
That will annoy him!
The head to head New Zealand vs India results, across all formats of the game, have been pretty much shared, with India having a slight edge at 16 wins to 14 over the past four years.
Kohli hopes to become only the third captain to win in New Zealand, following MAK Pataudi in 1968 and MS Dhoni in 2009.
But he comes up against a skipper who is almost unbeatable at home. In 17 tests across eight series, Williamson has lost just one, to South Africa, and the Black Caps have won the other seven series.
|New Zealand vs India||New Zealand Draw no Bet @ 2.19|
|Feb 21-25, 06:30 (GMT+8)|
With two excellent batting line-ups, the captain who can work out how to get 20 wickets will come out on top.
India, at 2.15, are the favourites to win and the draw is at 3.50, with the Black Caps available at 2.55.
But home advantage and Williamson’s record as captain might just give the hosts the edge.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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