New Zealand's Road To WTC Final: Home Domination Helps Overcome Rocky Start
World Test Championship final: New Zealand's climb up the World Test Championship ladder began disastrously, but they stamped their authority with a bang, claiming the top spot on the points table.
- New Zealand will face India in the World Test Championship final
- New Zealand are fresh of a Test series win over England
- Kane Williamson would want to lead from the front in WTC final
New Zealand come into the World Test Championship final against India on a high, having beaten England away to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches. The two teams will face off in the marquee clash beginning Friday at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton. New Zealand will also draw confidence from the fact that they were the only team to beat table-toppers India in a series during the 2019-21 WTC cycle. However, it was not always a smooth ride for the Kane Williamson-led side.
A drawn series in Sri Lanka and then a thrashing in Australia meant New Zealand's hopes of making the final of the inaugural WTC looked bleak at one point. However, they managed to turn their fortune around and go on an unbeaten run at home as they became the first team to seal their place in the final.
Here is a look at New Zealand's journey to the final of the World Test Championship 2021
Sri Lanka vs New Zealand (2019)
New Zealand got off to the worst possible start as Sri Lanka beat them by six wickets in their first outing in the World Test Championship. However, centuries from Tom Latham and BJ Watling -- who will play the final Test of his against India -- saw them beat the hosts by an innings and 65 runs in the second Test and level the series.
Australia vs New Zealand (2019-20)
New Zealand suffered a horror tour of Australia as the hosts - in a rich vein of form - ran out 3-0 winners in the Test series. Marnus Labuschagne scored two centuries - including a double - and David Warner scored a triple-century as New Zealand came out with little to cheer about.
New Zealand vs India (2020)
When India -- unbeaten in the WTC until then -- came to New Zealand, it turned the tide for Williamson's team. New Zealand not only beat India, they swept the series 2-0. Their bowlers ran riot as the Indian batting line-up could not survive the pace and bounce. The series kicked off New Zealand's unbeaten streak that powered them into the WTC final.
That they won both matches against India became even more key as the COVID-19 pandemic caused the qualification to be decided by percentage of points won as opposed to the total points tally.
New Zealand vs West Indies (2020)
The series against West Indies began a strong run of form for Kane Williamson. He scored a massive 251 in the first Test that propelled the hosts to a win by an innings and 134 runs.
Williamson sat out in the second Test, but a big century from Henry Nicholls and five-wicket hauls from Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson powered New Zealand to yet another series sweep.
New Zealand vs Pakistan (2020)
Kane Williamson returned to the team and carried off from where he left off, as his 129 helped New Zealand register a 101-run win in the first Test against Pakistan.
He upped the ante in the second Test, scoring yet another double-century, while Kyle Jamieson took 11 wickets as New Zealand thrashed the visitors by an innings and 176 runs to complete a third consecutive series sweep.