Former India batsman Mohammad Kaif has expressed surprise at the fact that India haven’t beaten New Zealand in an ICC event since the 2003 World Cup. He also expressed hope that the Indians would break the drought in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
India will take on New Zealand in the WTC final in Southampton from June 18-22. While the Blackcaps are currently involved in a two-match Test series against England, Virat Kohli-led Team India arrived in the UK on June 3 for their grueling tour of England.
Taking to his official Twitter account, Kaif responded to a quiz from ESPNCricinfo on the WTC final. One of the questions was – when was the last time India beat New Zealand in an ICC event?
On learning that the answer was 2003, during the World Cup in South Africa, Kaif tweeted:
“Never realised we old boys were the last team to beat the Black Caps in an ICC event. Hope the current Indian team finally end the losing streak and win the #WTC @BCCI.”
India defeated New Zealand by seven wickets in the 2003 World Cup clash between the teams in Centurion. Batting first, the Blackcaps were cleaned up for 146 in 45.1 overs as Zaheer Khan claimed 4 for 42. India cantered home to victory courtesy unbeaten half-centuries from Kaif (68) and Rahul Dravid (53).
Since the 2003 World Cup, India have gone down to New Zealand in the 2007 and 2016 T20 World Cups, apart from the 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final.
New Zealand might start as favorites against India: Ajit Agarkar
Former India cricketer Ajit Agarkar feels that New Zealand will have a slight edge going into the WTC final against India in Southampton.
Speaking on Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected, Agarkar said:
“It’s a difficult one to pick — who is going to win it. I think New Zealand might just start favourites in this one.”
However, the former India pacer backed Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami to finish as the leading run-getter and highest wicket-taker respectively in the WTC final. Agarkar added:
“For the leading run-getter, I will go with Virat Kohli. I think he showed us what he could do in England — the second time he toured — even under difficult conditions and he’d want to be the man to stand up for India. I think Mohammed Shami will be the highest wicket taker. I think Bumrah’s rise has been rapid, but to me Mohammad Shami has been India’s number one bowler, certainly in Test cricket and the conditions don’t matter to him.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is a doubtful starter for the second Test against England. Kiwi head coach Gary Stead has stated that Williamson’s left elbow injury is being monitored and a decision on his availability for the second Test against England will be taken on Wednesday.