Former Australian left-arm spinner Brad Hogg feels that India can have a slim chance of pushing for victory in the World Test Championship (WTC) final if they can set New Zealand a target in the region of four an over to chase.
New Zealand are better placed to push for victory on the reserve day of the WTC final on Wednesday. If they can bowl India out cheaply, the Kiwis may have enough time to chase down the target. Else, they can bat for a draw.
According to Hogg, the only way India can come into the match is if they tempt New Zealand with a sporting target. Admitting that the Kiwis have a significant upper hand, he added:
“India will be in two minds today, of how to go about it. Do they set a total for New Zealand or do they just try and play for the draw? If they set a total, they have got to give New Zealand around four an over to chase. If they give them anything less than that, New Zealand will go right over the top of them. Whether it is 20 or 30 overs, four an over would give a temptation to New Zealand to go after it.”
Hogg further pointed out that New Zealand do not have too many T20-style players in their line-up, and that could entice India to take a risk by setting a middling target for the Black Caps. He explained:
“We can go down that T20 path, but New Zealand don’t have T20 players in their line-up. They have got (Devon) Conway, (Tom) Latham, who bats down the order every now and then in T20 cricket and, probably (Kyle) Jamieson as their big aggressive hitters. That is something that India have got to have at the back of their minds. If they (Kiwis) do go after runs, it creates those wicket-taking opportunities.”
Hogg added that New Zealand are still in the driver’s seat of the WTC final:
“India are still slightly in this game. But, if anyone is going to win it, it’s all New Zealand. They can decide, if they bowl India out, whether they are comfortable going after the runs, or they can bat out for a draw. New Zealand are the only team that can have a big chance of winning it, unless something silly happens.”
India could promote Rishabh Pant to attack New Zealand bowlers: Brad Hogg
Hogg agreed to a suggestion by a user that India could promote Rishabh Pant ahead of Ajinkya Rahane if Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara get India off to a good start on Wednesday. The former spinner explained:
“If you want to put the pressure back on New Zealand, you want to set the game up for a chance of a win. You want one of your most aggressive batsmen (Rishabh Pant) out there. If it falls apart, then you have Ajinkya Rahane to come in after Pant and just hold the innings together and bat for time. They need to give New Zealand the least number of overs to chase a total if they do get bowled out.”
India will resume their second innings at 64 for 2. New Zealand pacer Tim Southee gave the Kiwis the upper hand towards the end of Day 5, sending back Indian openers Shubman Gill (8) and Rohit Sharma (30).