Saba Karim has opined that the New Zealand middle order is “extremely fragile” and added that it could give India an advantage in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
New Zealand lost four wickets for an addition of just six runs in their first innings of the ongoing Lord’s Test against England. The Blackcaps seemed to be right on top with the score reading 288/3 at one stage, but then slumped to 294/7 and were eventually bowled out for 378.
During a discussion on India News, Saba Karim pointed out that the New Zealand middle order is vulnerable and that their batting is overly reliant on Kane Williamson.
“Both the teams have had problems. The New Zealand middle order is looking extremely fragile. Kane Williamson is a very big player. Every team feels they can get New Zealand all out quickly once they dismiss him,” said Karim.
The former India wicket-keeper pointed out New Zealand opting to play Colin de Grandhomme as a fifth bowling option further weakened their batting.
“I was a little surprised with the combination New Zealand fielded in this match. They have played Colin de Grandhomme as a fifth bowler apart from three pacers and a spinner. Because of that their middle order is looking quite weak,” added Karim.
While Williamson had a slightly unfortunate mode of dismissal, none of the Kiwi batsmen barring Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls made a significant contribution in the first innings of the Lord’s Test.
“New Zealand playing a couple of matches before the WTC final can go against them” – Saba Karim
While the general belief is that New Zealand might be better acclimatized to the conditions ahead of the WTC final, Saba Karim observed their confidence might take a hit if they come up short in the two Tests against England.
“New Zealand playing a couple of matches before the WTC final can go against them. It is very important for India that England performs well here and defeats New Zealand in these two Test matches. Their confidence will go down a lot in such a scenario,” said Karim.
The 53-year-old concluded by stating that it could be a shot in the arm for Team India if the New Zealand players come into the WTC final with demons in their minds.
“If you are making runs, your confidence is high, the momentum is with you. But if you are not making runs in conditions where you are going to play the WTC final, you will go into the match with a huge baggage and that will be extremely favorable to India,” signed off Karim.
Team India will have the advantage of practicing at the Ageas Bowl ahead of the WTC final. They will also be able to formulate strategies after seeing the Blackcaps’ encounters against the hosts.