New Zealand send WTC points table for a toss; Australia, India under pressure | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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New Zealand's South Africa bashing completely alters WTC points table; puts Australia, India under pressure

Feb 08, 2024 11:04 AM IST

New Zealand currently sit at No.1 in the WTC points table with a 66.66 percent points percentage followed by Australia and India.

New Zealand zoomed past Australia and India to take the top spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) points table after a commanding 281-run victory against an under-strength South African side in the first Test in Mount Maunganui. New Zealand currently sit at No.1 in the WTC points table with a 66.66 percent points percentage. The Tim Southee-led side is now in with a good chance of qualifying for the WTC final next year. They are firm favourites to win the next Test and take the two series 2-0 against a South African side that featured as many as six debutants in the first Test. Most of South Africa's frontline cricketers were not available for this series as the dates clashed with SA20.

New Zealand players leave the field following their victory on day four of the first cricket Test vs South Africa at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui(AFP)
New Zealand players leave the field following their victory on day four of the first cricket Test vs South Africa at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui(AFP)

After Kane Williamson's twin centuries and Rachin Ravindra's double ton gave New Zealand a commanding position before Day 4's play, pacer Kyle Jamieson backed by spinner Mitchell Santner allowed the hosts to clinch a dominant victory.

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With overcast conditions hovering over the beautiful Bay Oval, Jamieson set the tone of the final session by striking twice after lunch and removed David Bedingham (87) and Keegan Petersen (16).

South Africa in their quest to chase down 529, collapsed on 247 with Santner picking up the final wicket Dane Paterson.

New Zealand, the champions of the inaugural edition of WTC in 2021, have only played three Tests during this current WTC cycle. They played out a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh towards the end of last year.

Last year's champions Australia (55) drop to second following the result at Bay Oval, with India (52.77) falling to third and South Africa plunging back to seventh and below fourth-placed Bangladesh, Pakistan in fifth and the West Indies in sixth.

India and England, however, have a big chance to make changes to their standings coming few weeks. They are currently playing a five-match series in India. England won the first Test in Hyderabad to take a 1-0 lead but India fought back with a commanding 106-run in the next Test in Visakhapatnam to make it 1-1.

The next three Tests will be extremely crucial for India. They would want to win at least two of those to stand a good chance of having a third crack at the WTC title. They have a tough Australia tour lined up towards the end of the year. The third Test begins on February 15 in Rajkot.

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