"New Zealand is dead" - Aakash Chopra on the defending champions' chances of reaching the WTC final

New Zealand could only draw the home Test series against South Africa
New Zealand could only draw the home Test series against South Africa

Aakash Chopra believes New Zealand can bid goodbye to their chances of qualifying for the World Test Championship (WTC) final.

New Zealand are the defending WTC champions, having put it across Team India in the final last year. However, they are currently in the sixth spot in the WTC points table and are struggling to make the top two.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra ruled out New Zealand as one of the likely finalists. He said:

"New Zealand have just two Tests left at home. You have drawn the series against Bangladesh, you have drawn the series against South Africa also. New Zealand is dead, New Zealand is stuck."

The former India cricketer added that New Zealand do not have too many series left for them to bounce back into contention. Aakash Chopra explained:

"You have two Tests against Sri Lanka at home. Even if you win those two but in away Tests, everything is completed, only two matches are left in Pakistan. New Zealand, the last year's champions, is not going to qualify. The story is over."

Apart from Pakistan, New Zealand have an away Test series in England. It will not be easy for them to beat the English team in their backyard despite the Joe Root-led side's recent travails.

"South Africa has a great chance" - Aakash Chopra

South Africa are currently above India in the WTC standings
South Africa are currently above India in the WTC standings

Speaking about South Africa, Aakash Chopra highlighted that a couple of relatively easy series at home give the Proteas a great chance to make the grade. He elaborated:

"South Africa are above us. They have two Tests against Bangladesh at home and two against West Indies. Wow, Bangladesh and West Indies, South Africa has a great chance."

However, the reputed commentator acknowledged that South Africa could have a tough time in Australia and England. Aakash Chopra observed:

"But their away matches are in Australia and England. It is not going to be easy. If we see the stats currently, they are very good. South Africa is at 60% points, which is not bad. The two series at home are not difficult as well, they will win there also. They gave a strong performance against India but they will get stuck in Australia and England."

South Africa will be high on confidence after their performances in their last two Test series. They upset Team India 2-1 at home and then drew the two-match Test series against New Zealand in the latter's backyard.

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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