The inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) saw its culmination on the fated and much-awaited showdown between the finalists-India and New Zealand. New Zealand has entered the record books by registering a comprehensive victory over India, beating them by eight wickets in the WTC Final at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
The two-year cycle of the championship witnessed many roadblocks, but the New Zealand team continued to trample all with perseverance and incredible on-field performances. With this historic victory, New Zealand has also brought home their second ICC title. It was also the ninth consecutive Test they went undefeated. Additionally, the table-toppers have registered three successive Test victories over the Men in Blue. It is a massive triumph for the Kiwis.
It was a fortuitous day for the Black Caps, coupled with their sublime performances, they won their first world title. Although the rain-hit match pruned the five-day game to a three-and-a-half days affair, they ensured they are not going to let the title slip away this time, after losing the chance to lift the World Cup back in 2019.
Impeccable bowling by Kyle Jamieson wins him the Player of the Match title. He returned impeccable figures of 31-5, and 30-2, while restricting the counterparts to the minimum runs.
WTC Final match at a glance
After rain washed the first day of the match, the game opened on Day 2, with New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson winning the toss and choosing to bowl first. The toss gave them an early advantage over the game. The defiant Kiwis gained the upper hand over India from the start of the first innings.
As India opened Day 2 with batting, they seemed to be giving a tough time to the bowlers initially, until Jamieson’s carnage caused India to lose the momentum. They got bundled up in just 217 runs, the highest of which was scored by Ajinkya Rahane. Kyle Jamieson took a fifer.
New Zealand opened their first innings strongly, but they started getting troubled by the time their scorecard flashed 135/5. But Kane Williamson’s 49 and the rest of the middle-order helped them make a quick recovery. They did a fine job to give the team a 32-run lead, an advantage of which they took fully in the second innings.
Comes in the second innings and India started the day at 64/2. New Zealand bowlers continued to dominate as the Indian wickets fell like dominoes. They were quick to lose three wickets — of skipper Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane, in the first session, which ended at 130/5. Southee removed Shubman Gill by lbw for eight and sent back to pavilion Rohit Sharma leg before padding up for 30. Jamieson took care of the Indian skipper, who managed to contribute no more than 13 runs. Tim Southee picked up four wickets to restrict India to just 170 runs.
Despite a paltry 139 runs target set by India, it wasn’t actually that easy to meet in 53 overs. And New Zealand started their innings in the final day with not a very impressive start as Ravichandran Ashwin put them in a tight spot, clinching two wickets when they had only scored 44 runs in 17.2 overs. Both the openers, Tom Latham (9) and Devon Conway (19) succumbed to Shwin’s attacks. However, skipper Kane Williamson (52*) and Ross Taylor (47*) ensured that the remaining bowlers went wicketless, taking the team to a breezy WTC final victory. Ross Taylor delivered the final blow, finishing off in style with a four!
New Zealand 249 (Conway 54, Williamson 49, Shami 4-76) and 140 for 2 (Williamson 52*, Taylor 47, Ashwin 2-17)
India 217 (Rahane 49, Kohli 44, Jamieson 5-31) and 170 (Pant 41, Southee 4-48)
Result: NZ beat India by eight wickets