In a riveting turn of events, the New Zealand cricket team defeated India by 8 wickets to win the first World Test Championship title in Southampton. Both the teams put up an impressive performance with the Kiwis becoming the inaugural WTC winners.
In a thrilling final with wet weather and incessant hard work by both the teams, the New Zealand cricket team led by skipper Kane Williamson finally achieved victory to establish themselves as the world’s first official test champions. Earlier New Zealand had been defeated twice in the final of the last two 50-overs world cup.
The game stretched on the reserve day after facing a bout of bad weather in the beginning. All the three possibilities were in view for the final when India began the last day with a score of 64 for 2 in their second innings with captain Kohli and Pujara resuming play. However, the game took an uncertain turn when Kyle Jamieson, New Zealand’s towering seamer took two wickets in quick succession, that of Kohli and then Pujara.
Jamieson proved to be the wrecker in this World Test Championship getting New Zealand all the key wickets to lead them to victory. Following the loss of these two wickets, Pant led India to a stable situation with an aggressive game, scoring 41 runs. This proved to be short-lived, as a change in the gaming plan by Williamson cost India two more wickets in Boult’s one over.
India had a lead of 138 runs thereby New Zealand needing 139 runs to win in 53 overs. As a new innings began, Ashwin dismissed both the openers quickly causing the fervour to rise. Kiwi skipper Williamson led the team by scoring a massive 52 not out in the last innings standing till the very end of the match. Williamson had earlier been dropped once.
Ross Taylor played alongside, scoring an impressive 47 not out, including the winning boundary. New Zealand had an easy and steady victory with over 43 balls left to spare. An elated Williamson said at the presentation ceremony ‘Certainly it’s a very special feeling. After a couple of close ones, nice to get one under the belt’.
This is the first time in history that New Zealand has landed a world title marking the end of the two-year cycle of the World Test Championship that was launched in the year 2019 to decide the team at the pinnacle of Test Cricket.
The match marked a fitting farewell for New Zealand’s wicketkeeper BJ Watling who retired with a bang after this phenomenal victory. Jamieson, understandably, was declared the player of the match with his five-wicket haul.
Indian skipper Kohli expressed his dissatisfaction with the batsmen of the team. In his statement, he said ‘the Kiwi bowlers executed their plans to perfection and kept putting us under pressure and did not allow scoring opportunities.’
The New Zealand team lifted the trophy, all smiles after a gruelling match lasting 6 days which had the world hooked to it. A strong fight put up by both the teams saw a historic result which will be remembered for years to come.