New Zealand completed an 8 wicket victory over India at Southampton to be crowned the inaugural ICC World Test Championship champions.
This was the first time this competition has been held, and after rain seemed certain to ruin the occasion, New Zealand finally came out on top.
India vs New Zealand WTC Match Summary
- India (IND) vs New Zealand (NZ)
- World Test Championship – Final
- IND vs NZ Venue – Rose Bowl, Southampton, England
- Dates – 18th June 2021 – 23rd June 2021 (6 Day Test)
- IND vs NZ Toss – NZ won toss and elected to bowl first
- Format – Test Match
- IND vs NZ Result – NZ won by 8 wickets
- IND vs NZ Player of the Match – Kyle Jamieson (NZ)
New Zealand are the first ever World Test Champions
Incredibly, the match went into an unheard of 6th day. The 6th (reserve) day had been put aside in case of bad weather. And with no play whatsoever on Day’s 1 and 4, it was much needed.
Heading into the 6th day, the match seemed certain to finish in a draw.
That was until Kyle Jamieson blew the game wide open. The Kiwi pace man dismissed both Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara in a devastating spell pre lunch.
After that, it was hard for India to keep the Kiwis at bay as Trent Boult and Tim Southee took over.
Eventually, India were bowled out for just 170 in their 2nd innings. Setting New Zealand just 139 runs to win. This was never going to be enough unless something spectacular happened.
India did briefly threaten a comeback when both openers were dismissed with the score on 33 and 44, respectively.
But that only brought Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor to the crease.
These two have been fundamental to New Zealand’s rise to the top of world cricket, and they were never going to let this opportunity pass.
The two batsmen steadied the ship, and brought up the winning runs in the 46th Over, to confirm New Zealand as the first ever World Test Champions.
No offence to anyone, but I’m happy New Zealand are World Test Champions!
Without meaning to disrespect India or anybody else in world cricket, I personally am happy to see the Kiwis win the match.
They’ve spent years living in the shadow of their Antipodean neighbour’s Australia.
They were incredibly unlucky to lose the 50 Over ICC World Cup final to England in 2019, and they also lost in the previous world cup final to the Aussies back in 2015.
On top of that, they’re an attack minded side, that play the game in the right spirit.
Put simply, as an England fan, if my team were to lose a final to anybody, I would prefer it to be against the Kiwis.
What next for the World Test Championship?
India skipper Virat Kohli said that he thinks it should be a best of three series to decide the World Test Championship final in future. I don’t disagree with that, and I think he’s probably right.
It was a follow up to a similar remark he made on the eve of the match. So it clearly wasn’t sour grapes.
Maybe saying it again immediately after his team had just lost might not have been the wisest idea though. This will be the headline comment taken from his remarks, and I’m sure it will be seized upon by his critics and called sour grapes.
Kohli also did make the point that New Zealand were the better side and deserved to win. But in the world we live in today, that point will no doubt be widely ignored.
But to pick up on Kohli’s point, this is the first time that the WTC has been held, and there is plenty of room for improvement.
When the 50 Over world cup was first held in England back in 1975 it wasn’t anything like the competition we see today. It has evolved over time, and the World Test Championship needs to do the same.
I can’t see the next cycle changing too much. But I do expect to see it keep improving and evolving.
Where can the WTC be fitted into such a tight schedule?
One final though on the best of three series idea though.
There is already a ridiculously full cricket schedule as it is. As much as the best of three idea is a good one, where on earth can it be fitted into the current calendar?
Franchise cricket is getting stronger and richer. And while this remains the case, I think the WTC will continue to play second fiddle. We will simply have to be content with it being squeezed in as and where it can.