In a thrilling finale that kept cricket fans on the edge of their seats, New Zealand emerged as the victors of the ICC World Test Championship 2021. The contest against India showcased the true essence of Test cricket and served as a fitting end to a two-year-long journey.
The World Test Championship final was held at the iconic Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England. The clash between the number one and number two ranked teams in the world generated immense anticipation among cricket enthusiasts globally. Both New Zealand and India were determined to etch their names in history by becoming the first-ever champions of this prestigious tournament.
Winning the toss, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson chose to field first, considering the overcast conditions and the green pitch that promised assistance to the pacers. The decision proved to be a masterstroke as the Kiwi bowling attack, led by the ever-reliable Tim Southee and Trent Boult, wreaked havoc on the Indian batting line-up.
India struggled to find their footing in the ICC World Test Championship 2021 final match, with the team losing wickets at regular intervals. The top-order collapsed under the relentless pressure exerted by the New Zealand bowlers. Veteran batsman Cheteshwar Pujara fought a valiant battle, scoring a hard-fought half-century. But it was the brilliance of all-rounder Ajinkya Rahane that provided some respite for the Indian team. Rahane’s patient knock of 49 runs brought stability to the innings and took the team to a respectable total of 217.
With the ball, New Zealand left no stone unturned in dismantling the Indian batting line-up. The relentless pace and swing generated by Boult and Southee were simply too much for the Indian batsmen. Kyle Jamieson, another emerging star in the New Zealand lineup, continued his impressive form by taking the crucial wickets of Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant.
In response, New Zealand faced a challenging start, losing their openers early on. However, captain Williamson showcased his immense class and expertise by playing a composed knock of 49 runs. Ross Taylor, New Zealand’s leading run-scorer in Test cricket, provided the much-needed stability in the middle order, crafting a solid innings of 47 runs.
It was the partnership between Devon Conway and wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling that turned the tide in favor of the Kiwis. Conway exhibited exceptional skill and temperament in his debut Test Championship match, scoring a magnificent double century in ICC World Test Championship 2021. Watling, in his final Test match before retiring, showcased his experience and fought bravely to support Conway, contributing a crucial 52 runs.
Conway’s mammoth effort and Watling’s resilience propelled New Zealand to a significant lead of 186 runs in the first innings. India’s bowlers, led by the talented seamers Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami, put on a commendable display. However, New Zealand managed to extend their lead despite the relentless pressure exerted by the Indian bowling attack.
With India’s second innings under pressure, the Kiwi bowlers continued their stellar performance. Southee and Boult once again posed a significant threat, finding the right areas and exploiting the challenging pitch conditions. India’s top-order continued to struggle, and although Pujara fought a lone battle, his efforts were not enough to steer India clear of trouble. In the end, India was bundled out for a mere 170 runs, handing New Zealand a target of 139 runs to chase down and clinch the championship.
In their pursuit, New Zealand faced a few early hiccups, losing both their openers cheaply. However, the reliable middle-order partnership of Taylor and Williamson yet again proved crucial. With sheer grit and determination, the duo navigated through the pressure and propelled New Zealand closer to victory.
In a nail-biting finish, it was Williamson who hit the winning runs, guiding New Zealand to a historic eight-wicket victory. The Kiwi skipper remained unbeaten on 52 runs, providing the finishing touch to an outstanding team performance. With this triumph, New Zealand etched their name in cricket history as the deserving champions of the ICC World Test Championship 2021.
The final was a true reflection of the spirit of Test cricket, with both teams showcasing exceptional skill, determination, and sportsmanship. The fight displayed by India and New Zealand demonstrated the purest form of the game and created a memorable finale that will be etched in the hearts of cricket fans for years to come.
As the curtains fell on the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship 2021, New Zealand emerged as worthy champions and proved once again why they are considered one of the top Test teams in the world. Their stellar all-round performance, led by their inspirational captain, will inspire generations to come and serve as a reminder of the beauty and enduring legacy of Test cricket.