Euro 2020 Special

Major Talking Points from the WTC Final

The first ever World Test Championship, which had quite a few misses among hits, concluded with the WTC Final between India and New Zealand on Wednesday, in which New Zealand came out triumphant. In the ultimate Test that lasted six days and was marred by bad weather, the world witnessed enthralling cricket action from the two very best teams in the world.

Overcast conditions, umbrellas and drums in the stands – it was a typical English summer! The toss was delayed due to rain on Day 1 washout and when Kane Williamson won the toss, he had no hesitation in bowling first.

The bowlers from both the teams produced a spectacular display of swing and seam bowling, making life tough for batsmen. Much like the last half decade in Test cricket, the bowlers dominated the WTC final too, which saw only two half centuries in four innings.

With two entire days getting washed out due to the heavy rain in Southampton, the reserve day came in handy. However, the chances of getting a result were very slim going into the last day but some relentless bowling from New Zealand pacers induced an Indian batting collapse to put NZ in driving seat. In the end, the Blackcaps proved to be too good for India, who had topped the WTC league table, in the English conditions, winning by 8 wickets.

Here we take a look at five key talking points from the first WTC final:


1. Virat Kohli channeling his England 2018 self with 44 (132)

When India were sent in to bat in the conditions perfectly suited for pace bowlers, openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma did an outstanding job with a 62-run partnership. However, the duo was dismissed in quick succession to reduce India to 63-2. Indian captain Virat Kohli, with the weight of expectations of a billion Indians in yet another ICC knockout, was a spectacle to watch. 

Kohli came out with a clear mindset and executed his plan to perfection. He started off with a trademark cover drive off Neil Wagner. Kohli batted a yard outside the crease to counter the movement while also leaving the deliveries outside off with precision. Kohli dug deep and batted with an incredible control of 94%. He put on a 61-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane for the fourth wicket, before getting trapped LBW to Kyle Jamieson. Kohli’s dismissal triggered a collapse and India were bowled out for 217 in the first innings.


2. Kyle Jamieson continued his dream run in Test cricket with another five-wicket haul

Kyle Jamieson’s start in Test cricket has been simply mind-blowing. The tall pacer has made a great use of his advantage and skill set to continue dominating the Test arena, finishing the WTC with the most five-wicket hauls. It was no different at the Ageas Bowl, where he showcased immense control with the ball in hand and troubled Indian batters.

First signs of what was awaiting India came when one delivery climbed up on Shubman Gill awkwardly, smashing him on his helmet. Jamieson then gave India the first blow with Rohit’s wicket off a full-length delivery. His best, however, came against Indian skipper, where he set Kohli up brilliantly and nipped one back in to trap him LBW.

Jamieson bowled 22 overs in the first innings out of which 12 were maidens as he went on to pick his fifth five-wicket haul in eight matches.


3. Kane Williamson’s batting masterclass

Batting second, trailing by 217 runs in extreme bowling conditions, New Zealand openers put on a 70-run opening partnership. The Blackcaps were 117-2 at one stage but as always is the case with India, they made a terrific comeback to reduce NZ to 135-5. Kane Williamson stood like a rock while the wickets kept falling from the other end.

Williamson batted with soft hands and great control while shielding his partners during a phase where India’s pacers were breathing fire. Williamson tired out bowlers in his 177-ball-49 knock, allowing the New Zealand tail to score faster at the back end.

Williamson was dismissed in an attempt to score faster but not before his team was in the lead. His knock, considering the stage of the WTC final and the conditions, turned out to be a major difference between the two sides.


4. Yet another batting collapse from India

Indian fans have been traumatized by the batting collapses on numerous occasions over the years. The sixth day at the Ageas Bowl saw another such collapse in an important phase of the WTC final.

The WinViz prediction had given 8% chance for an India win, with 73% for a draw. India’s Kohli and Pujara walked out to bat with a lead of 34 runs. They were in desperate need of batting time and scoring enough runs to ensure a draw. But Jamieson starred once again to dismiss both Kohli and Pujara in the first half hour.

For a moment it looked like Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja would sail India to safety before other New Zealand bowlers joined the party to bundle India out for 170.


5. Williamson-Taylor guiding New Zealand to an ICC trophy

The fourth innings of the WTC final was as intriguing as sports get. New Zealand had 53 overs to chase down the target of 139 but the Indian team led by Kohli wasn’t going to give up easily.

The NZ openers had a watchful start as India kept attacking with everything they had. India’s spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin came into the attack and bowled an outstanding spell. Ashwin dismissed both the left-handed openers to reduce the opponents to 44-2.

It was then the two stalwarts from New Zealand cricket, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, joined hands and calmed things down in the middle, as they’ve done on countless occasions in the past. The duo saw off the difficult phase before capitalising on tired and demoralised bowlers. Williamson and Taylor put on an unbroken 96-run stand to seal the victory for NZ and claim the first ever WTC final.




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