New Zealand beat India in final, become first world Test champion
Southampton: New Zealand coasted to an unlikely eight-wicket win on the sixth — and reserve — day of the World Test Championship final against India at the Hampshire Bowl on Wednesday.
This is an apt redemption for New Zealand, who had lost the final of the last two 50-over World Cups, in 2015 and 2019.
The match, in which two days were lost to rain, saw a strong performance from Kiwis on the reserve day as their bowlers ran through the Indian batting line-up and dismissed them for just 170 runs. And then they scaled the 139-run target through a 96-run third-wicket partnership between Kane Williamson (52 not out) and Ross Taylor (47 not out).
India got a sniff of victory when off-spinner R Ashwin removed the two openers early and bowled a tight line to Taylor. However, Taylor smashed Ashwin for two boundaries in one over to break the shackles and then coasted along.
Earlier, India, who started the day at 64/2, lost three wickets — skipper Virat Kohli (13), Cheteshwar Pujara (15), and Ajinkya Rahane (15) — in the first session to go to lunch at 130/5.
Kyle Jamieson (2/30) removed Kohli and Pujara while Rahane fell to Boult (3/39).
Post lunch, India kept losing wickets as the tail failed to wag once again. Rishabh Pant, who was the innings top scorer with 41 runs, was the last hope for India but he fell to a rash shot as the seventh wicket with the score on 156.
Pace bowler Tim Southee picked four wickets for 48 runs to end as the most successful New Zealand bowler.
Indian seamers, in response, failed to make an impact on a pitch where New Zealand bowlers looked unplayable. Barring a brief spell during which Ashwin unsettled the Kiwis by removing Devon Conway (19) and Tom Latham (9), the entire bowling unit looked innocuous.
This is New Zealand’s sixth successive win over India in ICC tournaments, dating back to World T20 in 2007.
Brief scores: India 217 all out in 92.1 overs and 170 all out in 73 overs (R Sharma 30, R Pant 41, T Southee 4/48, T Boult 3/39, K Jamieson 2/30); New Zealand 249 all out in 99.2 overs and 140/2 wkts in 45.5 overs (K Williamson 52 not out, R Taylor 47 not out)