The first edition of the World Test Championship is in the books and we have a winner.
Despite rain wreaking havoc on the final match and the umpires halting play for bad light on multiple occasions, New Zealand emerged victorious over India to win the inaugural WTC title. The match went to the reserve day due to poor weather conditions in order to reach a conclusion and New Zealand proved to be the better side.
India got off to a strong start in the first innings at 146-3, but Kyle Jamieson broke through to get Virat Kohli out and start an Indian collapse en route to a five-wicket haul. It was his fifth five-wicket haul in eight career Test matches. India managed 217 in the first innings and looked to be struggling against New Zealand early. Devon Conway, the star of New Zealand’s tour against England ahead of the final, got the nod in the championship match and did well in the first inning.
New Zealand’s middle order struggled, but Tim Southee added 30 runs late to give the team a 32-run lead going into the second phase of the contest. India looked solid in response, but Rohit Sharma fell to Southee late on Day 5 on a poorly judged leave. Jamieson did the damage early on Day 6, taking out Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara to expose India’s struggling middle order. Rishabh Pant offered some resistance, but Trent Boult took care of him en route to three wickets in the innings. New Zealand needed 139 runs in the remaining 53 overs to get a victory.
India had a slight opening with Ravichandran Aswhin picked up both openers, but Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor held their nerve to cruise to a victory. It was fitting to have New Zealand’s two most accomplished cricketers in the middle propelling the team to the WTC title.
Williamson and Taylor got the job done with the bat, but it was New Zealand’s four-headed pace bowling monster which was ultimately the difference. Southee, Jamieson, Boult and Neil Wagner accounted for every India wicket in both innings and will carry the title of best Test bowling attack in the world.
India was the slight favorite at +150 according to DraftKings Sportsbook ahead of the match, but New Zealand was +160. A draw looked very promising at multiple times during the six-day affair due to the weather, but ultimately the use of a reserve day ensured there would be a result.
The 2019-21 WTC circuit was interrupted by the pandemic, trimming the number of matches played and adjusting the points calculation system to do so. New Zealand and India were clearly the two best teams in the world in the format and rightfully played in the final despite these constraints. There are already some point calculation changes for the next iteration of the WTC, which will be from 2021-23.