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New Zealand crowned ICC World Test Champions after thrilling victory against India

SOUTHAMPTON: New Zealand defeated India by 8 wickets in the inaugural World Test Championship final. New Zealand’s two most experienced batsmen, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, as well as pace bowler Kyle Jamieson, guided them to a comfortable victory. This is their first ICC Trophy in 21 years since winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2000.

The grand finale of the first ever Test championship was interrupted by rain and bad weather since the Day 1 on June 18 and the game had to be extended to a reserve day.

New Zealand got off to a good start as they chased down India’s 139-run target on the reserve day. Even though India managed to get wickets of their two opening batsmen, NZ skipper Williamson and Ross Taylor led the innings beautifully, scoring at regular intervals to give the team an easy victory.

The Black Caps had the advantage of winning the toss after the first day was wiped out due to rain. They put India in to bat first, but both Rohit Sharma (34) and Shubman Gill (28) gave the losing side a perfect start in the first innings. India remained in command until the dismissal of captain Virat Kohli (44) and deputy Ajinkya Rahane (49). The Kiwi bowlers then found their rhythm and sent the remaining Indian batsmen to the pavilion. Kyle Jamieson led the pace attack with a fifer in the first innings, while Trent Boult and Neil Wagner both got two wickets.

The situation was similar for New Zealand, who got off to a great start with openers putting up a 70-run partnership. Their opener Devon Conway (54) and captain Williamson (49), as well as tail-enders Jamieson and Tim Southee, contributed significantly, giving the squad a 32-run lead. Indian pacers Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma led the bowling attack, grabbing four and three wickets, respectively.

India started their second innings on Day 5, but lost their both openers without adding much to the scoreboard. Day 6, or the championship’s final day, was only for them to save the Test. India lost their skipper and Cheteshwar Pujara at regular intervals. Vice-captain Rahane and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant fought hard to get some runs on the board, but they couldn’t stay in the crease for long. Southee took four wickets, Boult three, and Jamieson two as New Zealand bowlers crushed India for 170 runs.

With only 139 runs to chase in the second innings, it was obvious that New Zealand would easily win the match. However, India fought back hard to carry the match till the end of the reserve day. Williamson (52) and Taylor (47) raced to a comprehensive victory with disciplined batting and regular scoring.

New Zealand completely outperformed India in both bowling and batting. When India’s top order batsmen were unable to score runs, their star bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma were never a threat to the opposition. With this victory, New Zealand won its first ICC trophy under Kane Williamson’s captaincy, while India is still waiting for one under Virat Kohli.

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