World Test Championship Final Review – Welcome to my 150th article! New Zealand lift the World Test Championship trophy via Jamieson, Conway, Williamson-Taylor show.
After two long, pandemic induced years, the inaugural World Test Championship has finally come to an end. The Kiwis are the world champions, and they thoroughly deserved it.
Traditional English rain, Dinesh Karthik’s meteorology/commentating debut, gritty Test match batting, tall and lanky fast bowlers, de Grandhomme’s hair, a reserve sixth day coming into play, BJ Watling’s retirement, a bit of Ashwin—we saw it all.
The run-rate might have been slow, but the tussle between the top two Test teams was intense. Bowlers bowling consistently in the channel & fighting it out. Great exhibition of Test cricket, ebb and flow throughout.
Here is the World Test Championship Final Review—Match summary, review of India and New Zealand’s key performers, a THANK YOU to our audience, WTC Prediction Results, 3-match Final Debate, Stats, and WTC XI!
Also Read: World Test Championship Final Preview 2021: Will Rain Spoil Watling’s Retirement?
WTC Final Summary
- Toss: New Zealand won the toss and elected to field first
- Result: NZ Won by 8 wickets
- Player of the Match: Kyle Jamieson
- India 217/10 (92.1 overs)
- Ajinkya Rahane 49 (117), Virat Kohli 44 (132)
- Kyle Jamieson 5/22, Neil Wagner 2/40, Trent Boult 2/47
- New Zealand 249/10 (99.2 overs)
- Devon Conway 54 (153), Kane Williamson 49 (177)
- Mohammad Shami 4/76, Ishant Sharma 3/48
- India 170/10 (73 overs)
- Rishabh Pant 41 (88), Rohit Sharma 30 (81)
- Tim Southee 4/48, Trent Boult 3/39
- New Zealand 140/2 (45.5 overs)
- Kane Williamson 52* (89), Ross Taylor 47* (100)
- Ravichandran Ashwin 2/17
An Ode To The Bowlers
The Indian Bowlers
Before we dive into “What Went Wrong For India” or “How did NZ Win,” let us discuss what made this Test match riveting. Amidst the rain when nobody expected a result, the fast bowlers from both team delivered.
Commentators had analyzed why Shami had been ‘unlucky’ in the last tour of England. Bowled beautifully but without any returns. Not anymore. In one of his later spells in the first innings, he changed the game. The BJ Watling bowled was the ball of the match. Ishant Sharma was at his consistent best. The way he bowled maidens after maidens to Devon Conway, which prompted an uncharacteristic loose shot, was brilliant. Even though Bumrah was not at his best, his final day spell almost brought India back if not for the Pujara drop.
R Ashwin will definitely go down as an all-time best. He has rediscovered himself of late, ending up as the highest wicket-taker in the WTC. Performed across all conditions, saved a Test match in Sydney, scored a century anplug 9 wickets in his home, Chennai, and kept India in the game in the 4th innings (10-5-17-2).
New Zealand – An All-Time Attack
What are the best all-time attacks? Think West Indies’ 1980s generation, Australia’s 2000s attack, Steyn-Morkel-Rabada-Philander for that one series, Anderson-Broad, and India now getting there.
Southee-Boult-Wagner-Jamieson surely rank among the top. Southee’s ball to dismiss Rohit Sharma was an epic change-up in his 4-fer. Boult chipped in with Pujara, Jadeja, Rahane, & Pant’s wickets. Wagner’s intensity was breathtaking and his setup of Rahane & Jadeja was magnificent. Jamieson took the wickets but his economy rate is what suffocated India. An economy of 1.40 after 22 overs in the 1st innings and 1.25 after 25 overs in the second took the steam out of the Indian batting. Add Colin de Grandhomme in these conditions, there was no respite on offer.
1. Rohit Sharma As an Overseas Test Opener: Great or Just OK?
Rohit Sharma was criticized for his Southee leave in the 2nd innings that had him LBW, just a few overs before close on the penultimate day.
Sharma has come into his own as a Test opener in the last couple of years. With 2679 runs in 39 Tests with 7-100s, 12-50s, and a best of 212, this looks like pretty decent career after a bumpy start.
The criticism comes from the lack of hundreds in recent overseas Tests.
- Overall Record (last year): 44.83 average, 161 Vs England
- Overseas Innings (last year): 26 (77) & 52 (98), 44 (74) & 7 (21), and 34 (68) & 30 (81) in the WTC Final
I think he did his job pretty well. Think Aakash Chopra 2003 or Joe Denly 2019 rather than Sehwag-esque performance. Rohit tired the bowlers and took the shine off the new ball but has not been hitting those daddy hundreds fans at home have become accustomed to. Just the batters after him did not follow suit and NZ have four world-class bowlers to rotate through.
Shubman Gill has always looked calm, composed, and classy on the crease in his little career, but only 3 fifties in 15 innings with the best of 91 shows that Indian openers have a conversion problem.
2. The Pujara-Rahane Conundrum
What can India do about Pujara & Rahane? Pujara’s 8 (54) & 15 (80) in the final does not inspire much confidence. His last three centuries came on that 2018 Australia tour. In this WTC cycle, he has hit nine fifties, played those against the pressure innings, taken some blows, and became a perfect foil to Pant in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but nothing in between.
Rahane top-scored for India in the first-innings with a good-looking 49 (117) & briefly revived India with 15 (40). The concerning matter is his dismissals. First innings, Wagner had employed his troops into position. Short ball barrage was about to begin. First ball, Rahane top edges but safe. India 182-5. Next, another short ball, a lose pull, straight to the fielder. Rahane trapped. India collapse. 217-all out.
Second innings – same story. From 72-4 to 109. Good looking shots. Mini-revival after Pujara-Kohli were dismissed and Pant was dropped by Southee. Then out of the blue, he gets caught behind on the leg-side by Trent Boult. Just manages to get out in different ways.
Apart from his glorious overseas hundreds (& 96) or the twin tons in Delhi, there is not much to show. With KL Rahul, Hanuma Vihari, Abhimanyu Easwaran, and Mayank Agarwal in line, questions will be asked of the vice-captain.
Meanwhile Kohli’s hunt for his elusive 71st ton continues. His 44 was actually a good innings, but he did not convert either. When none of your middle order goes big, you are not going to win a Test, especially a final.
Also Read: India Vs Australia Series Review 2020-21: The Greatest Story of Them All? Better Than Ashes 2005?
3. The Curse Against The Lower Order
India 5/182 to 10/217 & 5/142 to 10/170. Ten wickets combined within 63 runs. New Zealand 5-162 to 10-249. 87 runs via Jamieson, Southee, & Boult.
That was the difference.
India has become a world-beater team with fast bowlers galore & growing depth over the past couple of years, but they have yet to counter the Sam Currans or Kyle Jamiesons.
1. Conway & Jamieson: Cricket Is A Piece of Cake
International cricket is a piece of cake for Devon Conway & Kyle Jamieson, isn’t it?
In the context of tough low-scoring match, a 70-run opening partnership between Latham and Conway was crucial. Conway’s 54 (153) was the highest score of New Zealand’s first innings. His mode of dismissal would concern him, but otherwise, pretty good start this.
- 3 Tests, 379 runs, 63.16 average, 1-100, 2-50s, best of 200 (at Lord’s debut)
- 3 ODIs, 225 runs, 75.00 average, 1-100, 1-50, best of 126
- 14 T20Is, 473 runs, 59.12 average, 4-50s, best of 99*
What about Jamieson, the man of the hour? He was literally head and shoulders above everyone. Rohit, Kohli, Pant among his first-inning wickets, 30-run 7th wicket partnership with a 21 (16), and finally breaking the game with Pujara-Kohli wickets on the final morning.
- 8 Tests, 46 wickets, 14.17 average, 6/48 BBI, 11/117 BBM
- 256 runs, 42.66 average, 1-50, best of 51*
2. When The Time Comes, Kane Williamson & Ross Taylor Deliver
Kane Williamson & Ross Taylor are the two senior pros of the New Zealand batting lineup. Taylor has been there for 15 years, through unfortunate run-outs, tied finals, DRS decisions, captaincy controversies. In ICC knockouts, both have scored a few 30s and 40s, but never a match-changing innings.
Cometh the hour, cometh the men.
Williamson’s scratchy 49 (177) exuded his class. Despite not timing the ball and struggling, he stayed in the game and stitched the partnerships that got New Zealand to a respectable total.
In the fourth innings chase, the Kiwis were struggling at 44/2 in 20 overs. R Ashwin at the other end operating with his guile. Anything could have happened. The senior statesmen soaked in the pressure, with dot balls and maiden overs building.
After surviving the rough patch, they rotated the strike. A few overs later, the singles & doubles turned into boundaries. Couple of dropped catches signaled the end. Finally, the moment came with Ross Taylor hitting the winning runs. A fairytale script. What’s more? An iconic picture of brothers-in-arm to cap it off.Embed from Getty Images
3. Catches Win Matches Feat Tom Latham & Henry Nicholls
In the preview, we said to watch out for Tom Latham & Henry Nicholls, the New Zealand of the New Zealand team. Nobody ever talks about them, but they have been consistent performers in the last couple of years. With the bat, except for Latham’s 30, there was not much of note.
It is the fielding where these two came alive. Latham’s three catches and fielding efforts almost saved 35+ runs. Nicholls’ running backwards-diving catch off Pant was the moment of the match for me. India’s hopes ended with that catch.
And what about BJ Watling? Perfection behind the stumps in the first innings (no byes given) and kept wickets through injury in the second. The runs might not have come, but New Zealand’s greatest ever keeper retires on a high.
Little contributions, but in a close low-scoring affair, these moments makes the difference.
Ecstasy. Team spirit. Absolute Joy.
Here are some of my takes from the final moment:
Tribute to the Legendary Commentating Crew
From a fan’s point of view, the commentating and analysis put this final on another level. The Sky Sports crew has always been amazing with Nasser Hussain & Michael Atherton, but Ian Bishop, Sunil Gavaskar, Kumar Sangakkara, Isa Guha, Simon Doull, and debutant Dinesh Karthik took it to another level.
Analyzing batting techniques, debating who won each session, and playful sledging at its very best. Mohammad Shami’s “chances created vs wickets” analysis was especially intriguing.
Here is a look from DK, the weatherman, on the first couple of days updating social media with regular Twitter & Instagram updates.
150th Article – Thank YOU
Before I move to the Prediction Results section of the article, a brief thank you to our viewers. We have reached our daddy hundred—the 150 is up!
I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for the support. The Broken Cricket Dream blog began exactly 11 months ago, when the 1st Test between West Indies & England ended. What a chase that was.
The Broken Dreams
That game reminded me of the love of the sport, what I had been missing in the months right after the coronavirus hit. So the journey began, word by word, paragraph by paragraph, blog post by post. The goal of this platform was to share our own dreams, hopes, and love of the game with each other. We all have dreamt of being a cricketer at some point in time but life does not go to plan. That is okay though, things happen for the better. Here is a list of Broken Dreams by our fellow cricket lovers. For me, writing about cricket itself is a dream come true.
None of this would have been possible without our fans and followers. I thoroughly enjoy the discussions and little debates. Keep them coming. Love the interaction!
Anyway, 150 articles and 158,000 words later, Broken Cricket Dreams is still going strong and will continue to grow. We have now spread to several social media platforms. Feel free to check them out below. COMMENT BELOW of your thoughts on the WTC Final, your Broken Dreams, or any feedback!
If you want some encouragement and life lessons from cricket, check these out:
- Cricket’s Reflections of Passion
- Top 10 Life Lessons From IPL: Beauty of Cricket
- Top 10 Life Lessons From India Vs Australia 2020: Courage, Character, Resilience – Which One Is Your Favorite?
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WTC Final Awards
Alright time for the #BCDAwards.
22-12-31-5 & 21 (16)
24-10-30-2 & DNB
|Most Runs||Rohit Sharma (34, 30), Ajinkya Rahane (49, 15) – 64||Kane Williamson – 101 (49, 52*)|
|Most Wickets||Mohammad Shami (4,0), Ravichandran Ashwin (2,2) – 4||Kyle Jamieson – 7|
|X Factor||R Ashwin||Jamieson, Conway, Williamson-Taylor, Southee, Latham/Nicholls (catches)|
|Verdict||NZ won by 8 wickets|
|Broken Dream||5th consecutive ICC knockout defeat |
(2014 T20 WC Final, 2015 WC SF, 2016 T20 WC SF, 2017 CT Final, 2019 WC SF)
|Watling retires, but on a high|
Time for the results…
And the winners are Sourabh Sanyal and Xan with 4/10.🥇 CONGRATULATIONS!!!👏
Several interesting comments as well!
World Test Championship Final Review – The Predictions
|MVP||Most Runs||Most Wickets||X Factor||Verdict||Broken Dream|
|Rohit Sharma ✔ (IND)|
Tom Latham (NZ)
|Ishant Sharma (IND)|
Tim Southee (NZ)
|R Ashwin (IND) ✔ |
Ajaz Patel (NZ)
(Rain, rain go away)
|Watling Retires ✔|
|Rohit Sharma ✔ |
Ross Taylor ✔
|DRAW||Watling Retires ✔|
|DRAW||Watling Retires ✔|
|DRAW (Rain interruption)||No clear winner for first ever WTC Final|
|Rahane ✔ |
|India if rain permits, Else Draw||Watling Retires ✔|
|Mohd Shamir Ansari|
|Rohit Sharma ✔||Mohammad Shami ✔||Jadeja||India Wins||NZ reaches so far but cannot win final|
Kane Williamson ✔
|Shami ✔ |
|DRAW||Nowhere near enough play to get a result ❌|
- Andrew Williamson: “Just hoping the winner isn’t going to be Noah and his Ark. If there is enough play, I think New Zealand have the attack to trouble India, on what should be a track with a fair bit in it for the quicks. Kane or Taylor will have to go for NZ to succeed.”
- Halsey Nim: “May need a sporting declaration somewhere along the way.”
- Jonny: “Pujara vital for India (assume they bat first as NZ best chance is to put them in), Ashwin with important late runs, Boult to shine. Latham grinds out runs, Kane obs, BJ won’t want to fail. Indian wickets spread evenly. Kohli 100 2nd innings. NZ fall just short…”
World Test Championship XI
The criteria is the player has to be the best at that position. Kane Williamson & Labuschagne both were excellent #3s, but I had to pick Labuschagne at the expense of the WTC winning captain. Labuschagne was the best batter in the WTC – most runs (1675), most hundreds (5), and fifties (9).
Jamieson & Labuschagne were the finds of this WTC cycle, so they walk in the XI.
Rohit Sharma just edges out Dean Elgar for the opening spot. I was tempted to go with Elgar since South Africa is a tougher place for openers, but with Karunaratne already at the top, I went with a left-right, defensive-aggressive combination. Both Root & Smith were excellent, but Smith’s iconic 774 runs in the Ashes puts him at the coveted #4 position.
The #5-7 spots were interesting. Ben Stokes’ Headingly show, relentless bowling spells, and 4 tons/6 fifties gives him the all-rounder spot. I initially had Rahane, the fifth highest scorer in the WTC and highest for India but instead, went with both Rishabh Pant and Mohammad Rizwan. Pant has mastered a couple of iconic chases, and Rizwan has been a revelation in the last year with his overseas rearguard innings. Quinton de Kock was also close behind in the keepers race.
Finally, the bowlers were the toughest to pick. My XI coincidentally had good batters as well. Mohammad Shami (40 wickets at 20.47), Josh Hazlewood (47 @ 20.54), Neil Wagner (35 @ 22.97), Jimmy Anderson (39 @ 19.51), Tim Southee (56 @ 20.82), Ishant Sharma (39 @ 17.75) had better averages, Anrich Nortje & Kemar Roach were brilliant throughout. I have not even talked about Trent Boult, Kagiso Rabada, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, and Shaheen Shah Afridi—all wonderful bowlers who had a decent couple of years without lighting the world on fire.
What an era to live in.
World Test Championship Combined XI
- Dimuth Karunaratne (C)
- Rohit Sharma
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Steve Smith
- Ben Stokes
- Rishabh Pant (WK)
- Mohammad Rizwan
- Ravichandran Ashwin
- Kyle Jamieson
- Pat Cummins
- Stuart Broad
- Tim Southee
For more World XIs, check out the articles below!
World Test Championship Statistics
Finally to cap it off, here are the statistics. Ashwin went up to #1, Rahane and Rohit Sharma remained at #5 & #6 respectively. Rahaen, Taylor, Watling, and Pant show up in the catches/dismissals section.
|Most Runs||Most Wickets||Most Catches||Most Dismissals|
|Marnus Labuschagne – 1675||Ravichandran Ashwin – 67||Joe Root – 34||Tim Paine – 65|
|Joe Root – 1660||Pat Cummins – 70||Steve Smith – 27||Quinton de Kock – 50|
|Steve Smith – 1341||Stuart Broad – 69||Ben Stokes – 25||Jos Buttler – 50|
|Ben Stokes – 1334||Tim Southee – 56||Ajinkya Rahane – 23||BJ Watling – 48|
|Ajinkya Rahane – 1159||Nathan Lyon – 56||Ross Taylor – 21||Rishabh Pant – 41|
|Best Scores||Best Bowling Figures|
|David Warner – 335* (Vs Pakistan – Adelaide)||Lasith Embuldeniya – 7/137 (Vs England – Galle)|
|Zak Crawley – 267 (Vs Pakistan – Southampton)||Ravichandran Ashwin – 7/145 (Vs South Africa – Visakhapatnam)|
|Virat Kohli – 254 (Vs South Africa – Pune)||Jasprit Bumrah – 6/27 (Vs West Indies – Kingston)|
|Kane Williamson – 251 (Vs West Indies – Hamilton)||Stuart Broad – 6/31 (Vs West Indies – Manchester)|
|Dimuth Karunaratne – 244 (Vs Bangladesh – Pallekelle)||Axar Patel – 6/38 (Vs England – Ahmedabad)|
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Image Courtesy: ICC