For five days, New Zealand and India engaged in a staring contest on the south coast of England that engrossed the cricket world. On the bonus sixth day, India blinked first.
New Zealand won a brilliant final of the inaugural world test championship by eight wickets on Wednesday at the Rose Bowl.
Captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, befitting two of New Zealand’s greatest batsmen, combined from 44-2 after the loss of the openers to reach the target of 139 with seven overs remaining.
Taylor hit the winning runs flicking a Mohammed Shami ball over midwicket. He was 47 not out and Williamson was 52 not out, only the second half-century of the final.
Typical of a match which was gripping despite being disrupted by two washed out days and bad light, the finish was tense on the reserve day.
India, 64-2 overnight, was remarkably bowled out for 170 in its second innings before tea, leaving New Zealand 139 to win in an extended 53 overs.
India’s bowlers created chances and never gave up. Williamson was given out on 1 and overturned the decision on review, and he was dropped on 45. Taylor was dropped on 26, and hit flush on the front of his helmet on 30 but soldiered on.
They absorbed all of India’s considerable pressure in a stand of 96 to finish off for No. 1-ranked New Zealand a first International Cricket Council tournament victory in 21 years.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also praised the team for exceptional performance in the championship match.
“The Blackcaps have made New Zealand proud. This was a masterful performance from a team at the top of their game and on top of the world. Kane Williamson and the team leaders have built a brilliant and humble squad who has become an inspiration to many New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.
“Over a number of years now we have seen the development of a team and team culture that has taken New Zealand cricket to world-beating heights. This victory is the well-deserved culmination of that work. We look forward to welcoming the team home and celebrating their success,” she added.