New Zealand won the recently concluded inaugural WTC trophy. It was after very long that New Zealand won an ICC silverware. After the debacle of the 2019 ICC World, it was only just for the Kiwis to win. Their celebration when Ross Taylor scored the winning six elucidated what this meant to them. Having said that, this was a closely contested match. The battle see-sawed between the two teams in equal measure. Both, India and New Zealand, put up a splendid show the test match purists.
We look at the best XI from both teams.
Rohit played short but sublime innings both times. His two scores of 30s looked impeccable and it was a real shame that he did not convert them into big ones. He looked at ease with the moving ball and played wonderful shots whenever the occasion arose.
Conway, ever since he debuted against England at the start of June, has established why he is the most sorted batsman. He has been the answer to the Kiwi’s opening woes, which was probably the only missing piece in their otherwise perfectly aligned jigsaw. His timing and defense were spotless. He scored a wonderful half-century in the first innings and that remains the highest score of the match.
The highest run-getter of the match. He would also captain this side. His tactical brilliance to steamroll the Indian tail or guzzling balls when the Kiwis lost two quick wickets in both innings, proved why he is considered one of the best in the world.
Taylor played an extremely difficult passage of play in the fourth innings when both Ashwin and Shami were on song. Ashwin had just recorded Conway and Latham’s wickets. If Taylor did not play that phase of the game out, New Zealand could have gone on have a collapse. Once his eyes settled, he was at his fluent best and started bringing out his strokes. It was fitting for him to score the winning six and win it for New Zealand.
Rahane looked comfortable against the moving ball and played late under his eyes. Both his wickets were unorthodox and unlucky dismissals. His 49 in the first innings was the highest Indian scored and he looked assured while he was on the pitch.
Pant lived a charmed life in the second innings for his 41. He did not make much of an impact in the first innings or with the gloves. However, his counterpart also had an average outing. Hence, Pant for his 41 finds a spot at 6 and dons the gloves.
Ashwin had a good test, both with the ball and the bat. He scored those invaluable 22 runs in the first innings. In both innings he had the first break-through. He got Conway when he had just brought up his 50 and looked threatening. In the second innings, he was the one who picked two quick wickets and gave the team and the fans a glimmer of hope.
Southee was outstanding with the ball but it was his 30 runs that changed the entire complexion of the game. He played the most instrumental innings of his life to give New Zealand the quintessential lead. He also picked 5 wickets overall and was instrumental in getting India all-out in the second innings.
The star of the game. His first innings 5fer and then 2 wickets in the second innings were worth the value of gold. He got the dangerous Kohli in both innings. He displayed great skill and grit. His height added to his advantage and he could swing the ball both ways that left the Indian batsmen confused.
He must have had an understated match by his high standards. However, he picked up crucial wickets at key junctures, especially in the second innings to give his team a chance of winning. A total of 5 wickets in the test, especially accounting for Rahane and Pant in the second innings, merits his place on this list.
Undoubtedly the pick of the Indian bowlers. Shami bowled his heart out in the first innings. When his other teammates could not do much with the ball, Shami single-handedly brought the team back in the game. He scalped 4 key wickets at an economy of under 3. His ball to get Watling’s wicket was a masterclass.