✍️ Kaustubh Thakur
🗓️ March 20, 2023
Takeaways from New Zealand’s last ball thriller victory over Bangladesh
New Zealand is making a habit of winning thrilling Test matches. The blackcaps won the 2nd Test against England after being asked to follow on, which levelled the series at 1-1. In the very next Test match, New Zealand took on Sri Lanka who desperately needed a win to qualify for the World Test Championship final. Going into the last over of the match all 3 results were possible as New Zealand needed 8 runs while Sri Lanka needed 3 wickets. In the end, New Zealand needed 1 run to win off the last ball and the run came as a bye. The result ended Sri Lanka’s hopes of making it to the WTC final ahead of India.
Kane Williamson continues to lead from the front
This year Kane Williamson stepped down as the captain of the Test side. However, he is still leading the side with his bat like he always has. After getting out for just 1 in the first innings, Williamson scored an unbeaten 121 runs off 194 balls in the 2nd innings. Chasing 285 runs he anchored the Kiwi innings with a wonderful knock consisting of 11 fours and a six. Daryl Mitchell provided great support with a quickfire 81 off just 86 balls. It was Mitchell’s innings that made New Zealand go for the win, otherwise, they could’ve fought for a draw but that wouldn’t have had the same impact.
Neil Wagner‘s last-ball heroics wins the hearts of cricket fans
A big reason for New Zealand’s eventual victory is Neil Wagner. The left-arm seamer got injured while bowling in the 3rd innings. Wagner was diagnosed with a torn hamstring and a bulging disc. Despite that, he still walked onto the field when New Zealand were 8 down. When Kane Williamson couldn’t connect with Asitha Fernando’s bouncer which was the last ball of the innings, Wagner ran the single in no time which led to New Zealand’s victory.
New Zealand helps India after being their nightmare for years
New Zealand has been India’s downfall in the 2019 World Cup, 2021 T20 World Cup, and 2022 World Test Championship, however this time they have helped India massively. India needed to win the Border-Gavaskar trophy by 3-1 to qualify on their own. But with the 4th Test heading towards a draw, India needed New Zealand to stop Sri Lanka from winning 2-1.
New Zealand is the World Test Champions but they haven’t played up to their potential recently. A lot of that has to do with the retirement of Ross Taylor, B.J. Watling, and Colin de Grandhomme along with the unavailability of Trent Boult on so many occasions. Winning these two matches in a thrilling fashion could turn things around for them in the next WTC cycle. Tim Southee is proving to be an excellent captain and given time he could make New Zealand a force to reckon with again.
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