Indian fans salute Black Caps star Kane Williamson
- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 14 March 2023, 9:10AM
Indian cricket fans have expressed their gratitude and relief after their side was guaranteed a spot in the World Test Championship final by New Zealand’s stunning final-ball victory over Sri Lanka.
Chasing 285 for victory in Christchurch, the hosts were wobbling after losing three wickets for 90 until Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell stepped up.
Indian cricket supporters group the North Stand Gang acknowledged the efforts of former skipper Williamson who scrambled through for the winning run — with Sri Lanka’s defeat guaranteeing India a second shot at the WTC title.
“Thank you Kane Williamson & team. You may have given us many heartbreaks, but today you gave us an ointment to release some part of that pain.”
If the tourists had won both tests against New Zealand, India would have needed victory in the fourth test of their series against Australia. But the Black Caps’ dramatic win confirmed that India will face Australia in the World Test Championship final at the Oval, in London, in June.
The Times of India said: “With New Zealand acing a record chase of 285 runs on Monday, thanks to former captain Kane Williamson’s unbeaten 121, Sri Lanka were left ruing their chances.”
In its match coverage, the paper said: “Who would’ve thought that after a four-and-a-half-hour [rain] delay, we would be treated with a nail-biting finish to this Test match. Boy oh boy! This New Zealand team is getting red-ball cricket back to life.”
The Indian Express noted the fall of wickets after Mitchell departed for 81 off 86. “But Williamson stood tall and kept New Zealand ahead and at last, it was his dive that sealed a famous win for the hosts and secured India’s ticket to the WTC final.”
Williamson captained the Black Caps to a tense victory over India in the 2019 ODI World Cup and was at the crease to guide his side to glory in the inaugural WTC final against the same team.
Indian cricket site Sportkeeda saluted the man whose 27th test century did so much for their team.
“Kane Williamson did it for New Zealand (and for India)”
Former Indian star Virender Sehwag said it had been an “Epic Test Match” (“New Zealand producing epic thrillers and again proving Test Cricket is best Cricket”), while his old partner at the top of the Indian batting order Wasim Jaffer noted New Zealand’s tendency to feature in dramatic finales.
“Winning the test on the final ball on day 5 and that too by the barest of margins!! Take a bow Williamson Congratulations @BLACKCAPS”
Cricket writer Chetan Narula highlighted the first-innings contribution from a lower-order Kiwi star: “Matt Henry smacked 72 off 75 balls to give NZ the lead. He is India’s MOTM. Hah!!”
Australian cricket writer Nic Savage noted the barest of distances by which Williamson had made his ground for the final run: “New Zealand has defeated Sri Lanka by three centimetres in Christchurch...”
“What is it about NZ cricket?” Asked a headline on Australia’s Fox Sport, going on to call the result “the most miraculous of victories”.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission
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