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WTC Final: Kane Williamson, Tim Southee---Architects of Kiwi Turnaround

WTC Final: Kane Williamson, Tim Southee---Architects of Kiwi Turnaround

It was a collective win, but these two cricketers stood out for New Zealand.

New Zealand made history as they beat India by 8 wickets in the final of the World Test Championship. It was an amazing turnaround for the Blackcaps who were bundled out for just 45 against South Africa in a Test match in Jan 2013. Since that day everything changed as top management took matters in their own hands. Two players—especially Kane Williamson and Tim Southee were groomed  for the leadership roles. No wonders that the duo is the main reason for NZ lifting the trophy at Hampshire Bowl.

While Williamson was the top run getter during this two-year cycle, Southee was the pace spearhead. We take a look at both individually.

Kane Williamson:  The skipper went onto play ten matches and amassed 866 runs. This included three hundreds and four fifties.  His WTC began with two match Test series in Sri Lanka where he failed to be among the runs. The series was played in August and NZ were yet to recover from a heart-breaking World Cup Final loss to England. His first century thus came against the same opposition at Mount Manganui in November 2019 (104*). He returned to cricket after Covid-19 with a magnificent double century (251) against West Indies at Hamilton; but, his best was reserved for Pakistan as he slammed another double (238) and a century 129 earlier this year. On the back of this form, he landed in England to play two-match Test series against the hosts where he managed 14 runs in the series opener and later pulled out from the second Test at Edgbaston.

Tim Southee: Southee accounted for 56 wickets at an astounding strike rate of 47 throughout the championship. But it wasn’t an easy road for him. He had a slow start just like his captain in Sri Lanka where he took just one wicket in the first Test in Galle. By the time NZ toured Australia later that year, he was getting into the groove. Although, Australia clean swept the series, Southee went onto take nine wickets at Perth and made an instant impact when India came calling a month later. He accounted for another nine wickets in the Wellington Test match as NZ routed Kohli and his men to wrap up two match Test Series 2-0. The 32-year-old had a good series against West Indies but couldn’t quite keep it up in the next home series against Pakistan. But he proved his detractors wrong as he grabbed a six-for and helped NZ beat England in the first Test in the lead up to WTC Final. He was later rested for the second Test so that he could be fresh for the WTC Final where he made an impact that will be remembered for years.

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first published:June 23, 2021, 23:41 IST