The cricketing world has reacted with hefty praise for the Black Caps today after the sport’s nice guys finally found themselves in the winner’s circle with this morning’s World Test Championship triumph.
The Black Caps were crowned champions in Southampton this morning after beating India by eight wickets in a rain-affected, six-day thriller of a final, shaking off demons from their 2015 and 2019 Cricket World Cup final losses in the process.
In the UK, tales of cricket’s David and Goliath filled the cricket section of leading newspapers.
“The first six-day Test in England since 1975 belonged to the perennial bridesmaids of New Zealand, with India collapsing in an English-style heap,” the Daily Mail recap wrote.
“New Zealand were worthy winners of a high-quality contest. They have long made the very most of limited resources and now a nation of five million people were triumphant against the biggest, richest and most powerful cricket country in the world.“
However the best UK line – or at the least most ambitious – belonged to the Guardian’s Ali Martin when he spoke of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson’s composed partnership to bring the mace home.
“[Taylor] and Williamson emulated compatriot Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay with a steadfast ascent to the summit,” he wrote.
CricInfo, one of the leading cricket websites globally, said even England’s weather couldn’t summon the cruelty to deny Williamson and his men a second time on English soil after the 2019 heartache.
“Glorious late-evening sunshine saw New Zealand through to their first world title,” CricInfo’s Sidharth Monga wrote.
"What cricket it was. Two absolutely high-quality sides in extremely difficult conditions for batting combined to produce a thrilling contest of cricket in such little time.
“New Zealand needed to be highly efficient, consistent and skilful if they were to have a chance of winning this, and they managed it just in time.”
In India, praise was just as heavy for the Black Caps although there was also critique of their own team, saying Indian superstars failed to fire this morning when they needed to most.
The Times of India made special mention of Black Caps captain Williamson for his classy leadership that “exposed the multiple frailties in Virat Kohli’s team.
"Williamson is probably one of the few captains who have now got the Indian team out for less than 250 in six consecutive innings, a testimony too his brilliant cricketing acumen and near-perfect execution of plans by his bowlers."
The Indian Express on the other hand paid tribute to Taylor, saying he may have been New Zealand’s biggest hero in the final innings.
"When Luteru Ross Poutoa Lote Taylor clubbed a four through the leg side to win the World Test Championship final against India in the final session on Wednesday, he was ending 21 years of heartache for the Kiwis,” they wrote.
"For the man who hit the winning runs, who said he would be known as Luteru Taylor instead of Ross Taylor "if he was a kid growing up in New Zealand now" in an interview last month, the redemption would have been especially sweet."
Closer to home as many wiped the sleep from their eyes, praise and congratulations came left and right on social media for the new world champions.
Fellow New Zealand teams such as the All Blacks, White Ferns and All Whites all sent congratulatory messages while Black Caps past and present all chipped in with heartfelt words as well.
Perhaps the ultimate praise though came from Black Caps great Sir Richard Hadlee who said in a statement this Test team was the best in New Zealand cricketing history.
“Over the past two years, the Black Caps performances in the Test arena have been outstanding with Test match and series wins at home and abroad, and they thoroughly deserve to be crowned world champions,” Sir Richard said.
“The whole team has shown a high degree of professionalism. Their skill sets have complimented each other to make them a complete playing unit.
“The management and support staff have also played important roles in preparing players to perform at the highest level.
“It’s fair to say that this current group of players is the best in our history.”
Current Black Cap Jimmy Neesham was one of the rare few to raise an issue, although it’s a fair point.
“I only really have one problem with the World Test Championship,” Neesham said on Twitter.
“How the hell are you meant to drink out of a mace?”