Cricket: Wild final ball finish in New Zealand’s 19:40 darkness seals India’s place in WTC Finals against Australia
A maddeningly exciting final between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Christchurch had far-reaching repercussions halfway around the world.
Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson sneaking onto the last ball of the first Test against the Sri Lankans at 19:40 in the fading light has meant India will play Australia in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
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The Kiwis conjured up a remarkable victory for the second time in two weeks, chasing a goal of 285 runs on the final ball of the rain-shortened final day to beat Sri Lanka by two wickets.
The victory, achieved after beating England in a run after progressing through Wellington, put the hosts 1-0 up in the two-game series and ended Sri Lanka’s hopes of reaching the WTC Finals.
Williamson starred by notching his 27th Test century in a beautifully controlled 121 innings after the first four and a half hours of play at Hagley Oval were washed out by rain.
The winning run came as former captain and injured Neil Wagner ran a bye, Williamson securing the win by diving full-length to get his racquet into the crease before a direct hit broke the stumps.
However, Williamson was visibly frustrated that it even got to the final ball because of the preceding drama.
The Kiwi skipper attempted to find the final run of the game’s penultimate ball but failed to make contact with a ball that bounced well over his head.
All eyes fell on the square-leg referee, who shouted a “wide,” but it didn’t come, even though the ball bounced well over Williamson’s head.
The would-be underdog would have ended the game on the spot, but the referee didn’t pull the trigger and the game was extended by another exciting ball.
Sri Lanka had to win their series 2-0 in New Zealand and rely on India not winning their fourth and final Test against Australia in Ahmedabad.
Australia secured their place in the final by beating India by nine wickets in Indore last week.
India and Australia will meet in the second WTC Final at The Oval in London from June 7th.
The game comes less than three months after the Border Gavaskar series, which India will win 2-1.
New Zealand defeated India in the first WTC decision of 2021.
– With AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/cricket/wild-final-ball-finish-in-740pm-new-zealand-darkness-seals-indias-place-in-the-wtc-final-against-australia-c-10028064 Cricket: Wild final ball finish in New Zealand’s 19:40 darkness seals India’s place in WTC Finals against Australia