An unflappable captain, a hard-grafting team with a six foot eight bowling star and redemption for New Zealand cricket after that loss in the One day world championships.
That was what was on the minds of former players, cricket writers and fans after the Black Caps beat india by eight wickets in the first World Test Championship final in a rain-affected match which left everything to play for on the final day.
Cricinfo, probably the go-to site for global cricket sites, said even the English weather could not summon the cruelty to break New Zealand's hearts in a final in England again. In "glorious late-evening sunshine" New Zealand ticked down the runs to win and scale the heights. It was no foregone conclusion.
"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."
A key was its tight, controlled and attacking bowling: "They managed to take a wicket every five-and-a-half overs with precise planning and execution of those plans by a relentless attack."
Sensational performance @BLACKCAPS— Scott Styris (@scottbstyris) June 23, 2021
Deserved champions beating a great opponent.
Enjoy gents! What an achievement
Cricinfo UK editor Andrew Miller highlighted not any individual play but the team's commitment to graft and hard work.
"For this was a day for digging deep, something that this magnificent New Zealand team does better than almost any outfit in the world. One final busting of the gut, an exhortation to cast aside the fripperies of physical injury, and tap instead into the emotional hurt that New Zealand have known only too personally in their last two ICC global finals."
Almost all media reports mentioned Kyle Jamieson's player of the match bowling, picking up seven wickets, including five in India's first innings.
The Guardian put it like this: "The 6ft 8in right-armer's emergence over the past 18 months has augmented an already well-oiled New Zealand machine, one of the pistons of which is Neil Wagner and his lung-busting commitment to the short ball."
But the Guardian's best line came from its ball-by-ball live blog. As Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson guided the side to victory, the Guardian turned to the team. "A great moment for what is now a great cricket nation: small, but perfectly formidable."
Congratulations @BLACKCAPS a humble, hardworking and outstanding Test team- worthy champions— Mike atherton (@Athersmike) June 23, 2021
The view from India
The Times of India, one of India's largest circulation newspapers, lauded the Black Caps saying that India's superstars had failed to fire on the final day.
"Absolutely worthy champions" - Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag
It said that new Zealand were canny operators and ably led by a classy skipper in Kane Williamson. Together, they "exposed the multiple frailties in Virat Kohli's team".
Tellingly, it pointed out that: "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."
Some of India's greatest players tweeted their appreciation of what the New Zealanders had achieved.
Great opening batsman, Virender Sehwag, said the Black Caps may have missed being One Day champions two years ago but had won the inaugural test championship in style. He said the Black Caps were "absolutely worthy champions".
Missed being 50-over champions 2 years ago in the same country, but winning the inaugural World test Championship in style, many congratulations @BLACKCAPS , absolutely worthy champions. Happy for Kane Williamson and @RossLTaylor #INDvNZ pic.twitter.com/TNnkLvaMsO— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 23, 2021
Sachin Tendulkar, known as "the Little Master" a cricket icon and the most prolific runmaker of all time, tweeted that India will be disappointed in their performance but the Black Caps were the superior team.
Congrats @BLACKCAPS on winning the #WTC21. You were the superior team.#TeamIndia will be disappointed with their performance.— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) June 23, 2021
As I had mentioned the first 10 overs will be crucial & lost both Kohli & Pujara in the space of 10 balls & that put a lot of pressure on the team. pic.twitter.com/YVwnRGJXXr
Daniel Brettig, an assistant editor at cricket site Cricinfo, said the Black Caps had opened up test cricket's pinnacle to all nations who play the game.
"If they can do it in a landscape so slanted towards Australia, India and England then anyone can."
New Zealand's defining achievement in winning #WTC21 is to open up Test cricket's pinnacle to all nations. If they can do it in a landscape so slanted towards Aust, India and England, then anyone can.— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) June 23, 2021
Some Indian cricket fans looked back to an era under former captain MS Dhoni when they won three top ICC cricket trophies in five years, but have not managed to lift a major cup since then. A small but vocal group called for Virat Kohli to be replaced as captain. Others simply said that the Black Caps had been superior.
The Indian Express pointed out that while New Zealand had broken its cricket drought in trophies, India's was now lengthening.
It raised the issue that perhaps India were under-prepared for English conditions - New Zealand had played a two-test series against England as a preparation - but dismissed that as an excuse instead focusing on some poor batting by Kohli's team.
"Actually, India were undone by their batting on the last day, when conditions became a lot easier for batting," it decided. And the paper quoted cricket great Sunil Gavaskar's commentary: "India should have batted better. The sun was out, there wasn't prodigious movement, but they were bowled out for 170."
The Express also said that New Zealand's swing and seam bowlers proved to be India's bugbears.
It also highlighted the winning runs being hit by Ross Taylor, with a characteristic flick through midwicket. It said he may have been new Zealand's biggest hero in the fourth innings, helping to shut the door on India in the last session.
"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. It was the first time New Zealand were winning a major ICC title since the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy, when Stephen Fleming had led them to their only world title.
"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."