With the thrilling win for NZ over SL, the 2nd and final seat for the WTC finals of the 2021-23 leg has been confirmed. So it would be Australia taking on India at The Oval come 7th-11th June, 2023. India making it to their 2nd consecutive WTC finals in as many editions of the tournament. Australia make it to their first after fractionally missing out to NZ in the 2019-21 leg due to the 4 penalty points they picked for slow over rate in the BGT 2020-21.
Below are the championship standings at the conclusion of today’s matches. With only 1 match between NZ Vs SL left, the top 2 seats have been booked.
4-0 Vs ENG in 5 Match series (Dec ’21/ Jan ’22)
Started their WTC 2021-23 campaign by presenting ENG with one of their lowest points in cricket. A 4-0 thrashing in the Ashes of 2021-22. Under the new skipper and new coach, there was a sweep of changes around the Aussie team off the field, but they backed it with their best performance on the field.
Points – 52/60.
2-0 Vs WI in 2 Match series (Nov / Dec ’22)
This one was in Nov ’22. The WI were of no match to the Aussie pace and batting prowess. A comprehensive 2-0 victory for the hosts.
Points – 24/24.
2-0 Vs SA in 3 Match series (Dec ’22/ Jan ’23)
The first test in this series ended under 2 days at the Gabba when the surface was quite spicy for both the teams’ liking. AUS picked a 6 wkt win chasing just 34 in the final inns. AUS were back to their best in the boxing day test with the final new year’s test in Sydney ending in a draw accompanied by inclement weather.
Points – 28/36.
Australia’s 3 away series were all in the sub-continent this time around with tours to PAK, SL & IND, which are traditionally hardest places to tour for them.
1-0 Vs PAK in 3 Match series (Mar ’22)
AUS toured to PAK after almost a quarter century. With quite highway kind of surfaces, the first 2 matches ended in pale draws in Rawalpindi and Karachi. The visitors took the 3rd one at Lahore to score a historic test series win in the sub-continent in almost 2 decades.
Points – 20/36.
1-1 Vs SL in 2 Match series (Jul ’22)
The last time they toured SL in 2016, the Aussies were clean swept 3-0. Amidst of the SL economic crisis & the dethroning of their president, the series went on in Jul ’22. AUS took the first match by 10 wkt margin but humbled by the home team in the 2nd one.
Points – 12/24.
1-2 Vs IND in 4 Match series (Feb / Mar ’23)
The ultimate test for any team from the SENA countries is a Test series win in IND. AUS looked in terrific form ahead of the series. The pitch and the spin favoring pitches robbed their minds in the first 2 tests which went in IND’s favor. Used the gap in between the 2nd & 3rd test to fight back with a win and a draw in the next 2.
Points – 16/48.
1-0 Vs NZ in 2 Match series (Nov / Dec ’21)
India came close to winning the first test in Kanpur but could not complete the job as they could not pick the last Kiwi wkt over 50 balls. Came back to win emphatically in Mumbai to take the series 1-0. Lost out on 8 crucial points that haunted the team till the final test.
Points – 16/24.
2-0 Vs SL in 2 Match series (Mar ’22)
Outperformed SL in all the 3 depts. picking up huge wins that got their WTC journey back on track.
Points – 24/24.
2-1 Vs AUS in 4 Match series (Feb / Mar ’23)
Came into the series with the pressure of scoring min. 2 wins out of the 4 matches to outscore SA’s chances. The home team delivered the goods by winning the first 2 matches, esp. the 2nd test in Delhi. IND were 139/7 in response to AUS’s 263 in the first inns. IND came back from there to take a 6 wkt win. The 2-0 score line then got IND above SA’s max possible and were almost confirmed of a WTC finals spot. Lost in 3rd and looked good in 4th that ended in a draw.
Points – 28/48.
With 2 of the away tours involving England and SA, it was important for IND to have limited the damage. And that was what the team did picking 3 wins and a draw in the 8 matches.
2-2 Vs ENG in 5 Match series (Aug / Sep ’21 & Jul ’22)
IND started their 2021-23 WTC leg with the tour to ENG. The series was played in 2 parts due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In the first part played in 2021, IND took a 2-1 lead after 4 matches. The last one in Jul ’22, IND faced a reinvented ENG team doing the “BazBall”. Though the target was 378 in the final inns, ENG went about in their new way of attack to win it by 7 wkts. What could have been a 3-1 to IND ended as 2-2. Also crucially, IND picked up 4 penalty points in this series for slow over rate.
Points – 24/60.
1-2 Vs SA in 3 Match series (Dec ’21 / Jan ’22)
The most competitive series that IND had in SA. On another day could have taken that series 2-1 at the min. A brilliant win in the opening match in Centurion, before Van der Dussen and SA took on the IND bowlers in both the remaining matches at Jo’burg and Cape Town to score 7 wkt wins. Another penalty point for slow over rate added on to the pain.
Points – 11/36.
2-0 Vs BAN in 2 Match series (Dec ’22)
IND needed nothing less than a 2-0 score line in this series with SA & SL knocking at the doors of the WTC finals. The first test was quite convincing win while the second one was a kind breaking out of jail. Ashwin & Iyer adding unbeaten 71 runs for the 8th wkt to score the win. The result ensured IND put one foot into the WTC finals door.
Points – 24/24.
Performance of all Teams in WTC 2021-23
The key to securing a WTC finals berth is the combination of having a really good home performance while limiting the damage in away tours. As evident by IND in both the WTC legs till date. NZ scrapped their way to the finals in WTC 2019-21 thanks to the 4 penalty points to AUS and their cancelled tour to BAN.
In the current leg, SA have dominated at home conditions winning 6 out if their 7 matches just losing on one to IND and winning all 4 Vs BAN & WI.
On away basis, PAK made the most of their tours to WI, BAN & SL. But both SA & PAK couldn’t manage the combination. PAK had their best chance for a place in the finals, but they just needed to perform better at home which went win less.
In fact, IND are the only team to have sufficiently managed on both. Home win% would have been to 75% had they managed to pick that final NZ wkt. AUS’s home domination earning them the overall top spot.