In what seems to be the biggest news of the hour, India has qualified for the WTC 2023 final as Sri Lanka were pipped by New Zealand in what turned out into a last-ball thriller, eventually paving the path for the clash of the two titans at the Oval, from 7th June.
Two set batters, Kane Williamson and Daryll Mitchell steered the Kiwi ship and fought till the very end unless the sucker punch arrived on the final ball of the Test to eliminate the Lankans, ushering the hosts to a 2-wicket victory at Christchurch.
With both the final Test between Australia and India and the first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, spanning out till the fifth day, both the consequences were important to the fate of the finale. With Australia and India battling in what now feels like a pretty much of a barren game between the two WTC finalists for the upcoming edition, New Zealand and Sri Lanka traded a handful of hefty blows.
If India fails to win at Ahmedabad, it was important that New Zealand must win at least one of their two games against the visiting Lankans and much to the joys of the Indian cricket team, it all happened in the first Test itself, eventually locking the grand finale with a clash between India and Australia.
Kane Williamson smashed an unbeaten century while Daryll Mitchell’s quickfire 86 ensured that New Zealand is going for the kill. For quite a lion’s share of the game, New Zealand didn’t really seem to be in the hunt but it all changed in the end and the hosts started looking a lot more enforcing and eventually seized control of the fixture on that final ball.
Providing a quick glance at the numbers, even if Sri Lanka wins the final Test against New Zealand, they would only go up to 52.78 points which will be lower than India’s 56.94 even if they lose against Australia in the series finale. However, with the draw being the likeliest result, India will finish with 58.80 and if Australia loses in Ahmedabad which seems like a black swan possibility, they have still qualified for the grand finale, securing a win percentage of 64.91. In the ongoing WTC cycle, Australia has so far secured numbers of 11-3 (exclusive of the Ahmedabad Test) while India has registered a win-loss form of 10-5 (exclusive of the Ahmedabad Test) and are the only two teams who have secured wins that are double or more than double the number of losses that they have incurred in the ongoing edition of the tournament.