ICC World Test Championship Final Qualification Scenario Explained

India, Australia, and New Zealand the contenders as we look at the ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 final qualification scenario.

Update: Here’s the latest article on the ICC World Test Championship final qualification scenarios after England vs SL series: 

Latest: ICC World Test Championship Qualification Scenarios as on Jan 25

The World Test Championship is one of the boldest steps taken by ICC to preserve and give importance to the longest format of the game, the Test Cricket. Since its inception in August 2019, the format has only seen a rise in terms of popularity, and more and more fans have been eager to take an active interest in Test cricket. 

While the format and rules are definitely debatable, and not a lot of thought has been given to it, it’s somewhat acceptable given the bigger cause it achieves. You can find the format details, and its drawbacks in this article, Why ICC World Test Championship format is absolutely absurd?. 

ICC WTC Current Situation: 

As we know, the final of the ICC World Test Championship is supposed to be played between top 2 teams at Lord’s basis the final Standings as per the PCT%, which is the percentage of Points earned per total points contested by each team. After the recent wins – one by India vs Australia and other by New Zealand vs Pakistan, the table has opened up with as many as 4 teams competing for the top 2 spots.

As of December 30, India and Australia are at the top with a PCT % of 76.7 and 72.2 respectively. These two are closely followed by New Zealand at 66.7 and England with 60.8. Others in the table are far off, and it is very unlikely any team from the bottom 5 might have a go at the finals. 

ICC World Test Championship standings as on December 30 2020
ICC World Test Championship standings as on December 30, 2020

So, what do India, England, Australia, New Zealand, and others need to do from here to be in the contention for the top 2 spots? Let’s have a look in the ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 Final qualification scenario for the top 4 probable teams. 

Australia: 

Completed: Points Contested: 420 || Points Earned: 322 || PCT%: 76.7

Pending: Yet to Contest: 60 vs India & Maybe 120 vs SA 

Australia have a great chance of qualifying for the final of the World Test Championship. They currently are number 1 with a healthy PCT% of 76.7. If they win both their home matches, Australia would end with 382 points and a PCT% of 79.6, which should be enough for them to qualify for the final. 

If Australia lose 1 or Draw 1, they would end at a PCT% of 73.3 and 75.5 respectively, which should still be enough for them to qualify as New Zealand can end at a maximum of 70%, and only 1 of England or India would end above Australia.

Also, please note, there could be a series scheduled against South Africa, but no details are being finalised as yet. Hence, it is currently not considered in the evaluation. Once there is a confirmation on the series, the article shall be updated accordingly. 

Australia Prediction: Points: 362 || PCT%: 75.4 

Looking at the pending matches for Australia, Gabba is their best bet as the last time they lost in Gabba was in 1988. The match in Sydney might end up in a draw as history has seen. So, Australia should end up at 362 points, and a PCT% of 75.4. That means Australia are almost certain to qualify for the final of the ICC World Test Championship 2019-21. 

New Zealand: 

Completed: Points Contested: 540 || Points Earned: 360 || PCT%: 66.7

Pending: Yet to Contest: 60 vs Pak

New Zealand’s thrilling win in the first Test vs Pakistan have given them a great hope of qualifying for the final of the ICC WTC. They currently have 360 points and a PCT% of 66.7. Given their next match is again vs Pakistan at home, in all likelihood, New Zealand should take that unless Pakistan do something extraordinary to at least draw the Test match.  

New Zealand Prediction: Points: 420 || PCT%: 70

England: 

Completed: Points Contested: 480 || Points Earned: 292 || PCT%: 60.8 

Pending: Yet to Contest: 240 (120 vs SL & 120 vs India)

England face a herculean task ahead in the ICC WTC. They currently have 292 points and a PCT% of 60.8. With two away series left, it is almost next to impossible for England to qualify for the finals. They can afford to lose at max 60 points from their remaining 240 points. Even then they would want New Zealand to draw against Pakistan, which would mean Australia and England would play the final then. If they are able to do so, it would be one of the greatest performance by England. 

England Prediction: Points: 372 || PCT%: 51.7

Looking at the pending matches for England, they can win a match against Sri Lanka and 1 might end up in a draw. Against India, they currently stand a less chance to win a match. Hence, England might end up with 80 points more, which means a PCT% of 51.7. 

India: 

Completed: Points Contested: 540 || Points Earned: 390 || PCT%: 72.2

Pending: Yet to Contest: 180 (60 vs Aus & 120 vs Eng)

The recent historic win for Team India in the second Test match vs Austalia has benefitted them a lot. Given how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the team schedule, the Australia away series is a crucial one for Team India. While they started badly with a loss, they bounced back strongly to register a historic win to level the series at 1-1.

India currently have 390 points from the total contested 540 points; making the PCT% of 72.2. India now have 2 Away Tests vs Australia and 4 Home Tests vs England. If they win all the matches, their PCT% would stand at 79.2. If they lose 1, their PCT% would stand at 75.

For India to qualify, they must win at least 4 Tests as that would mean they would end up at a PCT% of 70.8; that’s just above New Zealand’s maximum 70%. If they win 3, and are able to draw the other 3, which looks difficult, they can still qualify for the final with a PCT% of 70.8. 

Team India Prediction: Points: 520 || PCT%: 72.2

Ideally, New Zealand should mostly win their last match vs Pakistan, hence, for India to qualify, they would need to have 120 points from their remaining 6 matches. Against Australia, a scenario of 10 points for a draw seems likely, whereas, at home against England at home, India stand favourites, and can definitely win all four matches given India’s dominant home run. 

Conclusion: 

It is going to be a three-way battle between Australia, New Zealand, and India for the final two spots. A lot depends on the next two matches; NZ vs Pak and India vs Aus at Sydney as that should almost decide 1 of the finalist. However, looking at the future fixtures, India and Australia should mostly play the WTC 2019-21 final at Lord’s. 

Thanks for reading! Looking at the ICC World Test Championship final qualification scenario, which two teams would end up playing the final at Lord’s? Please, email your comments on business@cricalytics.com.

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