India, New Zealand, and Australia the top contenders as we look at the updated ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 final qualification scenario after England’s 2-0 win over Sri Lanka.
What an amazing last few weeks we have witnessed from the ICC World Test Championship. First, New Zealand whitewashed Pakistan at home to complete their World Test Championship matches, and end at a PCT% of 70. In the process, they also became number one in the ICC Test rankings.
Parallelly, India were humiliated in the first Test by Australia when they were bundled out for just 36 runs. However, this Indian team under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane, and without so many key players, bounced back to win in Melbourne, and then went on to defeat Australia at Fortress Gabba to secure a 2-1 series win.
Thirdly, England whitewashed Sri Lanka convincingly to win the Test Series 2-0 and keep their hopes alive in the ICC WTC. So, with India’s series win over Australia and England’s win over SL, the ICC WTC only becomes interesting. While it is still a 3 way battle between Australia, NZ, and India, England do have an outside chance to qualify for the WTC final.
So, what does India, Australia, New Zealand, and England need to do from here on to be in contention for the final top 2 spots of the World Test Championship? Let’s have a look at the updated World Test Championship 2019-21 qualification scenario for the top 4 teams.
Completed: Points Contested: 480 || Points Earned: 332 || PCT%: 69.2
Yet to Contest: Maybe 120 vs SA
Australia’s series defeat to India have made their World Test Championship final qualification scenario a difficult affair now. An unimaginable defeat to Australia at Fortress Gabba means they now are currently at a PCT% of 69.2; just below New Zealand’s 70%.
It is now mandatory for Australia to play the South Africa series if they need to keep their WTC qualification in their hands instead of relying on other teams. Australia can also not bring pandemic safety reasons into the picture because they would not want that to be an obstacle. Hence, they would make every possible attempt to make this series happen, which should also benefit SA financially.
So, let’s assume Australia play the South Africa series even though chances of that happening looks bleak. So, for them to have a sure shot at the final two spots, they need to have a PCT% of > 70. They can achieve that by defeating South Africa at least 2-0; that means, the Australian team can’t afford a loss from here on.
If Australia win 3-0 vs SA, Australia would end up with 452 points and 75.3%. If Australia win 2-0 vs SA, they would end with 425 points and 70.9 PCT%. However, if Australia lose one match, they would end with a PCT% of 68.7%, which means their qualification would almost be nullified.
Australia’s Ideal Scenario: Australia should defeat South Africa at least 2-0.
Completed: Points Contested: 600 || Points Earned: 420 || PCT%: 70
Yet to Contest: None
New Zealand are sitting comfortably in the World Test Championship at number 2 position and 70 PCT%. They just need to now wait and watch how Australia and India perform against South Africa and England respectively. Technically, the only way they may not be able to qualify is if India beat England 2-0 or England beat India 3-0 and also Australia beat South Africa 2-0.
New Zealand’s Ideal Scenario: South Africa should win at least 1 Test vs Australia
Completed: Points Contested: 600 || Points Earned: 412 || PCT%: 68.7
Yet to Contest: 120 vs India
England convincingly whitewashed Sri Lanka to secure very important 120 points. They now have 412 points from total contested 600 points, which makes a PCT% 68.7. While they are riding high on confidence, their issue, however, is that they run against a high on confidence Indian team, and that too in India.
For England to qualify, the scenario is very simple. At most, they can afford a Draw or 1 loss if Australia don’t play South Africa. If they defeat India 3-0, they should end up with a PCT% of 71.1%. If they defeat India 3-1, they should end up with a PCT% of 69.7%, which means unless Australia play South Africa, they are qualified.
However, in both scenarios, we are being too optimistic and unrealistic at the same time. Do we really think England can defeat India 3-0 or 3-1 in India? Will India play the worst cricket in their history to let England win 3, and themselves win only 1 or none? What do you guys think?
England’s Ideal Scenario: England should defeat India at least 3-0.
Completed: Points Contested: 600 || Points Earned: 430 || PCT%: 71.7
Yet to Contest: 120 vs Eng
The win at Gabba has made Team India’s probability to qualify for the final of the WTC sky high. They currently have 430 points from total contested 600 points and a PCT% of 71.7. For India to end up above NZ’s 70%, India need to defeat England at least 2-0; that means India can afford 1 draw, 2 draws or 1 loss. Anything other than this, would mean Australia’s series vs SA becomes important.
So, if India win 4-0 vs England, they end up with 550 points and 76.4 PCT%. If India beat England 3-0, they end up with a total of 530 points and 73.6 PCT%. If India beat England 3-1, they end up with 520 points and 72.2 PCT%. Similarly, if India win 2-0, they end up with 510 points and 70.8 PCT%. However, if India win 2-1 or less, they end up below NZ with a PCT% of 69.4%. That means, unless Australia play South Africa, India should be qualified on account of higher PCT%.
Team India’s Ideal Scenario: India to defeat England at least 2-0.
The road to the final of the ICC World Test Championship seems to be a three-way battle between India, Australia, and New Zealand. Unless Australia win the to-be-scheduled series vs South Africa at least 2-0, it should be Team India playing New Zealand at Lord’s in June 2021 for the final of the WTC.
Thanks for reading! Looking at the updated ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 qualification scenario, which two teams do you think would end up playing the final at Lord’s from June 18-22, 2021? Please, email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics with over 20 years of experience following Cricket.
Cricket to him is like what Football is to Lionel Messi, Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar, Dancing is to Michael Jackson, and Acting is to Clint Eastwood.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.