The culmination of the second cycle of the World Test Championship is set for June 7, featuring a thrilling final clash between Australia and India. Australia, exhibiting their dominance, secured the top position in the WTC points table, boasting an impressive 66.67 points percentage by winning 11 out of 19 games.
Meanwhile, India claimed the second spot with a strong performance, winning ten out of 18 games and attaining a points percentage of 58.8. Notably, earlier this year, India hosted Australia in a captivating four-match Test series, which concluded with India emerging victorious with a 2-1 margin.
In the previous cycle of the World Test Championship, India had the privilege of playing in the final held in June 2021. Unfortunately, they suffered an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of the New Zealand, who clinched their second ICC trophy. Australia, finishing in third place, narrowly missed out on the final berth by a mere 0.8 points percentage, securing an impressive 69.2 points.
The Road to the Final: A Recap of Teams’ Journeys
India had one of the most dramatic journeys in this cycle of the World Test Championship. India started their campaign against England in a dominant fashion in 2021 but lost the fifth rescheduled Test in 2022, and England levelled the series. During this cycle, India played a total of six Test series, and a total of five captains led the team.
They maintained their dominance in the home conditions and defeated New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Australia. However, they couldn’t win the Test series in South Africa. On the bright side, they won all the matches against Bangladesh away from home.
During this cycle, Australia had a strong start by winning the Ashes against England with a big margin of 4-0 in 2021. They then went on a tour of Asia in 2022, starting with a three-match series in Pakistan. The first two matches ended in a draw, but Australia won the final game to win the series. They also played a two-match series in Sri Lanka, where Australia won the first match easily by 10 wickets.
However, Sri Lanka fought back in the second Test and won by a big margin to level the series. Australia had successful home series against West Indies and South Africa but couldn’t win the final Test series against India.
Battle of the Titans: Key Players to Watch Out For
The WTC Final promises a face-off between cricketing giants, and the outcome will heavily rely on the performances of some outstanding individuals. It will be the first time for Rohit Sharma and Pat Cummins as captain of their respective side in England. It will be the 50th Test match of career for both of them.
Rohit’s only century outside India has come in England at The Oval. Cummins has the best bowling average in England compared to other countries.
Nathan Lyon is the leading wicket-taker in this cycle of WTC, becoming one of the players to watch out for in this game. No other bowler has taken more wickets against India since Lyon’s debut in 2011.
Virat Kohli is another key player to watch out for in this game. He is just 21 runs away from scoring 2000 runs against Australia in Test cricket. Outside India, England is one of the two countries where Kohli has scored over 1000 runs, the first being Australia.
Pitch Conditions and Weather Forecast: Factors That Could Influence the Game
Over the past 10 years, the Oval has been known for providing a good batting pitch. It has the third-highest scoring rate among seven grounds, including Lord’s, Old Trafford, Headingley, Trent Bridge, Edgbaston, and Rose Bowl. However, bowlers also have opportunities to succeed at the Oval.
On an average, a wicket falls every 54 balls or after 30 runs. In the first two innings, pacers play a crucial role in taking wickets and controlling the scoring, with an average of 27.51, an economy rate of 3.19, and a strike rate of 51.45.
Spinners become more influential in the next two innings, taking a wicket every 50 balls on average, with a strike rate of 26.57. Overall, the Oval has been favourable for spinners, with the best strike rate (58.8), the second-best average (32.31), and the third-best economy rate (3.29) among the seven grounds in the last decade.
During the WTC final, the weather forecast for June 7 to 12 looks better than usual. It will be cloudy on the first day, June 7, but there won’t be any rain. The second and third days will be colder, but there is no predicted rain either. A gentle breeze will be throughout the five-day final, which could help swing bowlers trouble the batters.
Predictions and Expectations: Experts’ Opinions on the Outcome of the Final
As the WTC Final draws near, the cricketing world brims with excitement and anticipation. The clash of the finest awaits, promising riveting cricketing action, moments of sheer brilliance, and memories that will endure for years to come.
Buckle up and prepare for an enthralling battle as the World Test Championship reaches its exhilarating conclusion. Both the teams have the opportunity to not only win the prestigious WTC trophy but also become the first team to win all four ICC trophies (the ICC Cricket World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy, the ICC T20 World Cup, and the ICC World Test Championship).
India may seem like a stronger team compared to Australia on paper, but the latter side should not be underestimated as they have faced tough opponents and proved their abilities during this cycle. India have an advantage over Australia because they have a strong batting lineup with a good mix of fast bowlers and spinners.
Australia’s strength lies in their top-order batters. However, if the top-order fails, Australia lacks experienced batters in the lower order to rescue the team from difficult situations. Australia’s bowling lineup suffered a setback with Josh Hazlewood’s injury ruling him out of the WTC final, and Scott Boland has replaced him in the playing 11.
Final Verdict – Who will win the WTC Final?
India are expected to win the WTC Final against Australia. They played at the venue in 2021 and won by a huge margin. The confidence will be high for the players and also have the experience of playing the WTC Final before. Though it won’t be easy for them to beat Australia, India are certainly the favourites to win the tournament.