New Zealand’s thrilling win over Sri Lanka in Christchurch has ensured that India qualify for the WTC Final. They will take on Australia for the WTC Title at The Oval in London from June 7. With this, India have become second-time finalists in WTC. They lost the inaugural Final to New Zealand.

The qualification scenario was a little complex for India and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka needed to win both their Tests in New Zealand. They also needed India to either lose or draw in Ahmedabad. Sri Lankan hopes would’ve risen with the Australian domination at Ahmedabad. Their own run of form in the first couple of days in Christchurch was also a boost. However, their dream of making the final was shattered on a rain-hit Day 5, and a last-ball loss.

Kane Williamson Takes New Zealand to Victory – Cricket Maiden

The Top Two Teams Have a Stellar Record

Australia and India are the only teams which have won at least twice as many Tests as they have lost in the current WTC cycle. Australia have been great with a 11-3 win-loss record. They have a series wins against England, West Indies and South Africa (home), and Pakistan (away). They also drew in Sri Lanka (1-1), with the only series defeat coming in India.

India has a 10-5 record in this cycle. They have a series wins against New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Australia at home, and Bangladesh away. They drew 2-2 in England and lost 2-1 in South Africa.

India’s Journey to WTC Final 2023

India’s journey in this second cycle of the WTC began with the Test series in England in August-September 2021. This was under the Kohli-Shastri regime. They won both their games in London and took a 2-1 series lead. Post that COVID led to a postponement of the fifth Test. The next time they played a Test match – a two-match home series against New Zealand, Rahul Dravid had graduated up to take the spot left vacant by Ravi Shastri. India won that series with a victory in Mumbai following a Draw in Kanpur.

Next came the tour of South Africa. A first-innings century from KL Rahul set India on their way with a 1-0 lead in Centurion. However, India’s ordinary batting performance allowed South Africa to level the series in Johannesburg. A controversial third day in Cape Town saw Dean Elgar’s side complete a series victory. This dashed Kohli’s hopes of adding South Africa to his list of away conquests.

Rohit Sharma Takes Over as Test Captain

India’s home series against Sri Lanka in March was Rohit Sharma’s first as the permanent Test captain. He led the team to a fairly routine and emphatic series win by a 2-0 margin that saw Ravindra Jadeja scored 175 and take a fifer in the first innings of the opening Test while Jasprit Bumrah and Shreyas Iyer impressed in the second. In July, India went back to England to play the postponed fifth Test with an eye on a big away series win. But England pulled off a massive fourth innings chase with centuries for Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.

India brought down the curtains on 2022 with a 2-0 victory in Bangladesh. Shubman Gill scored his maiden Test hundred and Kuldeep Yadav picked eight wickets. Iyer and Ashwin also quashed Bangladesh’s hopes of a late comeback to complete the series sweep.

India Dominate the Border – Gavaskar Series

India began 2023 with sights firmly set on making it to the WTC final. They took big steps towards that with wins over Australia in Nagpur and Delhi where the visitors succomed to spin. But Steve Smith’s Australia hit back in Indore as India paid the price for their batting inadequecies.

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The hosts also began the fourth Test on shaky grounds as Australia amassed a big first innings score, keeping Sri Lanka in the hunt. But that was only until rain took away nearly half of the final day in Christchurch before New Zealand chased down their target on the final ball, paving the way for India’s qualification.

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