New Zealand: New Zealand becomes the first team to qualify for the final of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship (WTC). The Kiwis' qualification for the final comes with the caution that Australia’s postponed tour of South Africa is not rescheduled in time for the results to count in the WTC cycle. In the major development, Australia has postponed their Test tour of South Africa amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier, Tim Paine and co were scheduled to play three Test matches against South Africa later this month.
Kane Williamson-led New Zealand cricket team will now play another title match at Lord's after becoming the first team to qualify for the inaugural World Test Championship final to be played at the famous Lord's Cricket Stadium in June.
''All to play for in the upcoming India v England series with three teams able to meet New Zealand in the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship! Here's the breakdown, assuming a full 4-Test series with no ties and no further matches involving NZ or Australia, ICC tweets.''
All to play for in the upcoming India v England series with three teams able to meet New Zealand in the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship!— ICC (@ICC) February 2, 2021
Here's the breakdown, assuming a full 4-Test series with no ties and no further matches involving NZ or Australia 👇 #WTC21 pic.twitter.com/TTZFkPd1Ex
India and England (IND vs ENG) have their destiny in their own hands as they meet in the upcoming four-match Test series, which will be the last series in the ongoing WTC cycle. The two teams will kick-start the series from February 5 in Chennai. Notably, India will need at least a 2-1 series win against England to qualify for the finals.
Australia's chances of making it to the Lord's final in June have taken a big hit as they have to rely on other results to go their way. India are still on top of the World Test Championship table with 71.7 Percentage of Points (PCT). New Zealand is on second with 70 PCT have confirmed their place in the WTC finals as they will not drop further after completing their quota of matches in the current WTC cycle.
Australia are at the third spot with a PCT of 69.2 but they won't able to overcome New Zealand following the postponement of the three-match Test series in South Africa.
Moreover, the ICC had restructured the World Test Championship qualification system as they introduced PCT (points earned/points available) to determine the standings. The matches that are canceled or postponed due to Covid-19 will be considered null/void.