India's chances of qualifying for their second consecutive World Test Championship Final received a massive boost on Thursday, December 29.
The Asian heavyweights didn't have to take the field for this, though, as Australia hammered South Africa in the Boxing Day Test. The Aussies, who lead the WTC table, have now gained a 2-0 lead in the three-match series against the Proteas.
Courtesy of their two losses against Australia, South Africa have slipped from second to fourth position in the World Test Championship points table. It puts the Proteas in a spot of bother as only the top two teams will qualify for the WTC Final scheduled to take place in England next June.
This article will look at India's World Test Championship scenario after Australia's win against South Africa in Melbourne.
How many matches do Team India have left before World Test Championship Final?
India have four matches left in the ongoing World Test Championship cycle.
The four games will take place from February 9 to March 13 against Australia at home. The hosts will start as the favorites to win the series, but we will look at how different scorelines in the series can impact India's chances of qualifying for the final.
Scenario 1: India beat Australia 4-0, 3-1 or 3-0
India will be through to the World Test Championship Final if they win three of the four Tests against Australia. Regardless of whether the scoreline is 4-0, 3-0 or 3-1, India will finish in the top two of the points table irrespective of what happens in the other matches.
Hence, Rohit Sharma's men should aim to win at least three Tests against Australia. This would help them ensure that they are not reliant on other results to qualify for the World Test Championship Final.
Scenario 2: India beat Australia 2-0 or 1-0
A 2-0 series win against Australia should be enough for India. Howeverm they will have to hope that Sri Lanka do not win their away series against New Zealand by the same margin.
If India win 2-0, Australia beat South Africa in third Test and Sri Lanka beat New Zealand 2-0, the World Test Championship Final will be between Australia and Sri Lanka.
If India win the series against Australia 1-0, they will end with 56.94% points. This will once again mean that they will be reliant on New Zealand to not allow Sri Lanka a 2-0 win.
Scenario 3 - Series ends in a draw
If the series ends in a 2-2 draw, India will have 56.94% points. Like the previous scenario, their fate will be in the hands of New Zealand and Sri Lanka. South Africa will also have a chance, provided they win their remaining three Tests (one against Australia and two against West Indies).
The scenarios will be similar if the series ends in a 1-1 or 0-0 draw, but India's points percentage will be 55.09 (1-1 draw) and 53.24 (0-0) respectively.
Scenario 4 - Australia win the series
India have never lost a WTC series on home soil. However, if they lose the series against Australia, regardless of the margin, they will most likely be eliminated from the World Test Championship Final race.
If Australia pull off a miraculous 4-0 win, India will sink below England in the standings with 45.83% points. A 1-0 win for Australia will reduce India's points percentage to 51.39% as well, which is why the Indian team cannot afford to lose the series.
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