Going to be hard for Australia and South Africa to not make it to WTC final, remarks Shane Watson

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South Africa currently lead the WTC standings with an astonishing points haul of 75 percent

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Going to be hard for Australia and South Africa to not make it to WTC final, remarks Shane Watson

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SportsCafe Desk

08/21/2022

Shane Watson has pipped Australia and South Africa to make it to the final showoff for the World Test Championship considering the significant advantage they hold over their rivals in the standings. However, he went on to credit India and Pakistan as potential threats, praising their knack to win.

The second cycle of the World Test Championship is well past its halfway point now, with the final tentatively scheduled to take place in June next year at the iconic Lord's. At present, South Africa and Australia are dominating the standings and occupy the top two spots well ahead of all the other competitors. While the Proteas lead with a percentage haul of 75, their rivals from Down Under trial closely having earned 70 per cent of the points on offer so far. Their closest counterparts at the moment are the Asia trio of Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, with percentages of 53.33, 52.08 and 51.85 respectively.

South Africa has just seven Test matches to go in the ongoing cycle and needs to win five to ensure its spot in the final face-off for the prestigious Test throne. Australia, on the other hand, has nine matches to go and six victories would be enough to ensure they finish over India. The Men in Blue can only manage a score of 68.05 per cent if they win all six of their Test matches, while Sri Lanka will only be able to reach the mark of 66.66 per cent should they achieve a clean sweep in the four Tests that remain. Thus, at the moment, a clash between Australia and South Africa for the title looks likely.

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“Right now, the way I see it, it’s going to be hard for South Africa and Australia to not make it. They’re both playing really good cricket. Australia played good cricket apart from that last Test against Sri Lanka where they got swept up in turning conditions in the last innings," Shane Watson told Sanjana Ganesan on The ICC Review.

However, the fact that South Africa and Australia play each other in a three-match series later this year makes things interesting. One of the two is bound to lose points at the end of these encounters, offering the others a glimmer of hope. It gets even trickier for Australia since they are scheduled to play a four-match Test series in India in February-March 2023. The last time the baggy greens triumphed in Tests in India was 2004/05 and have lost four consecutive series since.

Similarly, Pakistan has a significant haul of five Tests to go and look to be in fine fettle under the leadership of Babar Azam. Watson admitted the two countries have to be taken into consideration when making any predictions in cricket.

“You can never discount India and Pakistan, because they’ve got so many match winners, outside of their home countries as well. Those two, I’d be very surprised if they don’t come knocking on the door leading into the final.”

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