WTC Final 2023: Rohit vs Starc, Smith vs Ashwin – Key battles to watch Out

We all know that the ICC World Test Championship tournament has almost come to an end; the final match between Indian and Australia is going to glorify the history of cricket. Throughout the process, both teams have done top of the list and are scheduled to face each other on the WTC Final 2023.

The match will be played at Kennington Oval, London, on 7th June. Also, people will witness two biggest clashes- Rohit Sharma facing Michel Starc and Steve Smith facing Ravichandran Ashwin on the pitch.

WTC Final 2023: India vs Australia:

Both the teams have qualified for the WTC final 2023, betting the other national cricket team. Australia has reached the final, making the top of the WTC 2021-23 cycle points table with 66.67% in its 19 matches, followed by India in the second place with a 58.8% in 18 games. India lost the WTC 2021 final against New Zealand in the last WTC edition. The Kiwis at that time became the inaugural champion by beating Virat Kohli’s ‘Men in Blue’ by eight wickets at the Rose Bowl ground in Southampton. So, this time team India will let their luck run at a different root.

India will face Australia in their second WTC final, this time under the leadership of Rohit Sharma. Conversely, Pat Cummins will lead Australia to its first final of the Test championship tournament. The two all-time-rival teams met earlier this year in a four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy tournament which India fixed at home with a 2-1 scoreline and confirmed its place to meet Australia once again on the day of the final. While Australia is looking fixed to unleash its peak bowling lineup comprising Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, and Josh Hazlewood, India’s Jasprit Bumrah-less bowling attack will bank on Md Shami and other bowlers to challenge the Australian batting lineup.

The Top 5, including Rohit Sharma vs Starc:

Captain Rohit Sharma will face the Australian beast Michel Starc on the WTC final 2023 ground in London. The probable Indian top four batters excluding Rohit, are Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane – who have always shown well facing the left-arm pace of Starc. While Rohit and Gill are yet to be dismissed by Starc in Test matches, Kohli, Pujara, and Rahane have a stable average of 77.8 against him. All these five batters have fared well against the left-arm pacers in current times, including the seaming situations in England. Further, Starc has not yet a healthy record playing at The Oval – 4 innings, three wickets, 3.09 economy, 66 average, and a best of 3/140.

Steve Smith vs Ravichandran Ashwin:

Until 2020, Smith had not had a good mood on R. Ashwin. The bat and ball did not get peace whenever they faced each other. At that time, he averaged 116 against the experienced Indian off-spinner and only got dismissed thrice. If we look at the statistics from 2013 to 2021 test matches where Smith faced Ashwin, we can see Smith’s highest strike rate till 2021 was 72.4.

Afterwards, his performance against Ashwin decreased. If we look at the ODI matches, Smith’s strike rate neds at 103.8 against Ashwin. Since 2020, Smith has averaged 17.2 against R. Ashwin and gets out every 39 balls. Even we saw Ashwin picking him five times in 11 innings. However, things have changed significantly since that time. Both might get their previous forms back on the stage of the WTC finale 2023. We need to look at the ground to understand who beats whom.

India vs Australia WTC Full squads:

Team India WTC Squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (WK)

Standby: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Suryakumar Yadav, Mukesh Kumar

Team Australia WTC Squad: Pat Cummins (Captain), Scott Boland, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (WK), Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (WK), Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Steven Smith (Vice-Captain), David Warner, Mitchell Starc

Standby: Matt Renshaw, Mitch Marsh

Conclusion:

While India seeks to surpass their last performance at The Oval, Australia targets to claim joy against their formidable opponents on the ground of England. Determined to break their streak of 4 back-to-back Border-Gavaskar Trophy series losses, the Australians are ready to leave no stone unrolled. The last edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy concluded in India, with the Blues securing a 2-1 home series triumph. Both teams are well-prepared for the WTC Final 2023

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