WTC Final 2023: From Strategy and Beyond, Who Will be the Key Players?
Nathan Lyon will be an important player for Australia in the WTC Final (Source: Twitter)
The Indian Premier League (IPL 2023) has ended, and now the cricketing focus shifts to the real deal. Test cricket will now be gripping the Indian subcontinent as the 'Men in Blue' travels to England to face Australia in the WTC Finals.
Ahead of the match, we look at the playing conditions, the squads of the two teams, the best-predicted XIs, and the probable key performers of the two teams based on the playing conditions.
Pitch Analysis: Kennington Oval, England
We will examine the ground records in the last ten years at the Kennington Oval to keep the data relevant. First, look at the record of the different types of bowlers on the ground.
Pace vs Spin record at Kennington Oval in the last 10 years (Table Created: Datawrapper)
Now if we see the innings wise performances of the different type of bowlers.
The two tables suggest that the Pacers have been the more efficient bowlers at the Kennington Oval.
But if we look at the innings-wise strike rate of the two types of bowlers, it is clear that the pacers dominate the game at the beginning of the match, and as the game progresses the spinners take control of the proceedings.
WTC 2023 Final: India vs Australia Squads
So before we move on and make any sort of predictions let us take a look at the squads of the two teams that have been announced for the match.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, KS Bharat, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Axar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadakt, Umesh Yadav.
Reserves: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Mukesh Kumar, Suryakumar Yadav.
Australia: Pat Cummins (captain), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Josh Inglis, Todd Murphy, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.
Reserves: Mitch Marsh, Matt Renshaw
Now moving ahead, let us have a look at the players from the two squads who have played at Oval before.
India: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, and Umesh Yadav.
Australia: Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, David Warner, and Mitchell Starc.
WTC Final 2023: Player Records at the Kennington Oval, England
Record of Indian Players
Record of Indian Batters at the Kennington Oval (Table Created in Datawrapper)
Record of Indian Bowlers at the Kennington Oval (Table Created in Datawrapper)
Ideal Indian XI
Based on the records that we see the Ideal Indian XI for the WTC Final will be -
Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill (because of his recent form), Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk) (good technique for the conditions), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Shami.
* Mohammed Siraj has been in brilliant bowling form recently but the records of Shami and Siraj are slightly better on this ground. Shardul can provide the batting for the team and also has a good bowling average at the Kennington Oval. If numbers are to be trusted, Mohammed Siraj might not be a part of the playing XI in the final.
Record of Australian Players
Record of Australian Batters at Kennington Oval (Table Created in Datawrapper)
Record of Australian bowlers at the Kennington Oval (Table Created in Datawrapper)
Ideal Australian XI
The records suggest that the Australian XI for the match must look like-
Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, and Scott Boland (because of his perfection in line and length).
WTC Final 2023: Key Players
So, based on the records, here are the players who can be the key players in the match from both sides.
Rohit Sharma: The Indian skipper has a good record on the ground. The team will hope that Rohit Sharma continues to improve his numbers here and give India a good start in the match.
Shardul Thakur: Shardul Thakur will be a key cog for India if he makes his way into the playing XI. His all-round record at the ground is pretty nice and that might come in handy for the team.
Ravindra Jadeja: Arguably the best all-rounder in the world at present, Ravindra Jadeja will be a very important player for India in this match. He has been at his best if batting is to be considered and he also has a good record at Kennington Oval.
Steve Smith: The Australian master has been their mainstay in the batting for quite a few years now. Steve Smith has a great record at the venue and will be a very vital cog in this match for Australia.
Nathan Lyon: The Australian off-spinner has been an important part of the team for quite some time. Nathan Lyon also has a decent record at the venue and if Australia bowls in the last innings, Lyon might well turn out to be the match-winner for the Aussies.