Wilson, 28, came out on top of an absorbing best-of-33 battle which went right to the wire, and was only settled by a fluked green off three cushions at the end of the deciding frame, one described by seven-time champion Stephen Hendry on commentary as “the most incredible frame in Crucible history”.
A series of misses and fouls turned the decider one way and then they other as nerves took hold, with McGill failing to escape from a snooker eight times in succession before Wilson inexplicably potted the white, twice, with the match seemingly sewn up to allow McGill back in.
Wilson was visibly emotional as the green dropped into the corner pocket to effectively end the contest, clearly upset by the manner in which he’d won such a titanic battle, while the beaten Scot smiled ruefully.
McGill was struggling to process the result after the match.
“I thought I played great,” he said. ”I was really unlucky. Well done to Kryen, he played a great match. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, I feel like I’ve had it stolen from me – not be Karen, by the snooker gods.”
The Englishman Wilson will play either Mark Selby or Ronnie O’Sullivan in Saturday’s final. Selby leads their semi-final 13-11 going into Friday night’s finale.
Wilson had returned for their concluding session with a 13-11 advantage and stretched his lead to three frames with a nerveless break of 94. But qualifier McGill stormed back with consecutive breaks of 84, 87 and 122 to achieve parity at the mid-session interval.
Wilson nudged back in front with a break of 82 but McGill appeared unfazed and pulled back level before a nerveless 98 sent him one frame from victory. Wilson forced the decider after a re-rack, but neither player could possibly have envisaged the drama that was soon to unfold.
Both players missed simple chances to claim frame and match, with McGill running aground on 39 then Wilson missing a simple red to middle on 47.
With the black teetering over the top pocket, Wilson snookered McGill on a nearby red and the Scot missed it eight times in a row – leaving him requiring snookers. Yet Wilson duly stepped up and screwed the white back into the middle pocket, with another subsequent in-off handing his opponent back the initiative.
The red then became perched tight on the top lip of the middle pocket, with both players trying and failing to pot it via the bottom cushion.
McGill managed it at the second attempt but with the colours seemingly at his mercy he snookered himself on the green – which Wilson subsequently missed to effectively take the match.
After an extended safety battle, Wilson fluked the green via three cushions, leaving McGill requiring snookers again and Wilson ultimately thanking his outrageous fortune.
Additional reporting by PA
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