FORMER WORLD CHAMPIONS AIM TO STRENGTHEN CLAIMS FOR AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION FOR ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019

The West Indies and Pakistan will aim to consolidate their positions on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings in their bid to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 when they will feature in a three-match ODI series starting in Guyana on Friday, 7 April.

The West Indies, the 1975 and 1979 world champions, are presently sitting in ninth position on 84 points, five points behind eighth-ranked 1992 winners Pakistan. Bangladesh, which recently drew its three-match series with Sri Lanka, is seventh on 92 points.

The West Indies leads Pakistan 15-13 on a head-to-head at home and has a chance to move ahead of the visiting side. But to make it happen, it will have to win all three matches. If it is able to achieve this, then it will join the green shirts on 87 points and will be ranked eighth as it will be ahead by a fraction of a point.

In contrast, if Pakistan, which has won 11 of 19 matches against the West Indies in the West Indies this decade, wins all the three matches, then it will join Bangladesh on 92 points and will be ranked ahead of its Asian rival by a fraction of a point.

The series is set up for a fascinating contest as crucial ranking points are up for grabs that can go a long way in helping them to qualify automatically for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. England and the seven other top teams on 30 September 2017 will qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with the remaining four teams getting a second chance through a 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifying tournament in 2018.

This will also be the final series before the annual update is carried out on 1 May to ensure the table continues to reflect teams’ recent form with older results being discarded. This, in turn, means when the ODI team rankings are overhauled on 1 May, the table will reflect all matches from 1 May 2014 with matches played from 1 May 2016 to carry 100 per cent weighting.

Meanwhile, in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for ODI Batsmen, Pakistan’s Babar Azam will start as the highest-ranked batsman from either side in ninth position. Mohammad Hafeez is the next highest-ranked batsman in 26th position and Sarfraz Ahmed (39th). The West Indies’ highest-ranked batsman is skipper Jason Holder in 89th position.

South Africa captain AB de Villiers is the number-one ranked batsman and he is followed by Australia’s David Warner and Virat Kohli of India.

Jason Holder (15th) leads the bowlers’ pack from either side, while Hafeez (37th) and Imad Wasim (47th) will also be aiming to improve their rankings.

In the all-rounders’ category, which is headed by Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, Hafeez (third) and Holder (ninth) feature prominently.

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh Sri Lanka and Bangladesh players have made impressive gains in the latest player rankings, which were updated following the conclusion of their series.

In the batting table, Tamim Iqbal has achieved a career-high ranking on 19th after rising four places, Shakib has moved up five places to join Hafeez in 26th spot and Kusal Mendis has vaulted 26 places to claim a career-best 33rd position.

In the bowlers’ list, Suranga Lakmal of Sri Lanka has achieved a career-high ranking on 23rd after jumping five places and Nuwan Kulasekara is now just outside the top 50 in 51st position after rising three places.

Bangladesh’s Taskin Ahmed, who took a hat-trick in the first ODI, is his side’s biggest mover. He has rocketed 13 places to a career-best 61st place.

MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on 5 April, after Sri Lanka-Bangladesh series and before West Indies-Pakistan series)

Rank    Team                Points

  1. South Africa      119
  2. Australia           118
  3. New Zealand     113
  4. India                 112
  5. England            108
  6. Sri Lanka          98 (-)
  7. Bangladesh       92 (+1)
  8. Pakistan           89
  9. West Indies       84
  10. Afghanistan      52
  11. Zimbabwe         48
  12. Ireland              42