Despite India winning the Asia Cup on Sunday with an authoritative 10-wicket win in Colombo against Sri Lanka, lifting the title for a record-extending eighth time in history, they failed to bag the ICC No.1 ranking spot in ODI cricket. By virtue of South Africa’s third straight win against Australia, all by a margin of over 100 runs, on Sunday in the final tie of the five-match ODI series, Pakistan, who suffered a crushing loss to India and Sri Lanka in Super Four stage of the Asia Cup last week, reclaimed the spot.
However, the change is only temporary. The final ODI series ahead of the World Cup, which begins from September 22 onwards, between India and Australia, will decide which team will head to the big tournament as the No. 1 ranked side.
Australia: (Current ranking No. 3, with 113 rating)
The Aussies were 2-0 ahead in the ODI series against South Africa and looked the strongest to finish as the world No. 1. Had they series gone in their favour, the contest against India would have stood as inconsequential in terms of deciding the ICC rankings before World Cup. However, a brutal 2-3 loss to South Africa leaves Australia with only a hope of a stellar whitewash against India to rise to the top spot.
India: (Current ranking No. 2, with 114.659 rating)
Among the three teams in contention for a place in the top spot in ICC ODI rankings chart, India are in prime position. The Rohit Sharma-led side can emerge as the new world No. 1 if they beat Australia even by a margin of 2-1. In fact, the newly-crowned Asia Cup winners can rise to the top spot as early as Friday next week if they beat Australia in the series opener in Mohali.
Pakistan (Current ranking No. 1, with 114.889 rating)
Pakistan, who had entered the Asia Cup as the No. 1 ranked side, incurred a big dent when they lost their final Super Four match at the Asia Cup to Sri Lanka. With no ODI matches scheduled for Pakistan ahead of the World Cup, their hopes of remaining as the No. 1 ranked side in ODIs depends entirely on Australia’s performance against India.
If Australia can beat India 2-1, Pakistan will remain atop while the five-time ODI world champions will take the second spot, hence sending India to the third place.