Six months after qualifying for its maiden appearance in the cricket World Cup, Afghanistan's success story continues to make waves.
The strife-torn country has now entered the main One-Day International rankings for the first time.
Following the 32-run victory over Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, at Fatullah on Saturday, -- its first against a Full Member side of the ICC -- Afghanistan met the criteria for its inclusion in the main Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings table.
The country joins the table in 12th place, with 32 ratings points, and has an opportunity to go past 11th-placed Ireland should it win either of its two remaining Asia Cup group matches.
To gain promotion to the main rankings table, Afghanistan needed to either win two ODIs against Full Members, or achieve one win in an ODI against a Full Member. It also needed to have won more than 60 per cent of qualifying matches versus other Associates.
Afghanistan immediately achieved a ranking upon entry into the table, having played 12 ODIs since August 2010, the minimum requirement being eight matches.
The 32 ratings points come from the results of these 12 ODIs and the ranking of its opponents at the time the matches were played.
It's been a remarkable journey for Afghanistan which was playing in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in 2008.
In 2010, it qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010 by winning the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2010.
It then finished second to Ireland in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2012 to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012.
Afghanistan finished runner-up a second time to Ireland at the qualifying event in 2013 to make it to the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014.
Afghanistan also played in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 in New Zealand, the 2012 edition in Australia, and, most recently, finished seventh in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 2014.
Meanwhile, India still has an opportunity to retain its number-two position in the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings at the April 1 cut-off date.
At number two, India is the highest ranked side in the ongoing Asia Cup, which also features third-ranked Sri Lanka, sixth-placed Pakistan, Bangladesh in ninth and newly-promoted Afghanistan in 12th position.
The side that finishes on top of the ODI rankings table at the April 1 cut-off date receives a shield and a cheque of US $175,000, while the side that finishes second receives US $75,000.
India held the number-one rank from January 2013, but ceded the top position to Australia after losing the ODI series against New Zealand 0-4 in January 2014.
Australia is assured of the number-one ranking on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings on the April 1 cut-off date, with 117 ratings points, and will receive the ODI shield as well as a cheque of US $175,000 for finishing atop.
Even if India wins all of its remaining matches in the Asia Cup, including the final, it will gain two ratings points and move to 115. Therefore, India can, at best, hope to retain its number-two position at the end of the Asia Cup, but its position will be challenged by Sri Lanka.
Image: Afghanistan's Samiullah Shenwari (left) and wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad celebrate the dismissal of Bangladesh's Nasir Hossain in the Asia Cup match on Saturday.
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters