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Pakistan are World No 1 in ODIs

By Rediff Cricket
Last updated on: August 27, 2023 11:29 IST
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Pakistan beat Afghanistan in the 3rd ODI to claim the series 3-0 and go atop the rankings

IMAGE: Pakistan beat Afghanistan in the 3rd ODI to claim the series 3-0 and go atop the rankings. Photograph: ICC/Twitter

A huge confidence booster was injected into the Pakistan cricket team ahead of the Asia Cup as they recorded a 3-0 series sweep over Afghanistan to become the World No 1 ODI squad.

Pakistan were briefly the top-ranked squad in May, before Australia reclaimed the top spot. Now, a series whitewash over Afghanistan helped Pakistan return to the No. 1 spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Rankings.


Speaking to media persons after leading his team to the top of the ODI rankings, the Pakistan skipper said: "We are excited going into the Asia Cup. The manner of our series victory over Afghanistan will serve us well in the tournament. It wasn't as easy against Afghanistan as some people think. Everyone is aware of their spin prowess. The momentum we gained in this series will give us confidence in the Asia Cup. We are hopeful of producing good cricket for our fans," Babar told PCB Digital.

"When you achieve the number 1 position, it gives you a lot of joy and satisfaction. This is the result of the efforts that the entire squad, including the support staff, put in," Babar added.

Going into the third game, Pakistan led the series 2-0. They had won the first ODI by 142 runs at the back of a brilliant bowling display. The second game was a nail-biting thriller, with the Men in Green eking out a win in the last over of the game with one wicket in hand.

Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 59 runs to win the third ODI at the Premadasa Stadium and claim the series. After a solid second half of the innings with the bat, despite a stutter in the middle with the bat, Pakistan finished strong on a slow pitch, making 268 with Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam scoring half-centuries.

In reply, Faheem Ashraf snared two early on before the spinners struck at regular intervals to keep Afghanistan in check. Mujeeb ur Rahman fought back with a 26-ball half-century, but Pakistan eventually had too much on board for Afghanistan to win.

Shadab finished with three wickets to his name as Pakistan completed a whitewash.

Zaka Ashraf, chairman of the PCB Management Committee, voiced his delight over Pakistan taking the top spot in the ODI rankings.

"This achievement reflects the hard work, dedication, and unity exhibited by our talented players and their unwavering focus on excellence. It is a proud moment for all of us as the Pakistan cricket team reclaim the top spot in the ODI rankings," Ashraf said.

"I also want to congratulate and laud the efforts of the entire squad, coaching staff, and support personnel for their collective commitment to raising the flag of Pakistan high in the world of cricket," Ashraf added.

Pakistan has dominated the ODI format over the last year. In 2022, they whitewashed West Indies and Netherlands 3-0 at home and away respectively. They followed this up with a 2-1 series win over New Zealand at home in January 2023.

The Blackcaps then returned for a five-game ODI contest in April. Pakistan managed to win the series 4-1. Now the 3-0 series win has helped them to the No. 1 spot in the rankings.

Prior to the Afghanistan series, Australia were at the top of the ranking tables with 118 rating points while Pakistan were placed second with 115.8 rating points. Now Pakistan sit atop with 118.48 rating points while Australia are at the second rank with no change to their points.

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