Series whitewash leads Pakistan to the top of ODI rankings
After a brief sojourn with the pole position in May, a series whitewash over Afghanistan helped Pakistan return to the No. 1 spot in the Men’s ODI Rankings.
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 won the third ODI against Afghanistan by a margin of 59 runs 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.
The Asian side has dominated the ODI format over the last year. In the 2022 season, 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.
With the upcoming Asia Cup and other ODI contests in the build up to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, there remains room for movement among the top three: Pakistan, Australia and India.