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Australia's No 1 tag under threat

cricket Updated: Feb 02, 2008 13:19 IST

PTI
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Australia's long reign at the top of the ICC one-day cricket rankings is under threat with South Africa waiting to overtake the world champions if they fail to make the finals of the upcoming tri-series against India and Sri Lanka.

Top eight sides are jostling for positions as seedings cut-off date for ICC Champions Trophy 2008, March 12, approaches.

If the South Africans complete a clean-sweep of the West Indies when they meet for the series finale in Johannesburg on Sunday, they will finish on 127 ratings points on the LG ICC ODI Championship table, just three behind leaders Australia.

The Australians, meanwhile, would get busy with the eagerly awaited ODI tri-series involving Sri Lanka and India.

The series gets underway with Ricky Ponting's men taking on India in the first game in Brisbane tomorrow.

With South Africa breathing down their neck, Australia knows it will have to be at the top of its game to keep the tag of number-one ODI team in the world.

Depending on the various permutations, it is likely that Australia will have to make the final of that tri-series in order to cling on to top spot and even that might not be enough.

With just two ratings points separating New Zealand in third position and India in fourth, the competition is going to be fierce over the coming weeks to see who finishes where ahead of the cut-off date for the determination of seedings at the ICC Champions Trophy 2008.

Wherever the top eight teams sit on that date will dictate the make-up of the two groups for the big event, which takes place in Pakistan in September.