Pakistan’s chances of qualifying directly for the 2019 World Cup have taken a massive blow after their 1-4 loss to Australia in the recently concluded five-match ODI series. Before the start, they were on 89 points.
After the Australia series, they remain in eighth spot with the same number of points. With West Indies on 87 points and in ninth position, the upcoming series between West Indies and Pakistan in the Caribbean in March assumes even greater importance.
The cut-off date for direct qualification for the World Cup is September 30, 2017. The top eight teams will secure a direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup while the bottom four will be joined by six teams from the ICC World Cricket League in the 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2018. The top two sides will complete the 10-team World Cup line-up.
Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood soar among bowlers
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have been Australia’s go-to bowlers. The left-armer, who was the leading wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup with 22 wickets, picked up nine wickets in four games against Pakistan. His haul of 4/42 was the difference in Adelaide as Australia won the match by 57 runs to seal the series.
Consistent returns have helped Starc climb to second spot in the ODI rankings, just behind New Zealand’s Trent Boult. Hazlewood, who picked up seven wickets in four games at an average of 27.92, has moved to a career-high fifth in the rankings. No Indian bowler features in the top 10, with Axar Patel the best in 12th spot followed by Amit Mishra in 14th.
David Warner leaves Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers behind
David Warner has been in sublime form in ODIs in 2016/17. In the fifth ODI against Pakistan in Adelaide, the aggressive left-hander achieved his highest individual score of 179. With 386, 299 and 367 runs in the series against South Africa, New Zealand and Pakistan, respectively, Warner has leapfrogged the likes of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli to be the king of the mountain in ODIs.
For the first time in his career, Warner has occupied the top spot in ODIs with 880 points, ahead of de Villiers and Kohli. The ICC tweeted about the achievement.
Speaking about this achievement, the Australian batsman said, “I am hoping I can take my good form into the Champions Trophy and help Australia lift the trophy for the third time. My job is to put our team into winning positions and I have been fortunate that I have been able to do that lately.”
In the last 11 ODIs, Warner has smashed six centuries. His run of scores in that period has been 117, 6, 173, 24, 119, 156, 7, 16, 35, 130 and 179.
Australia’s next ODI assignment before the Champions Trophy will be the three-match Chappell-Hadlee series against New Zealand but Warner will be rested for this series as he prepares for the four Test matches against India.
With India not playing ODIs until the Champions Trophy in June, it looks like Kohli will not occupy the top spot for some time. However, there is a chance for de Villiers to stake a claim for the No.1 ranking should he do well for South Africa in the upcoming five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka starting on January 28.