World Champions Australia go head-to-head with former World Cup-winners India in a five-match One-Day International (ODI) series in Perth on Tuesday with their No.1 ranking on the line in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.
Australia (127 points) lead second-ranked India (114) by 13 points and even if they lose all five matches of the series, Australia will drop points but will still finish a point ahead of India.
In contrast, if India lose all the matches, they will slip behind South Africa and will join fourth-ranked New Zealand on 111 points, but will be ranked third when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point. To retain their second place, the 1983 and 2011 World Champions need to win at least one match of the series.
Meanwhile, in the players rankings, India boast three batsmen inside the top-10 while Australia only have Glenn Maxwell in the 10th position.
Virat Kohli is the highest-ranked batsman from either side in second. He trails No.1 ranked AB de Villiers of South Africa by 96 points but is ahead of another South African, Hashim Amla, by 28.
This means the India Test captain will be aiming to produce solid performances not only to consolidate his position but also to narrow the gap to de Villiers.
Sixth-ranked Mahendra Singh Dhoni and seventh-ranked Shikhar Dhawan are separated by just 11 points, which means there can potentially be some changes in the middle of the pack depending on how these two perform.
Batsmen sitting outside the top-10 and aiming for upward movement include Rohit Sharma (13th), Aaron Finch (14th), George Bailey (15th), Steven Smith (20th), David Warner (23rd), Ajinkya Rahane (28th) and James Faulkner (30th).
In the list of bowlers, India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will start as the highest-ranked bowler from either side in the absence of No.1 ranked Mitchell Starc.
Ashwin, who is No.1 in Tests, is in 10th position and will be aiming to return to the top-five. However, to make it happen, he will have to produce exceptional performances as he trails South Africa’s fifth-ranked Dale Steyn by 42 points.
India fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the next highest-ranked bowler to feature in the series in 14th position and 43 points behind Ashwin. Other bowlers aiming for upward movement include Faulkner (22nd), Ravindra Jadeja (25th), Axar Patel (30th) and Umesh Yadav (37th).