In an eagerly anticipated annual update of the ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings, Australia have successfully defended their top position. The update takes into account matches completed since May 2020 while dropping results from the 2019-20 season.
Close competition between India and Pakistan
Following the update, Australia hold a firm grip on the number one spot with 118 points, a two-point advantage over Pakistan, who sit in second place at 116 points. Notably, Pakistan had briefly seized the top ranking on May 5th, only to slip back behind Australia after losing the final ODI of their thrilling five-match home series against New Zealand. India closely trail Pakistan with 115 points.
It is worth mentioning that Pakistan would have maintained their leading position in the ODI rankings even after the annual update if they had managed to secure a comprehensive 5-0 victory in the series against New Zealand.
As we move further ahead into the year of the World Cup, an enthralling battle looms at the summit of the rankings, with Australia, Pakistan, and India separated by a mere three points. These three teams have established a significant lead over the remaining 17 teams in the 20-team table, showcasing their dominance in the ODI format.
England and New Zealand not far behind
The rankings update also sees certain matches dropping out of consideration, including the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. Consequently, both England and New Zealand, who captivated audiences worldwide with their epic final at Lord’s four years ago, have experienced a slight dip in their points tally.
New Zealand currently occupies the fourth position with 104 points, trailing India by 11 points. They suffered a four-point deduction over the course of the cycle. Meanwhile, England, the defending World Cup champions set to defend their title in India this year, have lost 10 points and currently stand in fifth place with 101 points.
Maintaining their sixth and seventh positions are South Africa and Bangladesh, respectively. However, it is Afghanistan that has made a remarkable surge up the rankings, surpassing former World champions Sri Lanka and the West Indies to seize the eighth spot. Notably, the top eight The teams have earned direct qualification for this year’s World Cup, adding an extra layer of significance to their positions.