Wednesday, September 27, 2023

ODI rankings and what does it mean for Pakistan, India ahead of World Cup 2023

Green Shirts trail behind the Men in Blue who are ranked as no.1 ODI men's side

Indias captain Rohit Sharma (left) and Pakistans skipper Babar Azam. — AFP/File
India's captain Rohit Sharma (left) and Pakistan's skipper Babar Azam. — AFP/File

The International Cricket Council (ICC) one-day international (ODI) rankings present an interesting scenario with regard to Pakistan and India and their chances in the upcoming Cricket World Cup 2023 set to commence on October 5 in India's Ahmedabad.

The arch-rivals are ranked as the top two ODI sides in the world with India topping the chart with a rating of 117, whereas Pakistan trails behind at the second spot with 115 rating.

India have been performing considerably well in the 50-over format which is reflected in their record as the Men in Blue have only lost four matches in their last 20 ODI encounters and will be entering the World Cup as the top-ranked side.

The Rohit Sharma-led team recently clinched the Asia Cup 2023 after battering Sri Lanka in the event’s final as the entire Lankan side was all out for 50 runs, courtesy of Mohammad Siraj’s breathtaking spell that saw him taking six wickets.

On the other hand, Pakistan became the number one ODI team for the first time in the ICC rankings during their home series against New Zealand in May. However, following their poor performance in the Asia Cup, they were demoted to second place but the difference between the arch-rivals isn’t big as the Green Shirts are ranked number two with 115 ratings, two less than India.

When we look at the rankings historically from the World Cup perspective, this could provide hope for both teams as the mega event since 1999, has been won by the top two sides in the ICC rankings.

Starting with Australia’s triumph in 1999, the Kangaroos were ranked second when they beat Pakistan in the final. During their next two World Cup wins in 2003 and 2007, they occupied the first place.

In 2011, when India clinched their second World Cup, they were ranked number two. Australia in 2015 and England in 2019 were ranked number one as they claimed the mega event.

Another interesting thing that India would be happy with is that, since 2011 the World Cup has been won by the host country.

India in 2011, Australia in 2015 and England in 2019, were all playing on their home soil when they conquered Sri Lanka, New Zealand and New Zealand respectively in the final.

However, only once has the top-ranked team failed to make it to the knockout stage with Australia missing out on the semi-finals in 1992, the World Cup that Imran Khan-led Pakistan won.

Given their form and the history of being the top-ranked teams in the World Cup, India are the absolute favourite for the World Cup but with England, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and others all maintaining excellent forms and playing at an extremely high level, it will be interesting to see in which direction this mega event goes.