Dubai May 04, 2023: In-form Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman has become Babar Azam's closest rankings challenger after he was rewarded for his recent dominance with massive gains on the latest MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Batting Rankings.
Fakhar has commenced Pakistan's ongoing ODI series at home against New Zealand in a blaze of glory, with the 33-year-old scoring back-to-back centuries to put his side in control of the five-match series.
The left-hander scored 117 in the series opener in Rawalpindi and then backed it up with a magnificent 180* in the second match at the same venue and was duly rewarded with an eight-spot jump to second behind Babar on the latest rankings update.
Fakhar has scored three ODI centuries on the bounce and rises to a career-best rating of 784 rating points and is now the closest challenger to his skipper despite trailing by 103 rating points.
It means Pakistan now have three players in the top five on the latest ODI batting charts ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup later this year, with Imam-ul-Haq remaining in fifth place behind his two teammates and South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen and India's Shubman Gill.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Domination 💥<br><br>Fakhar Zaman adds another entry to the list of highest scores for Pakistan in ODIs 💪<br><br>The records that fell during the second <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PAKvNZ?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PAKvNZ</a> game ➡ <a href="https://t.co/LKKmfFjVag">https://t.co/LKKmfFjVag</a> <a href="https://t.co/KQPyzNWMCh">pic.twitter.com/KQPyzNWMCh</a></p>— ICC (@ICC) <a href="https://twitter.com/ICC/status/1652681868234432512?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 30, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
New Zealand's stars didn't miss out completely, with Tom Latham and Daryl Mitchell the big winners following their good starts to the series in Pakistan.
Latham hit 98 in the second match of the series and moves up three places to equal 29th, while Mitchell scored a brilliant 129 in the same contest to rise from outside the top 100 to 57th on the ODI batting rankings.
There was a slight re-shuffle behind top-ranked Australian Josh Hazlewood inside the top 10 of the ODI rankings for bowlers, while experienced Oman captain Zeeshan Maqsood jumped three places to fifth overall on the list for ODI all-rounders following his four-wicket haul and steady knock of 40 against the UAE in Mulpani.
A host of Sri Lanka players also made some ground on the latest Test rankings, following their impressive series sweep over Ireland in Galle.
Left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya was the big winner on the rankings for bowlers, with the 31-year-old improving six spots to 13th on the back of his seven-wicket haul during the second Test.
Teammate Ramesh Mendis collected six wickets from the same Test and moved up 10 places to 22nd as a result, while experienced duo Angelo Mathews (up one spot to 22nd) and Kusal Mendis (up three places to 39th) improved up the rankings for batters after reaching three figures during the match.