Dubai September 18 2023: The race to be the No.1 ranked ODI side at the start of ICC Men's Cricket World Cup intensifies over the next few days as the Asia Cup comes to an end and two of the top three teams go head to head in a bilateral series.
Pakistan hold onto the No.1 spot at the end of Asia Cup 2023 despite their early exit and India's thumping win over Sri Lanka in the final. Australia too squandered their chance to go on top of the rankings after the series loss to South Africa.
Aussies were 2-0 ahead in the series before the hosts launched an impressive comeback and won three back-to-back games to complete a series victory on Sunday.
The loss to Bangladesh ahead of the final hurt India's chances of going to the top of the rankings and even a record-breaking win, sealed in just over six overs, against Sri Lanka did not see them climb to the top.
We take a look at the fixtures each side will play ahead of the start of the World Cup on October 5.
Current ranking: Third
Current rating: 113
Upcoming fixtures: India (September 22, September 24, September 27)
Australia are no longer in the box seat to be the No.1 ranked side at the start of the World Cup after the series loss to South Africa. They will need to whitewash India in the series to go into the World Cup as the No.1 ranked team.
However, if Australia start the series with two wins, they will go on top of the rankings until the final ODI at least.
Australia's three-match series in India at the end of this month will then have a major say in who has the top ranking at the start of the World Cup.
Current ranking: Second
Current rating: 115 (114.659)
Upcoming fixtures: Australia (September 22, September 24, September 27)
India are in prime position to go to the top of the rankings if they can register a series win over Australia at home in the series starting on September 22. In fact, a win in the first ODI will see India upstage Pakistan to become the No.1 ranked team across all three formats of the game.
Rohit Sharma's side are coming off a spectacular Asia Cup win and they could reach the No.1 position as early as Friday next week by defeating Australia in the first ODI in Mohali.
In a similar vein to Australia, India's upcoming three-match series against Pat Cummins' side may prove pivotal in deciding which team heads into the World Cup with the No.1 ranking.
If India avoid a whitewash but still lose the series to Australia, Pakistan will remain the top-ranked side for the World Cup. Conversely, a 3-0 loss to Australia will see India slip to third position and Australia go on top.
Current ranking: First
Current rating: 115 (114.889)
Upcoming fixtures: No matches prior to World Cup
Pakistan's chances of obtaining the No.1 ranking at the start of the World Cup took a massive dent when they lost their final Super Four match at the Asia Cup to Sri Lanka.
With no official ODI matches scheduled for Pakistan prior to the start of the World Cup, their hopes of entering the tournament with the No.1 ranking will depend on how the India-Australia series goes.
They could still regain the top ranking if Australia and India continue to lose, but the fact these two teams are scheduled to play each other at the end of the month means one of them would then re-claim the premier position.