Karachi May 5 2023; After taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series against New Zealand, Pakistan are within touching distance of the top spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings.
Pakistan have dominated the series, chasing challenging totals in the first two ODIs and then defending a similar target in the third game.
After opting to bowl in the first ODI, Pakistan were set a tricky target of 289, which they chased comfortably with the help of Fakhar Zaman’s century and useful contributions from Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam.
In the next match, they had a monumental task of chasing down 337, but the unflappable Fakhar was at it again with another huge hundred, this time with the aid of Babar and Mohammad Rizwan.
Pakistan’s strength has been their top order, which once again delivered in the third match, posting 287/6 in Karachi and then defended the total, bowling out the visitors for 261 in under 50 overs.
Pakistan were fifth on the ODI rankings before the series started with a rating of 106 but now have jumped to the third with a fantastic performance at home. Meanwhile, New Zealand, who were second, have slipped down to the fifth spot.
Currently, on the third spot with a rating of 112, Pakistan are only marginally behind Australia (113.286) and India (112.638). Should they win the fourth ODI today, they will go to the top with a rating of 113.483, with Australia dropping to No.2 and India to No.3.
However, to remain on top, Pakistan will have to ensure a clean sweep, winning the fifth and final ODI on Sunday, 7 May. A loss in the final ODI will see them slipping back to No.3 and Australia reclaiming their No.1 ranking.
Pakistan will also remain on top if they win the fourth ODI and the fifth match is abandoned or yields a no-result.
With three back-to-back losses, New Zealand’s chances have taken a hit and they are out of the race for the top spot. Currently at No.5 with 108 rating, the highest position the Black Caps can reach is No.3 if they manage to win the last two ODIs.