New Delhi: The fight to be the top-ranked ODI side at the start of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup heats up in the coming days as the Asia Cup concluded and India, Australia, two of the top three sides will compete in a bilateral series starting from September 22.
Despite their early elimination and India's overwhelming triumph over Sri Lanka in the final, Pakistan stayed No. 1 at the end of the Asia Cup 2023. Australia, too, missed their chance to top the rankings with their series loss to South Africa.
The Aussies led the series 2-0 before the hosts launched a remarkable comeback and won three straight games to secure a series victory on Sunday.
The loss to Bangladesh prior to the final harmed India's chances of reaching the top of the rankings, and even a record-breaking triumph against Sri Lanka in just over six overs did not propel them to the top.
Let us have a look at the matches that each team will play before the World Cup begins on October 5.
Current ranking: Third
Current rating points: 113
Upcoming fixtures: India (September 22, September 24, September 27)
Following the series loss to South Africa, Australia is no longer guaranteed to be the top-ranked team before the start of the World Cup. They will need to sweep India in order to enter the World Cup as the top-ranked team, as per ICC.
However, if Australia wins the first two games of the series, they will be ranked first until at least the final ODI.
Australia's three-match series in India at the end of this month will have a significant impact on who is ranked first at the start of the World Cup.
Current ranking: Second
Current rating points: 115 (114.659)
Upcoming fixtures: against Australia (September 22, September 24, September 27)
India is in a strong position to surpass Australia in the series, which begins on September 22. In fact, if India wins the first ODI, it will overtake Pakistan as the top-ranked team in all three forms.
Rohit Sharma's team is coming off a fantastic Asia Cup victory, and if they defeat Australia in the first ODI in Mohali on Friday next week, they may be in first place as early as Friday next week.
In a similar vein to Australia, India's forthcoming three-match series against Pat Cummins' side might be decisive in determining which team enters the World Cup as the top-ranked squad.
If India avoids a whitewash but loses the series to Australia, Pakistan will be the top-ranked team heading into 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 the World Cup
Pakistan's chances of being ranked first at the outset of the World Cup were severely harmed after they lost their final Super Four match at the Asia Cup to Sri Lanka.
With no official ODI matches scheduled before the World Cup, Pakistan's hopes of entering the tournament as the top-ranked team will be dependent on the outcome of the India-Australia series. (ANI)