England leapfrogs Pakistan in ODI Championship table

England has moved ahead of Pakistan in fifth place on the ICC ODI Championship table after beating Pakistan by 4-0 in the four-match ODI series which ended in Dubai on Tuesday.

England wrapped up the ODI series by beating Pakistan by five wickets in the last ODI in Dubai after having won the earlier matches by 130 runs, 20 runs (both in Abu Dhabi) and nine wickets (in the third in Dubai).

For this superb achievement, England has earned five ratings points which has put it on 111 ratings points while Pakistan has dropped to 104 ratings points after conceding five ratings points.

It is also the first time since 1987-88 when England has won all the matches of an ODI series against Pakistan.

Nearly 25 years ago in Pakistan, Mike Gatting’s side had defeated Abdul Qadir’s men 3-0 in a three-match series. England, in the series which was played immediately after the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987, won matches in Lahore (by two wickets), Karachi (by 23 runs) and Peshawar (by 98 runs).

England, after blanking out Pakistan, now has fourth-ranked Sri Lanka firmly within its sights. Sri Lanka is two ratings points ahead of England with a minimum of three matches remaining in the three-nation tournament Down Under where the other participating sides are host Australia and India.

Sri Lanka, also on Tuesday, moved to 113 ratings points after defeating India by 51 runs in Brisbane while India slipped to join South Africa on 116 ratings points. However, India is still ranked above South Africa in second place when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.

Australia, which has three wins from five matches in the three-nation tournament, had entered the series in number-one position on 130 ratings points and now sits on 129 ratings points but still enjoys a commanding lead over India and South Africa.

Australia is now clear favourite to finish at the top of the tree on the 1 April cut-off date. And if it achieves this, then it will receive a cheque of US$175,000 which is presented annually to the side which tops the ICC ODI Championship table at the cut-off date.

It will be the third successive year that Australia will finish as the number-one ranked ODI side at the cut-off date. It also won top honours from 2002 to 2007 before its winning streak was halted by South Africa which topped the table in 2008 and 2009.

The battle for the number-two position, however, remains tight as only three ratings points separate second-ranked India and third placed South Africa from fourth-ranked Sri Lanka. The side which finishes second on the 1 April cut-off date receives US$75,000.

Besides the series in Australia and New Zealand (between New Zealand and South Africa), the other series which will finish before the cut-off date is the Asia Cup in Dhaka in March which will feature Sri Lanka and India, besides Pakistan and host Bangladesh.

South Africa, which is in contention to finish as the number-one ranked Test side at the cut-off date if it defeats New Zealand in all the three Tests in March, has an opportunity to strengthen its chances to finish as the number-two ranked side on the ODI table at the cut-off date when it goes head to head with New Zealand in a three-match series which starts on Saturday in Wellington.

If the Proteas win all the three ODIs, they will rise to 118 ratings points but if the series result is reversed, then South Africa will plunge to 109 ratings points while New Zealand will rise to 95 ratings points after earning seven ratings points.

A 2-1 series win will mean South Africa will slip to 115 ratings points while New Zealand will move to 89 ratings points.

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