While the players will say that they do not think about the rankings because it is an unnecessary source of pressure before and during a match, once Bangladesh rose to number six in the ODI rankings by beating New Zealand on Wednesday, ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza could not help but say that 'it was a very important match for us, we knew that if we won we would go up to sixth'.
It is important not just because it eases their passage to the 2019 World Cup, but also because it is a certificate of their true standing in world cricket as the sixth best team. They usurped Sri Lanka to get to the sixth position, and on the tour of Sri Lanka Bangladesh not only kept pace with their then higher-ranked side but at times the Tigers looked the superior outfit in the Lions' den. Bangladesh first gave notice of their ODI prowess by beating India and South Africa in the 2007 World Cup, but even then wins were upsets.
It was not until they beat New Zealand 4-0 at home in October 2010 that wins became more commonplace. Even then they had to rely on Sri Lanka beating West Indies in February 2011 for the latter to slide down and allow Bangladesh's results before that to lift them to number eight in the world. But since then it has been the Tigers' doing, and it is fitting that they have moved ahead of Sri Lanka on their own steam to rise to number six.