Bangladesh 8th, above Pakistan
The Bangladesh cricket fraternity suddenly embraced the good news yesterday that Bangladesh had jumped above Pakistan to the eighth position as per the International Cricket Council's (ICC) latest ODI rankings following their 3-0 whitewash against Pakistan at home.
The new rankings, which have brightened the Tigers chances of playing the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, came as surprise to everybody, including Bangladesh's ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, as ICC had stated on a media release dated April 15: "Bangladesh knows that it cannot move up the table irrespective of the result, but a 3-0 whitewash (against Pakistan) in its favour would see it move to 81 points."
"Really!" a surprised Mashrafe said when he heard the news that Bangladesh had claimed the number eighth rankings.
"What we knew before the series was that there would be no changes to the rankings even if we won the series 3-0. Anyway, if we can continue our good and positive cricket, we will receive more good news like this in the coming days. Now we have to focus on the next home series' against India, South Africa and Australia, and target staying within the top eight spots to qualify for the 2019 World Cup. This is an important first step." said Mashrafe.
The ICC however explained the reasons behind the sudden changes in the rankings.
"An annual update was carried out to ensure the table continues to reflect results from the last three years. As such, results from 2011-12 have been dropped while the results from 2013-14 have been reduced to a weighting of 50 per cent."
World Cup winners Australia have doubled their lead over second-ranked India from six to 12 points following the annual update, while the West Indies, Bangladesh and Pakistan are now locked in a tight struggle for the remaining two slots in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, whose cut-off date is September 30 this year.
The top seven sides in the world, plus hosts England, will compete at the 50-over tournament. Meanwhile, the top eight sides will also compete in the 2019 ICC World Cup to be held in England.
Currently, West Indies and Bangladesh are locked on 88 points in seventh and eighth place, with Pakistan just a point behind. West Indies currently have no ODIs scheduled between now and September 30, leaving them potentially vulnerable to Pakistan, who have eight matches to come -- three at home to Zimbabwe and five in Sri Lanka -- while Bangladesh are scheduled to play three ODIs against India in June, followed by three ODIs against South Africa in July.
New Zealand's run to the final of the World Cup sees them rise to third in the table, while England's miserable tournament has sunk them to sixth place. South Africa are in fourth and Sri Lanka in fifth position.