Chance for New Zealand-Pakistan to top ICC T20I rankings

SportsChance for New Zealand-Pakistan to top ICC T20I rankings

KARACHI, Pakistan: New Zealand and Pakistan will have an opportunity to achieve number-one T20I ranking for the first time when they lock horns in the three-match series in Auckland on January 15, International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Monday.

New Zealand, following its 2-0 win over Sri Lanka, has joined Pakistan on 114 points.

The side which wins all the three matches in the forthcoming series will move ahead of the West Indies in number-one spot, and the losing side will drop to eighth position.

The side that wins the series 2-1 will leapfrog South Africa into fifth position.

Afghanistan, which won its two-match series against Zimbabwe in Sharjah on Sunday, is now sitting on 80 points in ninth position after gaining three points. Zimbabwe, in contrast, has stayed in 14th position but has slipped to 50 points after conceding three points.

The ICC T20I Championship table is extremely tight with only eight points separating the top eight sides. With a number of Twenty20 Internationals to be played in the lead up to the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, there is likely to be plenty of reshuffling at the top of the order.

Meanwhile, there has been plenty of movement in the ICC T20I Player Rankings following the conclusion of the New Zealand-Sri Lanka and Afghanistan-Zimbabwe series.

The biggest movers in the latest rankings are Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper/batsman Mohammad Shahzad and fast bowler Dawlat Zadran.

The two players have broken into the top 10 of the ICC T20I Player Rankings. For Shahzad it’s the first time in his career.

The opening batsman has jumped 12 places to eighth position after scoring 151 runs in two matches against Zimbabwe including a 67-ball 118 not out in the second match. This is the highest T20I score ever by a batsman from an Associate Member and fourth overall.

Dawlat has squeezed his way into the top 10 of the ICC Player Rankings for T20I Bowlers, for a career-best eighth spot. This after Zadran took five wickets in the series, the highest by any bowler from either team, which has helped him move him up by six places. The medium-pace bowler bettering his previous best ranking of 10th achieved last year in Zimbabwe after a similar 2-0 series victory over the hosts.

Muhammad Nabi and Hamza Hotak have also benefitted from the series. Nabi has moved up five places to 20th, while Hamza has vaulted 43 places to 38th position.

There is some good news for Zimbabwe as well, whose Graeme Cremer has achieved a career-high ranking of 14th. Cremer has gained six places after taking four wickets against Afghanistan.

Over in New Zealand, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have stolen top honors.

Guptill, who broke his side’s record for fastest T20I half-century in the second match, has risen five places to fifth, while Munro, who improved Guptill’s record a few overs later in the same match has gained 28 places and is now in 66th spot.

Other batsmen to improve their rankings include Kane Williamson in 11th (up by three places), Angelo Mathews in 30th (up by eight places) and Ross Taylor in 41st (up by two places).

The batsmen’s list is headed by Australia’s Aaron Finch, followed by Virat Kohli of India and England’s Alex Hales.

The New Zealand bowlers to move up the order included Adam Milne, who has climbed four places to 36th in the latest rankings.

Samuel Badree of the West Indies is the number-one ranked bowler but India’s Ravichandran Ashwin has benefitted from Sachithra Senanayake and the injured Lasith Malinga’s slide to move into second position.

In the ICC Player Rankings for T20I All-rounders, Angelo Mathews has achieved a career-best fifth position. The list is headed by Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan.

ICC T20I team ranking (as on 11 January)

RANK TEAM                  POINTS

1          West Indies      118

2          Australia        118

3          Sri Lanka        118

4          England          117

5          South Africa     115

6          Pakistan          114

7          New Zealand       114

8          India             110

9          Afghanistan        80

10        Bangladesh          69

11        Scotland            66

12        Hong Kong           61

13        Netherlands         61

14        Zimbabwe            50

15        Ireland             42

Source: APP
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