Pakistan go top of T20 rankings, but NZ may regain status by year end

Source: Published in Sports on Thursday, November 9, 2017

KARACHI: Despite not playing their traditional rivals in a bilateral series for the past few years, India indirectly helped Pakistan regain No.1 spot in the ICC T20 team rankings after Virat Kohli’s men sealed a 2-1 series victory over New Zealand in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday night.

Pakistan moved to the top ranking briefly when India won the first game against the Black Caps in Delhi on Nov 1 but Kane Williamson’s side regained their top status in the rankings by seizing the second match in Rajkot three days later and needed to win the decider to keep Pakistan in second place.

New Zealand are now second in the standings with 120 points after slipping from 125 points before the start of the India tour. Sarfraz Ahmed’s charges lead the table with 124 points.

World champions West Indies, who have the same rating points as New Zealand, are third on decimal points with India remaining fifth despite having the same number of points — 119 — as England who are above them by a fraction.

With Pakistan’s planned series of three T20 Internationals against West Indies not materialising this month due to logistics issues and poor weather conditions in Lahore where the games were scheduled to be staged, the world rankings would remain the same for the next six weeks.

The next series of the shortest format will start on Dec 20 when India host eighth-ranked Sri Lanka in three fixtures at Cuttack, Indore and Mumbai.

While Pakistan will hold on to the No. 1 position, India would get an opportunity to jump into second spot if they sweep the Sri Lanka series 3-0, a scenario that would raise their points tally to 121.

New Zealand, who are Pakistan’s hosts in January, are poised to head into the three-match series against Sarfraz-led team on top of the ICC rankings if they succeed in winning the first two of three games scheduled against the West Indies.

That would put them two points ahead of Pakistan and if the Black Caps complete a 3-0 whitewash they will have 128 points before the start of the series against Pakistan, who are scheduled to play at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on Jan 22, Auckland on Jan 25 and Mount Maunganui on Jan 28.

Pakistan then will have to beat the New Zealanders to reclaim the top ranking. A 2-1 win would put Pakistan, who will then have 126 points, in front by just a single point, while a 3-0 Pakistan victory would then open a big nine-point gap as they would have garnered as many as 130 points against New Zealand’s 121.

Other rankings won’t change much because the teams lying in the middle of the table do not have sufficient points to challenge the top three-ranked teams.

ICC T20 team rankings as on Nov 7
(Tabulated under: teams, matches, points, rating):

Pakistan 23 2,843 124
New Zealand 16 1,920 120
West Indies 20 2,395 120
England 17 2,029 119
India 25 2,965 119
South Africa 20 2,238 112
Australia 15 1,665 111
Sri Lanka 24 2,177 91
Afghanistan 25 2,157 86
Bangladesh 17 1,289 76
Scotland 11 737 67
Zimbabwe 13 842 65
UAE 16 827 52
Netherlands 9 441 49
Hong Kong 13 599 46
Papua New Guinea 6 235 39
Oman 9 345 38
Ireland 15 534 36