The fight to be the top-ranked ODI side at the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2023 is heating up nicely after the Asia Cup concluded. In the coming days, India and Australia, two of the top three sides will compete in a 3-ODI bilateral series starting from September 22.
At the end of the Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan remained the no.1 ranked ODI side despite losing to India and Sri Lanka in the Super 4s stage of the tournament and getting eliminated from the race for the final.
Australia, meanwhile, failed to remain in the top spot after losing the 4th and 5th ODIs to South Africa and losing the five-match series 2-3. On the other hand, India lost to Bangladesh in an inconsequential Asia Cup tie, which affected their chances of reaching the top of the rankings, and even a record-breaking triumph against Sri Lanka in just over six overs did not propel them to the top.
Here is how many matches each of the three teams will play before the ICC World Cup 2023 begins on October 5.
Current Ranking- 3; Current rating points: 113
Upcoming ODI fixtures: India (September 22, September 24, September 27)
Australia are no longer guaranteed the top spot in ICC ODI team rankings before the start of the World Cup after their series loss to South Africa. To enter the ICC event as the no.1 ranked ODI team, Australia will have to defeat India 3-0 in the upcoming series.
If Australia wins the first two games of the series, they will be ranked first until at least the final ODI. The result of this three-match ODI series will have a significant impact on who is ranked first at the start of the World Cup.
Current ranking: 2; Current rating points: 115 (114.659)
Upcoming ODI fixtures: against Australia (September 22, September 24, September 27)
The Asia Cup 2023 champions India will have a strong chance of going into the ICC World Cup 2023 at home as the no.1 ranked ODI team. If India wins the first ODI, it will overtake Pakistan as the top-ranked team in all three forms.
India's forthcoming three-match series against Pat Cummins' side might be decisive in determining which team enters the World Cup as the top-ranked squad. If India avoids a whitewash but loses the series to Australia, Pakistan will be the top-ranked team heading into the World Cup.
A 3-0 loss to Australia will see India slip to third position and Australia go on top.
Current ranking: 1; Current rating: 115 (114.889)
Pakistan's chances of being ranked first at the outset of the World Cup were severely harmed after they lost their final Super Four match at the Asia Cup to Sri Lanka. Unlike India and Australia, Pakistan does not have any more ODI matches left to play before their ICC World Cup 2023 tournament opener on October 6 against the Netherlands in Hyderabad.
For Pakistan to enter the World Cup as the no.1 ranked ODI team, they will need to depend on the outcome of the India vs. Australia three-match series which begins on September 22.