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South Africa, Australia retain top two positions

South Africa and Australia have retained the top two positions on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings following the 1 May annual update, but eighth-ranked Pakistan has opened up a nine-point advantage over ninth-ranked the West Indies, which can prove decisive since England plus the next seven highest-ranked sides as on 30 September 2017 will qualify automatically for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

The annual update is carried out to ensure the table continues to reflect teams’ recent form with older results being discarded. As such, the table now reflects all matches from 1 May 2014, with matches played from 1 May 2016 carrying 100 per cent weighting.

Both Pakistan and ninth-ranked West Indies have dropped points following the update – Pakistan slipping from 90 points to 88 points and the West Indies sliding from 83 points to 79 points. However, Pakistan’s pre-update seven-point gap has extended to nine points.

Seventh-ranked Bangladesh and sixth-ranked Sri Lanka have also conceded points.

Bangladesh has surrendered one point and is now on 91 points, but its gap over eighth-ranked Pakistan has increased from two points to three. Sri Lanka, which was sitting pretty on 98 points prior to the annual update, has slid to 93 points to now lead Bangladesh by only two points. However, Sri Lanka leads the West Indies by 14 points.

Meanwhile, number-one ranked South Africa has gained four points following the annual update and is now on 123 points, while world champion and second-ranked Australia has stayed on 118 points.

India, which will defend the ICC Champions Trophy title in the UK in June, has swapped places with ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 finalist New Zealand. Both the sides have gained points following the update but India’s five-point gain against New Zealand’s increase of three means India is now ranked third on 117 points and New Zealand is fourth on 115 points.

England, which will host the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, has retained its fifth ranking but has moved up one point to 109.

There is no change to 10th-ranked Afghanistan’s tally of 52 points, but 11th-ranked Zimbabwe has dropped two points and is now on 46 points. Ireland has gained one point and is on 43 points.

The small difference in points in the middle of the table adds a lot of context, entertainment and excitement to the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy and other matches up to 30 September since performances during this period could help sides to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 rather than having to progress through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018.

MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on 1 May, following the annual update)

Rank    Team               Points

1.     South Africa      123 (+4)

2.     Australia           118 (-)

3.     India                 117 (+5)

4.     New Zealand     115 (+2)

5.     England            109 (+1)

6.     Sri Lanka          93 (-5)

7.     Bangladesh       91 (-1)

8.     Pakistan           88 (-2)

9.     West Indies       79 (-4)

10.  Afghanistan       52 (-)

11.  Zimbabwe         46 (-2)

12.  Ireland              43 (+1)

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