Dubai: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 finalists Australia and New Zealand have retained the top two positions on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings following the annual update. Results from 2012-13 have been dropped, while results from 2014-15 have been reduced to a weighting of 50 per cent.
Australia, which won its fifth World Cup title in Melbourne last year, is now sitting on 124 points after dropping two points to lead New Zealand by 11 points.
South Africa has swapped places with India to move into third position, while the West Indies has exchanged places with Pakistan to push the 1992 World Cup winners out of the top eight.
Other sides to gain following the annual update include sixth-ranked England (103, up two), seventh-ranked Bangladesh (98, up one), eighth-ranked West Indies (88, up two), 10th-ranked Afghanistan (51, up four) and 11th-ranked Zimbabwe (47, up two).
A significant date on the ICC events calendar is 30 September 2017, which is the rankings cut-off date for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The host, England, and the seven next highest-ranked sides on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings on 30 September 2017 will qualify directly for cricket’s biggest event, while the bottom four ODI ranked sides will join the top sides from the ICC World Cricket League in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 to fight for the two remaining positions.
Although there will be another ODI team rankings annual update prior to this cut-off date, it is significant that from now on the results of all ODIs that will affect qualification will be weighted at 100 per cent whereas matches played between May 2014 and April 2016 will by then be weighted at only 50 per cent.
All the teams bunched together in the middle of the table will have to win as many matches as possible in the forthcoming season, knowing it will help ensure direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, which will be staged from 30 May to 15 July in the United Kingdom.
The latest Future Tours Programme lists the following ODI series until September 2016:
Sri Lanka (104) vs Ireland (away, two ODIs, June)
vs England (away, five ODIs, June)
Bangladesh (98) No ODIs scheduled
West Indies (88) Tri-series vs Australia and South Africa (home, June)
Pakistan (87) vs Ireland (away, two ODIs, August)
vs England (away, five ODIs, August)
Zimbabwe (47) vs India (home, three ODIs June)
MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings (following annual update)
Rank* Team Points*
1(-) Australia 124(-2)
2(-) New Zealand 113(-1)
3(+1) South Africa 112(-)
4(-1) India 109(-4)
5(-) Sri Lanka 104(-)
6(-) England 103(+2)
7(-) Bangladesh 98(+1)
8(+1) West Indies 88(+2)
9(-1) Pakistan 87(-)
10(-) Afghanistan 51(+4)
11(+1) Zimbabwe 47(+2)
12(-1) Ireland 42(-4)