Dubai: Sri Lanka will move up two places to fifth in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship table if it beats Pakistan in all three ODIs coming up in Karachi and Lahore.
According to an ICC media release, Mahela Jayawardena"s team currently lies in seventh position following a tour of mixed results in Bangladesh. In a tri-series that also involved Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka lost one match to the home side but later exacted revenge in what was a thrilling and closely fought final.
The Sri Lankan cricket team is in Karachi for the first ODI that takes place on January 20, knowing that a 3-0 result in the series will ensure it leap-frogs both Shoaib Malik's men and also sixth-placed England.
However, the reverse result would relegate Sri Lanka from its current tally of 105 ratings points to 102 which would still be significantly ahead of eighth-placed West Indies, which has 91 points to its name at present.
Victory for Pakistan in the series will ensure it keeps the pressure on India and a 3-0 win for Shoaib will put his team within one point of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side.
The Bangladesh v Zimbabwe series is underway today (19 January) in Dhaka with the visiting team hoping to move past Ireland into 10th place in the ODI Championship. To do this it needs to win the series 2-1 or 3-0 while a 1-2 defeat will still gain it one ratings point but that would not be enough to overtake the Irish.
Meanwhile, Australia's Nathan Bracken has slipped below Daniel Vettori at the top of the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers after the first two ODIs against South Africa. Kyle Mills has received a similar boost as his captain meaning New Zealand can now boast two bowlers in the top three.
In the two games so far, Bracken has taken one wicket at an average of 87.00 and that was enough to let the Black Caps' skipper back to top spot.
The two left-armed trans-Tasman rivals have been trading places for some weeks now and with three ODIs still remaining in the current series, not to mention five coming up between Australia and New Zealand next month, there is no sign of an end to that yo-yoing just yet.
Mills has benefited from the fact that Muttiah Muralidaran of Sri Lanka and Australia's Mitchell Johnson have fallen back. Murali was not his usual dominant self in Bangladesh, taking four wickets in three matches, while Johnson was not in the Australia ODI squad for the first two matches of the South Africa series.
There is better news, however, for Murali's spin partner Ajantha Mendis. The winner of Emerging Player of the Year 2008 at the LG ICC Awards has taken another leap and broken into the top 20 for the first time in his career.
His seven wickets, taken at an impressive average of 10.85, have gained him nine places in the rankings to joint-16th position, level with West Indies' Daren Powell.
Of course, it was a competitive tri-series for host team Bangladesh as the home side beat Sri Lanka on one occasion and almost did so again in the final.
The main beneficiary of Bangladesh's success was Shakib Al Hasan, who has broken into the top five in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders. The 21-year-old scored 153 runs in the series at an average of 76.50 and a strike-rate of better than a run a ball while also managing to collect five wickets for 69 runs at an average of 13.80 and an economy-rate of just 2.65.
That effort has gained him three places in the all-rounders" list, putting him above Jacques Kallis of South Africa and Pakistan's Shoaib Malik but still behind Jacob Oram of New Zealand in first place and England"s Andrew Flintoff second. He has also moved up 10 places to 34th in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen.
Speaking of the batting rankings, Ricky Ponting has gained one place to sixth in the list while Kallis has gained three places to 13th spot. India"s Sachin Tendulkar is up one place to 11th position.
The news is not so good for Michael Hussey, who drops one place to fourth with Shivnarine Chanderpaul benefiting from his misfortune. Also, Protea Herschelle Gibbs has fallen three places to 18th position.
A notable big mover in the latest batting chart is Australia opener Shaun Marsh, whose innings of 79 and 78 in the first ODIs of the series have earned him 31 places and he now sits in 32nd position, nicely poised for further gains if his impressive form holds.