India eyes South Africa's number-one spot

Published: Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 10:25 [IST]
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India eyes ODI number-one spot

Dubai: India has a chance to claim the number one spot in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship when it turns out for the tri-nation series involving host Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

Sri LankaTri-series-Fixture

The series begins at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo from Tuesday.

India trails number-one ranked South Africa by just one rating point, but if it wins all the three matches (including the final), it will gain two ratings points which will put it in number one position for the first time since the rankings were introduced in October 2002.

However, if India loses one match in the tournament, it will stay on 126 ratings points while defeat in two matches will drop it to 123 ratings points.

There is plenty at stake for Sri Lanka and New Zealand as well in the forthcoming series.

Daniel Vettori's side can narrow the gap with the third-placed side if it finishes unbeaten in the series as in this case it will rise to 119 ratings points. Kumar Sangakkara's side will also gain six ratings points if it makes a clean sweep in front of its own supporters.

Sri Lanka has been a hard team to beat on its home turf. While India leads Sri Lanka 59-42 in head-to-head records, Sri Lanka has won 22 matches and lost 16 to India in the previous 42 encounters between the two sides in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has also dominated New Zealand when playing in its territory, having won 10 out of 16 matches with one no-result. Overall, New Zealand narrowly leads Sri Lanka 34-30.

Meanwhile, England has dropped two places to sixth after slumping to defeat in the opening two ODIs against Australia in London. Australia won the opener at The Oval by four runs and then doubled the lead at Lord's where it won by 39 runs.

As such, Australia has climbed to 123 ratings points after gaining four ratings points while England has slipped from fourth to sixth place.

However, England can still move ahead of Australia if it wins the remaining five matches in the series. On the other side of the coin, if Australia maintains its winning spree and claims the series 7-0 it will jump to128 ratings points while England will slide to 101 ratings points.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Player Rankings for ODI batsmen, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and vice-captain Yuvraj Singh renew their battle for the number-one spot. At present, Dhoni leads Yuvraj but the rankings can be reversed if Dhoni struggles and Yuvraj shines with the bat.

Besides Dhoni and Yuvraj, India boasts two more batsmen inside the top 20. Little master Sachin Tendulkar occupies 12th position with a place in the top 10 well within his sights while opener Gautam Gambhir shares 17th spot with New Zealand's Ross Taylor.

Sangakkara is the only Sri Lanka batsman inside the top 20, sitting just outside the top 10 in 11th position. Mahela Jayawardena is in 30th position while Tillekeratne Dilshan is 32nd.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, Sri Lanka's Nuwan Kulasekara is feeling the pressure from New Zealand duo of Kyle Mills and Daniel Vettori. With only 36 points separating Kulasekara from Vettori, a change at the top of the order looks inevitable.

Sri Lanka also has Muttiah Muralidaran inside the top 20 in fifth position while Ajantha Mendis is in 12th spot while 23rd placed Harbhajan Singh is the highest-ranked India bowler in the absence of 16th placed Zaheer Khan. Jacob Oram is the other bowler from the three sides to figure inside the top 20 in 17th spot.

Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh leads the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders. Oram is in third position while Yuvraj Singh is in fifth position, just five points behind. Sri Lanka's highest-ranked all-rounder is Sanath Jayasuriya in 12th spot.


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