India script rankings history, dethrone Pakistan to become new No. 1 ODI team ahead of World Cup with win over Australia


Team India had their chances during the recently-concluded Asia Cup 2023 tournament, but a shock defeat to Bangladesh in the Super Four stage denied them an elusive piece of rankings history. And despite their perfectly-timed title win, against Sri Lanka, their maiden trophy haul in a multi-nation event in five years, India fell short of the top ICC ranking spot in ODI cricket with Pakistan claiming it back. However, on Friday, with a comprehensive five-wicket win against Australia in Mohali, India dethroned Pakistan to become the new world No. 1 ranked ODI side and subsequently achieved a rare feat in rankings history.

Indian players celebrate against Cameron Green during the first one day international match between Australia and India in Mohali, India, Friday, September 22, 2023(Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times.)

Mohammed Shami’s career-best 5 for 51, his second five-wicket haul in ODIs, and first ever by an Indian fast bowler at home in 16 years, helped India restrict Australia to 276 after David Warner and Steve Smith stitched a 94-run second-wicket stand.

Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad then smashed a stunning 142-run opening stand with both getting their respective 70s before Suryakumar Yadav bagged his first ever ODI fifty in 590 days as India chased down the target with eight balls to spare, hence scripting a win which helped them take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

With the win, India, with 116 rating points, pipped their arch-rivals Pakistan (115) to take the top spot in ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings.

Australia, on the other hand, slipped to the third spot with 111 points. The five-time ODI world champions stood a chance to go atop, ahead of Pakistan and India, after they had taken a 2-0 lead against South Africa last week, but then lost three in a row to concede the massive opportunity before the World Cup in India. Now, with the loss on Friday, Australia no longer stand the chance to become the No. 1 ranked side before the tournament.

The win also implied that India are now the world No. 1 ranked side across formats having already held the top spot in Tests and T20Is. This is only the second tome in men’s cricketing history that an international team has held all three No. 1 ranking spot after South Africa in August 2012. In the longest format, India have been among the most consistent sides having marched to a second consecutive World Test Championship Final in June, albeit ending in a loss to Australia. And in T20Is, India had reached the semis in the 2022 World Cup in Australia while they have been an impressive side in bilateral contests, having lost only one of their 14 series since 2021 T20 World Cup.

Pakistan threat looms for India

Despite rising to the top spot, India still face a threat from Pakistan, who are completely relying on Australia to reclaim their throne. If Australia manage to win against India in the remaining two matches, the hosts can lose the top ranking, allowing Babar Azam’s men to once again take over the pinnacle. The Men in Blue need only a one win to ensure they not only seal the series but enter the World Cup as the No.1-ranked ODI team.


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