Proteas in sight of top ODI ranking

2014-09-02 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Unbeaten log-leaders South Africa have an additional incentive to win the triangular One-Day International series in Zimbabwe … It could take them to top spot on the ICC rankings in the format.

The rankings have been thrown into an intriguing state of flux by hosts Zimbabwe’s giant-killing feat against Australia in Harare on Sunday, which saw the men from Down Under take a significant tumble from first to fourth on the global ladder.

India, at least for the time being, have cranked up to the top with the Proteas moving to second and Sri Lanka third.

ODI rankings, unlike for Tests, are changed after every match rather than series, so they will always be more volatile.

But what is reportedly certain now is that AB de Villiers’s side will end the current triangular at number one if they win all three of their likely remaining matches in the tournament, including the final on Saturday.

According to www.espncricinfo.com, those necessary three wins on the trot would assure South Africa of top berth even if India complete a 4-0 away clean-up of England; they currently lead 2-0 with one washout from the initially-intended five-game series.

The Proteas play Australia for a second time today (9.30 am), having already beaten them once in a high-scoring thriller, and then Zimbabwe again on Thursday, ahead of the showpiece fixture on Saturday.

They can afford to stumble once in the remaining two “league” games and still be assured of a final spot for tournament purposes alone, but need three wins for the ICC rankings objective to be ticked.

As for the Aussies, still shell-shocked by the loss to the minnows and the revelation ­that ­injury-susceptible captain Michael Clarke is headed home for treatment to his hamstring injury, they can still recover their number one status if they beat the Proteas today and again in the final, although India would also have to be denied a complete series sweep by England.

South Africa lead the Test rankings at present, by one rating point from the Baggy Greens, so they are within fairly realistic sight of a notable double.

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