South Africa has returned to the top of the ICC ODI Team Rankings after white washing Sri Lanka 5-0 at Centurion, report ICC.
South Africa had entered the series against Sri Lanka, trailing number-one ranked Australia by four points. However, Australia’s 0-2 defeat against New Zealand and South Africa’s own 5-0 win over Sri Lanka means South Africa has now moved ahead of the world champions.
A delighted South Africa captain AB de Villiers said: ““We are excited to be back at the top of the ICC ODI Team Rankings. We have had some trials since the World Cup two years ago but have worked hard to rebuild and to gain some form and consistency in this format.
“It’s an important year for us with the ICC Champions Trophy in June and regaining the No.1 position is a step in the right direction for our preparation ahead of the event. It’s a tight contest at the top so it’ll be important for us to continue putting in the performances so that we can hold onto the position.”
South Africa last sat on top of the tree in November 2014 before India moved to the number-one position after defeating Sri Lanka by 5-0. Later that month, Australia claimed the coveted top spot after defeating South Africa 4-1.
This is the fifth time South Africa has surged to the top since the current rankings system was introduced in 2002. It enjoyed top positions in February 2007, March-May 2008, January-August 2009 and October-November 2014.
Since the 1 May 2016 annual cut-off, South Africa has played 17 ODIs, winning 13, including 11 on the trot. Its three loses have been against the West Indies (two) and Australia (one), while one match ended in a no-result.
South Africa will now get a chance to create further daylight between it and Australia when it plays five ODIs against New Zealand from 19 February to 4 March. To retain the top spot, South Africa will have to win the series by 3-2 or better. If New Zealand wins by 3-2, then South Africa will slip behind Australia by a fraction of a point.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has dropped three points following its performance in South Africa. While it has stayed in sixth position on 98 points, its pre-series 10-point lead over Bangladesh has been reduced to seven points, with eighth-ranked Pakistan another two points behind.
England plus the seven highest-ranked sides on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2017 will qualify automatically for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The remaining four sides from the ODI table along with six sides from the ICC World Cricket League will feature in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 to fight for the remaining two places in the pinnacle 50-over to be staged in England and Wales from 30 May to 15 July.
Tickets for this year's ICC Champions Trophy with four games in Cardiff featuring England, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are available here: www.icc-cricket.com
Further supporters can see AB de Villiers and co in action against England in Cardiff on Sunday 25 June in the final NatWest IT20 at The SSE SWALEC. CLICK HERE to secure your seats priced from £35 for adults and £10 for juniors
MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on 10 February, after South Africa-Sri Lanka ODI series)
Rank Team Points
South Africa 119 (+3)
New Zealand 113
Sri Lanka 98 (-3)
West Indies 87
(Developed by David Kendix)