Pakistan eye direct qualification to World Cup with Aussies in the way

Pakistan eye direct qualification to World Cup with Aussies in the way

KARACHI: Direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup is on the line for the Pakistan cricket team in its one day series with Australia starting in Brisbane on Friday.

Pakistan is presently in serious danger of failing to qualify directly for the tournament in the United Kingdom. The team currently sits in eighth position in the ODI rankings on 89 points, two behind Bangladesh and two ahead of the West Indies.

Hosts England and the seven sides ranked highest in ICC ODI Rankings on September 30,2017 will qualify directly for the event. The four bottom ranked sides will be joined by six teams from the ICC World Cricket League in the 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in 2018 and the top two sides will complete the 10-team World Cup line-up.

To maintain its pre-series ranking points, Pakistan needs to win one match, while more victories will earn it crucial points.

If Pakistan wins two matches then it will join Bangladesh on 91 points but will be ranked behind its Asian rivals by a fraction. In the scenario of Pakistan winning the series it will move ahead of Bangladesh and, as such, will enhance its chances of qualifying directly for the event it won in Australia in 1992.

On the other side of the coin, Australia will retain its pre-series points if it wins the series 4-1, while it will concede one point if it wins 3-2. Australia can fall from the top spot of the rankings if Pakistan wins by 4-1 or better. However, considering that Australia lead Pakistan 33-16 in matches in its backyard the feat looks highly improbable. Especially considering that they have 15 wins in 19 ODIs at home against Pakistan in this decade.

Meanwhile, third-ranked India takes on fifth-ranked England in a three-ODI series starting in Pune on Sunday. While India will be aiming to narrow the gap with second-ranked South Africa, England will be aiming to move up the rankings themselves.

India can rise to as high as 114 points if it sweeps the series, but if the series result is reversed, then England can move up one place to fourth and India can slide to fifth.

In the ICC ODI Player Rankings, newly appointed India captain Virat Kohli has number-one ranked AB de Villiers of South Africa firmly within his sights. The Delhi batsman, who led India to victory in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2008 in Malaysia, trails the South Africa star by 13 points.

David Warner, who destroyed Pakistan's bowling in Sydney Test, is ranked third, just two points behind Kohli. England's Joe Root is seventh, whereas Pakistan's highest-ranked batsman is Babar Azam in 15th position.

Mitchell Starc, who was the Player of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015, will start as the highest-ranked bowler in the upcoming ODI series. He trails New Zealand's number-one ranked Trent Boult by 13 points.

England's Adil Rashid will start in fifth position, India's Amit Mishra will begin in 12th spot and 39th-ranked Wahab Riaz of Pakistan is the side's highest-ranked ODI bowler.