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Pakistan closer to direct qualification for World Cup 2019

LONDON: Pakistan has extended its advantage in the ICC ODI Team Rankings which can prove decisive for direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

The ICC released the ranking following the 1 May annual update, which saw eighth-ranked Pakistan open up nine-point advantage over ninth-ranked the West Indies.

This is decisive as the 30 September 2017 cut-off date for direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 gets closer. Pakistan’s only assignment before the cut-off date is the ICC Champions Trophy.

Hosts England plus the next seven highest-ranked sides as on 30 September 2017 will qualify automatically for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Both Pakistan and West Indies have dropped points following the update. Pakistan slipped from 90 points to 88 points and the West Indies slided from 83 points to 79 points. However, Pakistan’s seven-point gap has extended to nine points.

South Africa and Australia have retained the top two positions on the ICC ODI Team Rankings. South Africa gained four points and is now on 123 points, while world champion Australia has stayed on 118 points.

The annual update is carried out to ensure the table continues to reflect the teams’ recent form with older results being discarded. The table includes all matches from May 1, 2014 with matches played from May 1, 2016 carrying 100 percent weighting.

India, which will defend the ICC Champions Trophy title in June, has swapped places with New Zealand. India is now ranked third with 117 points and New Zealand is fourth on 115 points. Both sides have gained points but India had a five-point gain against New Zealand’s increase of three points.

England, which will host the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, has retained its fifth ranking but has moved up one point to 109.

Bangladesh dropped one point and is now on 91 points, but its gap over Pakistan has increased from two points to three. Sri Lanka has slid to 93 points to now lead Bangladesh by only two points. However, Sri Lanka leads the West Indies by 14 points.

Bangladesh is scheduled to play a tri-series in Ireland, which also features New Zealand, before the ICC Champions Trophy. West Indies will host Afghanistan in a three-ODI series in June before traveling to England to play five ODIs in September.

Afghanistan retains tenth rank with tally of 52 points, but 11th-ranked Zimbabwe has dropped two points and is now on 46 points, while Ireland has gained one point and is on 43 points.

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