Pakistan must whitewash Zimbabwe in ODIs to maintain its rating points

Karachi: Pakistan will have to win all the matches of the three-ODI series against Zimbabwe, starting in Lahore from today (Tuesday), to ensure that it doesn’t drop points on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings.

Ninth-ranked Pakistan will start the series with a difference of 42 points relative to 11th-ranked Zimbabwe and this gap means it is expected to win the series convincingly. As such, because the rankings are weighted to reflect this difference, failure to win the series convincingly will mean Pakistan will drop points.

Pakistan will stay on 87 points if it wins 3-0, but will drop to 85 points if it wins the series 2-1. Zimbabwe’s 2-1 series win will mean Pakistan will slide to 83 points.

With only one point separating seventh-ranked West Indies from Pakistan, and England plus the seven next highest-ranked sides on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2015 to progress to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Pakistan cannot afford to lose any matches against Zimbabwe.

After this series against Zimbabwe, Pakistan has a scheduled five-ODI series against Sri Lanka in July while Bangladesh has home ODIs against India and South Africa. The West Indies has no series scheduled until the cut-off date of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 to be staged in UK from 1 to 19 June.

Meanwhile, players from both the sides will be aiming to improve their rankings on the Reliance ICC ODI Player Rankings.

In the batting table, no batsman from either side features inside the top 30 and, as such, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez in 33rd and 38th position respectively will start off as the highest-ranked batsman.

Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams (50th), captain Hamilton Mazakadza (60th) and Elton Chigumbura (65th) are their side’s highest-ranked batsmen.

In the bowlers’ chart, Pakistan has one bowler inside the top 20 – Hafeez (19th) – who is also the highest-ranked all-rounder (in fifth place) from either side.